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Stale Rolls (Harte Broetchen)

Stale Rolls

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2002

A small shop, a secret recipe for meatballs and an angel trying to earn his wings; the perfect ingredients for a star-studded romantic comedy.

Slap in the middle of a rundown industrial area stands the rundown shop belonging to Christa (Katharina Thalbach) and
husband Theo (Uwe Ochsenknecht). For them and their few regular customers, especially Theo's buddies, it's a home away from home. Business is bad. Not that it was ever any better. Everybody's broke and Theo has been more than very generous in extending his friends credit.

When Theo suddenly dies, Christa's left with a mountain of
debts, her tyrannical mother and two daughters, Sonja (Anna Thalbach) and Dany (Regine Zimmermann), who really don't want to know; one's busy flying around the world, the other just wants an unpaid babysitter. And if that wasn't enough, no sooner is Theo safely six feet under than he's back - as an angel without his wings! They'll grow only if he can make Christa happy. That's a tall order because he certainly failed while he was alive. But Theo has an idea - the recipe for the best meatballs in the district should bring the customers flocking and the money pouring in. The perfect plan, if Christa wasn't a committed vegetarian. And when she falls in love with teacher and pigeon-fancier Joerg (Herbert Knaup), it looks like the deal's over.

A humorous and affectionate hommage to the people and the area of the Ruhr, Germany's industrial heartland, Harte Broetchen (translates as "Stale Rolls") features Katharina Thalbach (from Sun Alley and The Manns) and Uwe Ochsenknecht, who won a German Television Award 2001 for his performance in the TV two-part society scandal-murder story, Vera Bruehne. Also appearing is Anna Thalbach, who has also won a German Television Award 2001 for an episode of the famed crime series Tatort.

Sylvia Leuker wrote the script as part of the Bavarian Film Center's First Movie Program, while director Tim
Trageser is a second-place winner of the 2001 Studio Hamburg Newcomer's Award for his debut film, Clowns. Director of photography Eckhard Jansen's previous credits include Clowns and Peter Thorwarth's Bang Boom Bang Ð A Sure Thing.

Harte Broetchen is a co-production of teamWorx and Bayerischer Rundfunk (resp. Dr. Gabriela Sperl, Brigitte Schroedter) for the public broadcaster ARD.

Shooting in Oberhausen and surrounding area in October and November 2001
Genre Romantic Comedy
Category TV Movie
Year of Production 2002
Director Tim Trageser
Screenplay Sylvia Leuker
Cinematography Eckhard Jansen
Anja Pohl
Cast Katharina Thalbach, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Herbert Knaup, Anna Thalbach
Producer Bettina Reitz
Production Company teamWorx/Munich
Format Super 16, color
With backing from FilmFernsehFonds Bayern