Three short sequences mark the beginning of “Mittagsstunden”, three moments from the passage of time. They take place in different decades in Brinkbühl, a fictional village near Husum, which is the main character of this film. First you see Sonke Federsen’s pub in 1965, a young woman runs out into a wheat field where she smokes a cigarette and looks at the clouds – a grand idyll.
It continues in 1976, the woman’s name is Marette Federsen, as we now know, she is afraid of the end of the world. That too will come for him this year, but routine remains the order of the day. Marrett is standing in front of a grocery store that is quite crowded. Marrett’s mind, you see, is a bit lost this time, people say she’s “twisted” but no one cares. The village is united.
The last sequence takes place in 2012, Sonke Federsen is old, his wife Ella has dementia, the village is a no-man’s land. The streets are straight, there are no shops, there are no people anywhere, as it seems in many places today. So the structural and social changes brought about by the last fifty years are passing, and they are not pretty. The film continues to seamlessly weave these three timelines together, assembling a picture of loss that fills it with melancholy for a long time.
There is another member of the Feddersen family, Ginger. He was ten years old in 1976, while a long-time lecturer at Keele University. Ginger takes two semesters off and returns to “the old” Brinkbull, much to the surprise of her friends in Keel. But he wants to take care of it now, while they’re alive, even if they don’t expect anything from him.
Writer Djorte Hansen guides you gingerly through his novel Mittagsstunden, and director Lars Jessen now also guides you through the film Ginger. And through the tricky story of the Feddersens, a minor psychodrama in itself, alongside larger dramas such as land consolidation and rural exodus, alongside the seamless flow of time.
Jessen does not show agricultural change very subtly. Images appear as jagged, curves become straight lines, a hole becomes a field, a teacher saves a tombstone from excavators, risking his life. A large tree in the center of the village was cut down so that the traffic could speed up without hindrance. The inhabitants are taking care of all the upheaval themselves, inspired by the faith of progress, only Marret seems to recognize what has been lost in the process. Terrified, he stands under a tree on which the saws are already working, the chirping of birds that will soon be without a home can be heard above.
Home is where the elderly know more about you than you do
Jessen also makes it the theme of Noon Hour: Homeland. He shows it as a place where you know everything, people and processes, paths and shortcuts. To do this, he brings the past into play, as Ginger realizes that home is where others know more about him than he does. The villagers who remain know stories about his parents or grandparents, of whom he knows only rudimentary or even rudimentary stories. has no idea. You follow him with interest through his biography, the beauty of which is that Jessen doesn’t make it sad. Maret sings sixties hits and dances through the bar in socks, Sonke takes care of her orphaned child, so touching you can laugh and cry at the same time.
What Jessen also uses is dialect. There are two versions of the film, one in Low German and the other in Standard German. The scenes were shot twice, first on Plath, because the essence of the scene seemed to be clearer that way. People don’t talk much in this movie, which is a shame, one would have liked to hear more of Plath. Even with his sparse sentences, one can notice how the dialect wears the edges of the language, sometimes softening the content, sometimes making it harder. For locals, it creates a bond that outsiders can’t access, no matter how great the folklore fervor. Plus, the plate reinforces the realism that ginger city dwellers crave as they crave the pros and cons of their sous-vide pots.
Despite their coldness, they are sensitive in Brinkbühl, Jessen makes it clear. Above all, about Sonke Federsen, who gives the young people back home more looks than words. But they usually have a deeper meaning than the dialogue, you can tell that with Ginger, played by Charlie Hebner, and that’s great. He walks lightly through the melancholy place, always attentive to his surroundings, which gradually opens a new perspective on his own life.
Jessen shows everyday life, from the hustle and bustle of the inn, where all the Federsen help, to the mysterious disappearance of Maret; only two footprints are left of him in the asphalt of the road, as if he had taken. into the air and flew away like birds. He juxtaposes this with the present, where Ginger tries to inject some spunk into the lives of the elderly and fails, or rocks out at a dance club to lift the spirits. What Jessen tells is quite invisible, it is impressive how he connects the personal at the expense of social conditions.
In addition, there are figures for whom he does not submit to the absurdity of pulling “strange” people from the country, but leaves them to be sad, idle and in a bad mood like everyone else. They rarely become sentimental, sometimes he gives them surprising friendliness. Through these characters, with their gentle behavior towards each other, Jessen’s film offers hope. Although he strictly shows what damage the villages, society and nature have suffered in the past fifty years.
noon time, D 2021 – Director: Lars Jessen. Author of the script: Katarina Jank, based on the novel by Djorte Hansen. With Charlie Hübner, Peter Franke, Gro Swantje Kohlhoff, Hildegard Schmahl. 96 minutes. Majestic Film Distribution. Movie Release: September 22, 2022