"Not Reconciled or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules"
Based on Heinrich Böll‘s novel "Billard um halbzehn", the film tells in condensed form the story of a family of architects over three successive generations, covering the years 1914 to 1954, when their lives were influenced by war, National Socialism as well as German capitulation and reconstruction.
The film begins with the 80th birthday of the family patriarch Heinrich Fähmel. In a flashback, the film tells among other things the moving story of his son Robert, who as a youth had to flee Germany for Holland in 1934, because of some sort of “conspiracy”. While his friend and “co-conspirator” Schrella remains for 20 years on the police wanted list, Robert is able to return to Germany after only two years due to his parent’s good connections, but must go to war as a soldier. Having two children, Robert’s wife is killed in an air raid. Robert’s father was also a soldier during the First World War. Yet, while the events of the war hardly affected him, they left his wife with deep psychological wounds. Decades later, she still suffered from aggressive spells and depression.