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Welcome back to another German movie that I want to introduce to you. This one might be not as bekannt (famous) as „Das Boot“, but nevertheless it is one of my favourite ones from Germany.
It is called „23 – Nichts ist so wie es scheint“ and it could be translated as „23 – Nothing is as it seems to be“. The thriller was made in 1998 by Hans-Christian Schmid and is based on the life of Karl Koch and the so called „KGB-Hack“.
Here´s a trailer to the movie (German):
Due to his amazing performance, August Diehl has won the award „Deutscher Filmpreis“ with this movie.
The action of the movie takes place in the 1980’s. It was the time of the Friedensbewegung (peace movement), demonstrations against nuclear power and the final phase of the cold war. By then, Karl Koch is 19 years old and feels threatened by a false world. Inspired by Hagbard Celine, a Romanfigur (literary character) out of Robert Shea’s and Robert Anton Wilson’s „Illuminatus!“, he´s starting to look for the backgrounds of political and economical Macht (power) and soon discovers signs (the number 23 for example) that make him believe in a world wide Verschörung (conspiracy).
He gets to know a student called David at a congress of the famous „Chaos Computer Club“. Together they achieve to hack into Datennetzwerke (data networks) with a Commodore PC and an acoustic coupler. Driven by their strong sense of justice they become Spione (spies) for the russian KGB. Pressure is getting stronger in doing even better hacks, so Karl slides into a heavy addiction of cocain that makes him work withouth sleeping for days. Dreams and reality are starting to mix and Karl suffers of Wahnvorstellungen (hallucinations). The reliance to David is breaking and so Karl remains on his own.
After a while, a journalist called Jochen Maiwald wants to do a reportage about hacking and so he contacts Karl. Together they hack a Atomkraftwerk (nuclear power plant) in Jülich while cameras are rolling. Shortly after this, Tschernobyl explodes and the federal police is alerted as well. Karl breaks down and finds himself in a hospital. Later on he´s living in an institution to fight his drug addiction. But at the same time his Kontaktmänner (account executives) of the KGB are threatening him.
Karl bears witness to the Verfassungsschutz (protection of the constitution) and is accepted to the witness-protection program. The whole story gets public and his account executives are being arrested.
On May 23rd 1989, Karl doesn’t return from a vehicle journey. One week later, his charred body was found in a forrest near Wolfsburg.
His death remains ungeklärt (unexplained) until today.
Here´s some vocabulary:
bekannt – famous
die Friedensbewegung – peace movement
die Romanfigur – literary character
die Macht – power
die Verschwörung – conspiracy
das Datennetzwerk – data network
der Spion – spy
die Wahnvorstellung – hallucination
das Atomkraftwerk – nuclear power plant
der Kontaktmann – account executive
der Verfassungsschutz – protection of the constitution
ungeklärt – unexplained