A Thousand Lines [Tausend Zeilen] — German Film Festival 2023

Review by John P. Harvey.

Taking a slightly (but only slightly) absurdist approach to its central subject matter of counterfeit feature stories in the mass media, director Michael Herbig’s A Thousand Lines stars Elyas M’Barek as freelance reporter Juan Moreno, who does a lot of work for respected German newspaper Der KRONIK.  Moreno is working on a KRONIK story with multi-award-winning KRONIK employee Lars Bogenius, when he realises that things are amiss in Bogenius’s half of the story: parts of it are clearly fabricated.

But Bogenius is shortlisted to win the industry’s highest accolade for journalism, and nobody at Der KRONIK can give credence to the notion that the paper’s poster boy has set a foot wrong.  So the evidence Moreno produces is readily dismissed.  Once Moreno starts out with a photographer colleague to produce the definitive evidence, he finds so many surprises that it sets him wondering how many more of Bogenius’s lauded exposés are works of fiction.

A Thousand Lines takes an interesting approach to its topic.  It could well have been made as a thriller or as pure comedy.  Instead, what began as a straightforward account by Moreno has, in the pen of Florin and with direction by Herbig, emerged as a fast-moving light drama replete with subtly comic moments that portrays the high life of the untouchable Bogenius and his evident power to smear a comparatively vulnerable genuine investigative journalist on his trail.

These and other incongruities (including snippets of pronouncements by an unmentionable recent U.S. president) provide the film with a lively humour that beautifully balances the seriousness of its theme concerning the degree to which our perception of verified truth in fact rests on our trust in people we’ve never even met.

Screening at Palace cinemas.

Liked it? Take a second to support John P. Harvey on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Reply