Writer-director Elke Hauck's understated, minimalist slice-of-life drama Karger unfurls in a working-class town in the former East Germany.
It reflects the broadly-scaled disillusionment experienced by a younger generation of that region, who roundly expected, with the fall of Communist rule, to move into comfortable middle-class existences with cushy jobs and loving families, once the DDR ceased to exist - but ran instead into heartbreak and disappointment.
Hauck filters those sentiments through the experience and perspective of the title character (Jens Klemig), a thirtysomething steelworker (without an expressed prename) separated from his wife for a year, but unwilling or unable to reveal this fact to his friends and family. A class reunion offers a chance for him to reflect on the state of his life, and thus dredges up only unhappiness and misery.
Long-suffering Karger thoughtlessly drifts into a relationship with a single mother/barmaid, but can never quite express his inner feelings, which quickly hinders their intimacy. In time, this working stiff is unexpectedly laid off and forced to build a new life for himself elsewhere.