Who is Hans Narva? A failed armored-vehicle robber? A dissident banned in the GDR for observing a moment of silence dedicated to the Tiananmen Square victims? A member of influential GDR rock band Herbst im Peking? A punk and a father?
In Hans im Gluck, German director Claudia Lehmann narrates the life and varied exploits of the man whose story has been woven into the fabric of Berlin since the early 1980s. Don’t miss our screening on January 16 at Lichtblick Kino – your opportunity to see the film with English subtitles, but also to experience Narva jam with his six-member band after the movie!
Why choose to make a film about Mr. Narva?
Well, I’ve known Hans for about 15 years. He had told me about his 40th birthday event [for filming]. And I actually started making a concert video from this event. So I started filming the preparation with a friend of mine. But then I felt like, I didn’t know if the concert is the most interesting part of all that.
If you’re expecting something like The Filth and the Fury, this is not it.
We didn’t think of it as a rock documentary. I thought I would start with Hans, and then perhaps go to some other people. But I then thought this character is so interesting and he’s more than one person, so I’ll make a documentary about all of these people. And he enjoyed it a lot. Somebody is like walking behind him, listening to him. He liked showing me all those personalities.
He’s obviously quite a talker.
The opening scene is when he is talking about the bank robbery and it was funny because we started in a December and it took all of one and a half years, more or less. We were always here [in Berlin] – we came for a week or a few days. And every time I came he was like ‘Did I already tell you about the robbery of the money transport?’
Why start off with Hans telling of the armored vehicle robbery? Hans isn’t what you’d call a hardened gangster.
So you have a bunch of scenes and the big question is ‘How can you get close to Hans?’ It’s a feeling and you know that you have to start the movie with presenting the whole character. This whole scene and story – when you listen to it, you love him. He explains why he did it, but he also explains how strange the stuff he is doing is and that he is a musician and stuff like this. So everything is kind of in that scene. So you have him.
Hans is kind of walking us through Berlin, past and present, throughout the film. Was the tour element intentional?
Not at the beginning because I started with the concert but then I watched the material and I thought ‘Okay, so you need a place.’ And then I found out that he loved walking and talking, so it was quite easy. Going to the prison for me was very… I mean, of course we planned it… but it was not clear at the beginning. I was not sure if it was about the music or about him, but of course we planned it.
He’s a funny man when it comes to talking about stuff like prison or childhood. I don’t know if that’s him being a punk or a reaction to his GDR upbringing.
I think it’s kind of both. Of course you cannot pinpoint it, he lived a life of so much things you cannot always explain why things are the way they are, and there are several things coming together. That’s what I like about it and this way of life and the way he talks about it. It is part of his character.
So what’s happened to him since the film wrapped?
Now he’s in Brazil at his daughter’s place and he comes back for the 16th because we are playing a concert after the EXBlicks screening. He is doing music, he’s still Hans and he is still going out.
And he’s not going to prison.
EXBlicks, Mon, Jan 16, 20:00 | Lichtblick-Kino, Kastanienallee 77, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz, www.lichtblick-kino.org