What to do in case of fire?

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Original title What to do in case of fire?
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 2001
length 101 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Gregor Schnitzler
script Stefan Dähnert
Anne Wild
production Andrea Willson
Jakob Claussen
Thomas Wöbke
music Stephan Zacharias
camera Andreas Berger
cut Hansjörg Weißbrich

What to do in case of fire? is a German film from 2001. Directed by Gregor Schnitzler . The premiere date for Germany was in November 2001 at the Lünen Kinofest and on January 31, 2002 in German and Swiss cinemas. The cinema release in Austria was on February 1st, 2002. The production company was Claussen + Wöbke .


The autonomous activists Tim, Maik, Nele, Flo, Robert alias Terror and Hotte formed the "Group 36" in West Berlin in the 1980s. This was active in the punk and squatter scene and took an active part in actions against state authority. They filmed most of the actions to document that they defended themselves against the capitalist system. One of these actions was the placing of a self-made bomb in a luxury villa in the Grunewald district . Only property damage should be caused. The villa remained empty for thirteen years and the bomb never exploded. When the new owner of the villa opened the door, there was an explosion, which only slightly injured two people.

The group has long since disbanded. Robert “Terror” is a righteous and bourgeois lawyer, Maik is the cynical owner and manager of a dot-com company, Nele is a single mother of two, and Flo, Tim's former lover, is about to be engaged to a wealthy businessman. Only Hotte and Tim remained true to the ideals of the time: They live as squatters in a poor house and continue to try to resist the system. Hotte had lost both legs in a daring action at the time.

The police begin to research and check everyone who was active in the left-wing scene at the time. She confiscates all of the footage that can still be found in Hotte and Tim's apartment. Hotte rounds up the old group to decide how to proceed. The group is divided, as Hotte and Tim despise the adjusted rest and Tim still feels something for Flo. The evidence incriminating the six (ex) punks is now in the evidence room of the Berlin police barracks. Disguised as a team of reporters, they enter the building and scout it. Only the investigating, very experienced Commissioner Manowski suspects, because he recognizes Tim from his old documents. Manowski was already in the police force in the 80s and carried out investigations against the squatter scene.

In order to destroy the material, the six build another bomb, which the police use a ruse to transport to the evidence room. After this action, the group disperses again. The legless Hotte, however, had climbed into the box to make sure that the bomb really landed in the films. In the end she stands next to the evidence, but Hotte can't get out of the basement and calls the others to help him. Finally, Manowski, who has been retired, arrives and wants to arrest Hotte who has been locked up there and Tim, who has just arrived. Due to the danger in which the former friends find themselves, the rest of the group pulls themselves together again and breaks into the barracks, takes the film with them and barely escapes the crowd of police who are chasing them. Henkel asks Manowski whether, according to his suspicions, the clique could really be behind the bomb. Manowski, who feels that his younger boss has pushed him back to the scrap heap, realizes that he no longer fits into the system and finally feels something like solidarity with the group. Therefore, he finally covers them and makes false statements.

The group that found each other again in the emergency drives away in the S-Bahn .


“An entertainment film in front of a groovy political backdrop that does not strive for a political stance, but conjures up nostalgia. Historical awareness degenerates into a lifestyle accessory, while video clip inserts make the film MTV and VIVA compatible. "

“Thanks to good work in front of and behind the camera, the film as a whole [...] doesn't raise the question that it asks in its title. Because nothing really looks burnt here. "

- Kino.de

“Schnitzler skilfully circumvents most of the scene clichés, shows his characters in a multifaceted way as disillusioned dreamers whose not entirely voluntary retreat into private life once buried all those feelings that are now breaking out again with all their might. Instead of smug designer furniture flat-seaters and hysterical Prada buckles on the eternal hunt for the sensitive crack ass owner, the wonderful ensemble finally brings us lifelike German cinema types, big children on the search for happiness. "


German Film Award 2002: Martin Feifel in the category "Best Supporting Actor" for "What to do when it burns?"


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. What to do if there's a fire? In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. Film review at kino.de
  3. Cinema film review