BFI London Film Festival 2011: ‘Dreileben 2: Don’t Follow Me Around’

The second film in the German Dreileben trilogy, Dominik Graf’s Dreileben 2: Don’t Follow Me Around (2011) is a very different creature to Christian Petzold’s Beats Being Dead (2011), taking a more straightforward, politically-informed approach to narrative storytelling. Whilst Petzold’s effort focused on the lives of Dreileben’s youth, Graf’s contribution to the project explores the love lives of three affluent middle-class individuals, whilst the hunt for the fugitive sex offender Molesch (Stefan Kurt) continues.

This time around, the focus lies on single mother Johanna (Jeanette Hain), a police psychologist brought in to help in the search for Molesch. Staying with her old university friend and Dreileben resident Vera (Susanne Wolff) and her novelist husband Bruno (Misel Maticevic), their nights soon turn into wine-fuelled reminiscing sessions. It quickly transpires that the two friends were once both infatuated by the same man, and an unconventional love triangle soon re-emerges from the girls’ past.

Once again, the hunt for Molesch is resigned to the film’s peripheries but does, on occasion, spring back to the narrative forefront in order to reinstall an air of ominous menace to Graf’s dialogue-laden entry. When compared with Beats Being Dead, Don’t Follow Me Around does lack much of the former film’s cinematic edge, and is perhaps the film most connected to its television roots.

Performances are engaging throughout, and a number of magnificent long shots of police cars racing over the town’s towering bridge after a Molesch-related tip off are skilfully done, yet there still remains a niggling sense that much of Petzold’s good work has been undone.

Nearly all trilogies have their weak spots, and Graf’s contribution to the Dreileben project certainly feels flat and dated when compared to the previous entry. Yet Don’t Follow Me Around
remains a solid, well-constructed drama in its own right, if never quite capable of reaching the engaging, entertaining heights of Petzold’s opener.

For more BFI London Film Festival 2011 coverage, simply follow this link.

Daniel Green