Dir/scr: Lars Kraume.Germany. 2005. 98mins.

A hybrid of drama anddocumentary, Lars Kraume's sophomore screen effort deserves full points forbreaking down the barrier between the two genres, even if the story he uses forthis purpose is not always the most original or imaginative one.

Kraume uses two brothers asthe basis for No Song Of Love, Markus (Vogel), a rock singer and Florian(Lukas), a first-time film-maker. There is also Florian's girlfriend, Ellen(Makatasch) who may be cheating on him.

Each performer is asked todevelop their own character, before improvising with a cast ofnon-professionals who were given very little information about what was goingon.

The final result looks like afull length documentary with hard edges and rough images that compensate forits momentary weaknesses in the story and characters.

That, combined with theestablished cast and music from The Hansen Band should ensure maybe more thanpassable interest overseas after its Berlinale Panorama screening.

Florian, who lives with Ellenin Berlin, believes his rock singer brother Markus might have had an affairwith his girlfriend. To confirm his suspicions, he decides to make adocumentary about Markus and his band touring the country, taking Ellen alongto observe the two at close range.

Rolling implacably on, as ifpossessed of a will of its own, the camera records everything, from the seedynightclubs in which the Hansens play and the daily routines of second-handmusicians, to furtive clinches and revealing stares. From this fabric therelationships between the three emerge, erupting towards the end in argumentsand confessions reminiscent of cinema verite. Live performances lend thepicture additional credibility as a true-life document.

Attitudes are oftenestablished through brief glances deftly edited together, and the naggingquestion raised early on in Florian's opening voice-over statement - how welldo people know each other, even the ones closest to them' - turns out to be thecentral theme.

Kraume shoots chronologicallyon location with handheld digital camera and clip-on microphones allowing freemovement. Sound levels faithfully duplicate documentary conditions and anuneven manner results from the lack of a script.

Vogel, Lukas and Makataschnever seem to be acting, sticking to their respective profiles. Once they haveto confront each other, however, they become uneasy, as if unsure at how todeal with the next step in their relationships.

Makatasch intends to publishEllen's fictional diary later this year, an interesting additional side to thestory; an album should also follow.

Production company
Film 1

Henning Ferber
Sebastian Zuhr
Lars Kraume

Sonja Rom, Alexa Ihrt

Barbara Gies

Marcus Wiebusch
Thees Uhlmann
Max Martin Schroeder
Reimar Burstorff

Main cast
Florian Lukas
Heike Makatasch
Jurgen Vogel
Monika Hansen
Thees Uhlmann
Marcus Wiebusch
Felix Gebhardt
Max Martin Schroeder
Katahrian Lorenz