Resident Ground Floor
“Life is pointless”, says Heiko. He sprawls out naked on an office chair in his jam-packed Berlin apartment cell, flanked by cigarette butts and cola bottles, a camcorder and a fly catcher. And talks – about his hateful father and embittered mother, his beloved, deceased grandparents; about disillusioning relationships and latent aggression; about his times in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany's reunification and how it ensured Heiko's unemployment. These days he is a sheet-metal worker in name only and cannot even afford a train ticket. He swears to himself he'll always stay single. This way he can do whatever he likes at home – like pissing on the floor, on the bed, on himself, just as he (and not only he) wants.
Prolific cinematic human portraitist Jan Soldat neither makes a spectacle of Heiko nor places him on a filmic pedestal. He simply listens to Heiko, lets him do his thing in his everyday surroundings, only time and again asking something from off-screen. They drive together to mother in Hettstedt ("a filthy hole!"), where Heiko visits the ruins of old movie houses. He breaks out in bitter tears in front of his grandparents' house, a memorial place of rare joy to him, "They've destroyed everything here!"
Resident Ground Floor is a short, unassuming, stirring but not humorless Mini-DV portrait of a damaged man that gradually unfolds a multi-layered memorial for all those damned by Germany's peaceful revolution – people whose (body) stories reveal the repressed flipside of Federal Germany's progressive ideology and joyous reunification. From this perspective, Heiko's proud pissing predilection no longer appears as a perversion induced by trauma, but rather as a rebellion against an unjust decree of fate. For him pissing is just what it is for everybody else – only to a greater degree: a pressure valve, relief, an instant of golden freedom. (Andrey Arnold)
Translation: Eve Heller