Lilly Engel and Philipp Fleischmann are responsible for their project, which has been in the making for over five years WHEN I WAS GROWN followed two boys and a girl through early puberty and asked them about their dreams and wishes for the future, which they in turn had professional actors and actresses reenact. We reveal in our review how the result turned out.
Renée (Isabell Polak) as she sees herself as the owner of a flower design shop in the future.
That’s what it’s about
Lucas, Marius and Renée – three best friends, shortly before puberty. The directing duo Lilly Engel and Philipp Fleischmann used this exciting period of life in 2014 to begin a semi-documentary feature film project. From 2014 to 2019, the camera regularly follows the two boys and the girl in their everyday lives and listens eagerly to the trio’s visions of the future – and also how they change over the years. The performances of the three will be reenacted by the actors Constantin von Jascheroff, Sebastian Schwarz and Isabell Polak. They slip into firefighter gear, fishing gear and designer clothes and act exactly as their “younger selves” imagine during their different phases of life. An exciting film experiment that shows how exactly even the youngest people imagine their lives in many years…
Als ich mal Groß war Movie Review
Lucas and Marius have been friends since their early school days. In their free time, they like to go fishing together or get involved with the Berlin youth fire department. When they are ten years old, they imagine that they will one day work full-time as a firefighter. Still together, still as best friends. Five years later. Marius talks about how he and Lucas grew apart. But both want to change that. Hoping to somehow find each other again as an adult. Just over an hour passes between these two scenes in the semi-documentary feature film project by Lilly Engel and Phillip Fleischmann. And yet you’ve already grown to love the boys who are the focus here so much that it’s heartbreaking when you find out that the two of them apparently had quite a falling out during the five years of filming. But it’s not for nothing that the two directors chose the time before and during puberty for their film “When I Was Grown Up”. Starting as children, the three protagonists end the project as young adults who are able to reflect on their lives better than many adults. And during this time a lot happens inside young people.
Lucas and Renée at the age of 13.
As eleven-year-olds, they still talk about their relationship with each other with remarkable openness. Imagine with the greatest possible naivety how you will later have many children with a hopefully beautiful woman (because that is what women are for – a casual statement that you will later revise). From the mouths of the boys it all sounds so obvious. And in conjunction with the scenes recreated by Constantin von Jascheroff (“Dogs of Berlin”) , Sebastian Schwarz (“Ballon”) and Isabell Polak (“Doctor’s Diary”), these fantasies suddenly become more tangible. At no point do you question that the lives of the three will turn out exactly as they imagine it – yes, the three can even make something that is now impossible seem palatable: the opening of Berlin’s BER airport.
While the first half of “When I Was Grown Up” is dominated by the boys’ blunt visions of the future, which cause a good laugh here and there, things become increasingly melancholic in the second half. Although the plans of Lucas, Marius and Renée retain their self-confidence and madness right up to the end (underlined by the sometimes insane staging of the feature film sequences, in which the makers literally implement every fantasy, no matter how absurd), the ideas of the three become increasingly more realistic and relaxed A certain maturation shines through, which means that the film loses its innocence in a believable and authentic way over the years of filming. You experience first-hand how three kids grow up before your eyes. It was certainly not a given that this experiment would work so well.
Conclusion: Thanks to the fundamentally honest protagonists and a cleverly chosen narrative period, the combination of documentary and feature film turns out to be both amusing and melancholic and, thanks to its 82-minute running time, is also extremely entertaining.
“” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from November 28th.