We are Heroes

Ach, Cate Blanchett. She wasn’t with Maischberger, Sandra Maischberger was with her and recorded the conversation, and maybe that was better for the show, which might otherwise have gotten out of hand. There are film journalists who report that they were invited to a press event with Cate Blanchett. And didn’t ask a single question because they realized that the clever question Cate Blanchett’s eyes, her smile, her whole cool presence knew the answer to, would never have occurred to them. There are others who report that they asked a question. But they couldn’t have heard the answer any longer, their ears had been ringing so much with shame at their own stupid question.

Cate Blanchett and Karl Lauterbach in the Maischbergers Sitze: one would have liked to see that because the task of convincing not only journalists, but finally a Hollywood star of his positions, gave Karl Lauterbach’s rhetoric and perhaps the whole topic a certain momentum would have given. On the occasion of the end of all mask requirements, it was again about Corona, a topic that everyone has really said everything about. After all, that way you could concentrate on the performance all the better, which was obvious given the upcoming appearance of Cate Blanchett.

It’s not his fists

Lauterbach gave the heroes what, given that he is obviously rather cerebral and speaks a little nervously, may sound like an idiosyncratic, even willful judgment. But apart from the western heroes, there are also the bespectacled city men, and what makes the cinema hero a hero isn’t his fists anyway. It’s a willingness to take responsibility for actions and inactions, and Lauterbach did what James Stewart did in American films, for example.

Like a movie hero: Minister Lauterbach took responsibility.

Like a movie hero: Minister Lauterbach took responsibility.

Image: WDR/Oliver Ziebe

He took responsibility for every mistake, every regulation that later turned out to be pointless, especially for the school closures that had long been recognized as pointless. And only after answering questions for twenty minutes did he very discreetly point out that he has only been in office since autumn 2021; that he cannot be held accountable for his actions but at most for his opinions. No bad word about his predecessor, no malice about the Bavarian state government, which at times even banned married couples from going for walks together. Lauterbach took it all upon himself, and when he confessed his mistakes, he would look at the floor and the ceiling with wide-open eyes. And didn’t even try to hide behind passive constructions, a “man” or the reference to the errors of most others.

Which was all the more sincere as one somehow seemed to notice that Sandra Maischberger was still under the impression of meeting Cate Blanchett. She is admirable enough in the role of Maischberger, how, twice a week, she receives the strangest, often the garrulous and confused people, without ever losing her composure or even her concentration. Also on Wednesday evening she was more Maischberger than anything else. But she seemed to have copied a bit of the invulnerable coolness, the deep unimpressedness of Cate Blanchett. What Lauterbach sometimes felt as severity, but mostly as a good contrast to his Peter Sellers-like nervousness.

The dullness after Corona

What is otherwise one of the strengths of the show, namely that three guests, journalists or so-called television personalities, comment on the situation, seemed dull and conflict-averse this Wednesday, although Amelie Fried as a friendly left-liberal bestselling author, Jan Philipp Burgard as editor-in-chief of a largely unseen private television station and Kristina Dunz as winner of a medal for journalistic bravery were not badly cast. But one of the long-term effects of Corona is the tiredness that affects everyone involved in Corona discussions. And so Sandra Mischberger simply did not succeed in extracting any potential for conflict from the other issues, i.e. Franziska Giffey’s weakness for the CDU or the American criticism of Olaf Scholz. And the guests, so friendly towards each other, were certainly not ready for a showdown.

Then, finally, Cate Blanchett, somewhere at the Berlinale, in an almost girlish and deliberately casual self-portrayal – just so that nobody confuses the person with the role she embodies in the film “Tár”. Virtuoso, the way she, who was sitting across from Sandra Maischberger, looked to the side in moments of reflection, almost straight into the camera, towards the viewers, who in a way were allowed to feel meant by it. Routine, how she not only knew an answer to every question, but also a little story to tell: for example, that when she was a child, she wished to found a supermarket chain that would not have any plastic. Even more routine, as she denied any semblance of routine with her sheer presence. And absolutely seriously, as she insisted that where she works, in the film business, in the fiction industry, where images and role models are designed, is exactly the right scene to carry out the social and political conflicts in all their sharpness. And that there are still many conflicts to be resolved, especially with regard to the rights and presence of women.

Ah, Cate Blanchett. Sandra Maischberger had twenty minutes. Luckily, “Tár” is in the cinemas for 158 minutes.

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