"Man, are you serious? Let me in now, dude. I've been at this fucking school for four years." Lukas stands in front of the building, but the security guards won't let him on the premises because he forgot his ID. So he plays hooky and soon gets into a fight that will have fatal consequences. Felix Lobrecht's novel "Sonne und Beton" begins with this scene. It's the story of four boys growing up in the south of Berlin, in Gropiusstadt in Neukölln.
With the novel, Lobrecht landed a bestseller. Now the story is coming to the cinema. The film celebrated its world premiere at the Berlinale on Saturday. Lobrecht appeared at the press conference with training pants, a gold watch and a film crew. David Wnendt ("Wetlands", "He's Back") directed the project.
And one thing can be said: the film bangs properly. He brings back the early 2000s with Cherry Coke, push-button telephone and recordings from the time of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. As in the book, Lukas stands in vain in front of his school, then meets other boys and is beaten up by guys in the park. Sentences like: "Have you looked in the mirror? Your whole face is fucked up."
Lobrecht knows comedy and seriousness
In around two hours, the film takes you to broken families and aimless men, to high-rise canyons and backroom deals, to friendly and less friendly people. The film has a great cast with four young actors. And "Tatort" actor Jörg Hartmann plays Lukas' father Matthias, who is happy to soon be able to work as a janitor at the university, likes to read the newspaper and often says: "The smarter ones give in."
Lukas' older brother thinks that's a less helpful sentence and instead lives by the motto "The smarter ones follow". At some point Lukas and the boys come up with the idea of breaking into the school and stealing the new computers. "Sun and Concrete" is a social panorama that makes you think about social justice and the question of how violence becomes independent.
"A district like Gropiusstadt is not only found in Berlin - there is such a settlement in every German city," Lobrecht once said in an interview with "Stern". Anyone who googles Lobrecht's name will find countless interviews - from nonsense talks about breasts, in which he rather lets the comedian hang out, to political talks about role allocation and equal opportunities with Olaf Scholz on the podcast "Machiavelli" by Cosmo. Here the reflected, thoughtful Felix Lobrecht comes to the fore.
The topic of equal opportunities has always accompanied him
He often makes fun of political correctness on his shows. Now and then he gets criticism. For example, when he made a joke in 2020 about monkeys in the Krefeld zoo that died in a fire, there was a great outcry on the internet. "People wear Wokeness like an accessory right now," he said two years ago in the "Hotel Matze" podcast. And these are mainly rich children from small towns, which makes it very elitist.
Lobrecht's mother died when he was little. He grew up with his two siblings with his single father. The topic that has always concerned him most in his life is equal opportunities, he said in the "Machiavelli" podcast. He always had the feeling that as a person who grew up without a good financial background, many things were made more difficult and that "vertical transcendence" was very difficult. By vertical transcendence he means social advancement. "I just wanted to say vertical transcendence. People don't always believe that I went to college," he joked.
What always astonishes him: We live in a "very awake, i.e. woken time", where a wide variety of discrimination mechanisms and dimensions are being dealt with and this important, largest and best researched dimension of discrimination - namely social in the sense of economic origin - is simply not an issue , he said on SRF. Nothing determines a life more than social background. In the interview, he talked about how others labeled him as an "assistant child" during his studies.
Lobrecht enlightens his community
He himself supports refugee organizations or groups that help people to get out of right-wing extremist groups. Both also regularly donate income from his podcast "Gemischtes Hack", which he does with the moderator Thomas Schmitt. In the past, Lobrecht dedicated his weekly Instagram story to the "Attention Please" format. He enlightened his community about endometriosis or depression.
The comedian did not complete his studies because at some point his career got the upper hand, as he once said in his podcast. Lobrecht is now so successful that even the "New York Times" wrote about him. There were several offers to film his book. The heavyweights had significantly more money than they offered, said producer Fabian Gasmia at the Berlinale. Lobrecht, however, decided on their offer because he had the feeling that the most uncompromising film would be made of it there. Lobrecht confirmed that and said he felt they were the closest they got to understanding what the book was really about.