photos: TNT Serie

“4 Blocks” is a story about the hardships and crime in Neukölln. The series follows protagonist Toni played by Kida Khodr Ramadan and his struggle with daily business in the context of Arabic clans. He wants to leave his “4 Blocks” behind for the sake of his family, but Neukölln doesn’t let him go easily.

With Frederick Lau, who plays a friend of Toni in the series, we fell in love with when we first saw him stirring up chaos in the hit Berlin movie “Victoria”. He became our new face of Berlin and embodied the “real people”. His role was as rough around the edges just like Neukölln is with its beautiful ugliness. Kida Khodr Ramadan does his own part in representing a realer image of Berlin, which is much more diverse.

There couldn’t be a better setting for a gangster series than this neighborhood with all the backdoor rooms in bars, gangs and the always lingering tension amplified by the lively fast pace on Sonnenallee and Karl-Marx-Straße.

Germany’s film industry isn’t exactly known for cool gangster or action productions, but we do know how to make a comedy into 2 hours of depressing negativity. But with 4 Blocks we seem to be getting something quite promising: An amazing cast, a good soundtrack and images that actually look somewhat like a music video by Haftbefehl, which isn’t the worst thing to look like when you aspire to be a gangster series.

Speaking of rappers, “4 Blocks” features German rapper Massiv and Veysel, who support the lead Kida Khodr Ramadan next to Frederick Lau.  Although I am not sure yet of how d’accord I am with the depiction of the “bad Arabic gangster” who needs a white man helping him out of his misery, I am glad to see a person of color in a leading role of a German production. The protagonist is a gangster, he is also someone to sympathize with though. The show will air on TNT Serie starting on May 8, 2017.

As part of the Berlin Film Nights together with Mobile Kino we will be screening the hotly anticipated show at Griessmühle before their television premiere. There is an encore screening of episodes 1 & 2 happening on May 11 at 21h, the premiere of episode 3 & 4 will happen on June 1, and episode 5 & 6 on June 14, 2017.

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