The Burglar and the High Rise - A New Beginning

A film by Tama Tobias-Macht and Johanna Sunder-Plassmann
On behalf of WDR
In the series Menschen hautnah

"We have 228 tenants here! Not all of them agree with me as caretaker - because of my past. But I will manage." Udo, 56, is the new caretaker of an aging high-rise building in the east of Cologne.

For him, it is both a challenge and an opportunity, because Udo was a burglar for 30 years - now he manages all the keys of the 12-storey tower block.

The high-rise also has a difficult past and not a good reputation. But here, too, there are signs of a new future. Architect Igor, 43, who has lived in the high-rise since his student days, is now working in the management advisory board to make structural improvements so that the building can finally get rid of its hotspot image: "You just have to care - otherwise it withers away."

For one year, the filmmakers accompanied Udo with their camera. While the tower block is being repaired door by door, Udo gets to know the different tenants. He has no reservations, he approaches people of all backgrounds without fear and directly. He gets stuck in and takes care of them. When things get too much for him, Udo retreats to his work basement, which he has given to his tenants. „War Room“ Here he confronts the memories and demons of his past.

The film shows what potential the possibility of a second chance can have, personally but also socially.

Editorial RBB: Angelika Wagner (WDR)
Camera: Marie Zahir
Sound: Christoph Schnüll, Ralf Weber, Maja Meiners, Juliane Vari, Ralf Gromann
Film edit: Kawe Vakil

TV-Premiere:
05.04.2022, 22:45 Uhr, WDR

Available as stream:
In the ARD media library until 05.05.2023