Life is a tightrope walk. About abysses. where is a net This is especially true for Miriam (as a child: Cloe Heinrich, as an adult: Eva Meckbach). The daughter of a family of actors in Hamburg has cystic fibrosis, which destroys the lungs, cuts people off from normal life and brings them near death. In this film, however, he never surrenders to the hereditary disease.

The screenwriters Angelika Schwarzhuber and Christian Lex, as well as director Jophi Ries, based their TV film on Miriam Maertens’ novel “Let’s postpone it until tomorrow”, which was published by Ullstein in 2018, with the addition “How I cheated death”. In it, the 52-year-old actress from the Maertens clan (the brothers Kai and Michael Maertens as well as Joshua as their son play in the film) describes the fight against the disease until the victory of what was considered impossible.

In currently popular television fashion, the film begins with the saving end. The actress, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, is taken off the stage to the clinic for an operation, where her destroyed lung is replaced with a new one transplanted. The retelling of the medical history follows the phases of the difficult operation to the good end. The dramaturgical trick of turning the prehistory into a dream during an anesthetic leaves room for narrative imagination (image designer: Peter Joachim Krause). The young and the adult Miriam actress can focus on the mixture of melancholy and relentless willpower. Not death, but self-pity appears to the character played by both as the greatest enemy. The decisive sentence of the patient going through the hell of therapy: “I don’t want to be muko”.

Miriam Maertens, the novelist who saw it all, and the film Miriam, played by two actresses, are wonderfully connected. Actress Meckbach can work her way into cystic fibrosis because her own mother suffered from MS.

Miriam Maertens, who provided the basis for the novel, plays a central encouraging doctor in the film. At the time of the operation, she is already deceased, but acts like a kind of angel. She speaks from the hereafter – the program booklet calls it near-death life – and promises a happy ending. Mon dieu – but the trip to the other side does not lead to trouble.

“The air to breathe” is a combative passion story. The will rules because it should rule, not depression. This is what happens when dreams rule. The wildly caught actress of the childish Miriam (Heinrich) clearly shows the courage to not be excluded from the adventurous experiences with her peers, no matter how coughing she is. The same applies to the adult (Meckbach), who, through pure willpower, asserts herself against the caring siege of her family by brothers, but also by her parents (great: Janna Striebeck, Michael Wittenborn).

Against all health advice, she has a son from a fellow actor. Ironically, on Christmas Eve, he left her for someone else. Those who are unfortunate in health also have private misfortunes. The greatest gift: the child did not inherit the disease.

The rope holds, the dance of the brave succeeds. The network of self-help and family helps. Death must wait.