Name jokes have gone somewhat out of fashion in German comedy since the “Supernasen” films. Not a bad achievement of the past forty years, even if comedy in this country – with the exception of a handful of films – has not developed for the better since then.

But since Max Linz is not afraid of contact (his first two films “I don’t want to get excited artificially” and “Further on Sanssouci” connect Bertolt Brecht with Jerry Lewis, so in an ideal world they would be something like proletarian folk art), he is humorous go where it hurts.

Court president Josephine Praetorius-Camusot (Sophie Rois) and public prosecutor Donnerstrunkhausen (Hauke ​​Heumann) not only have to fight with their names in “L’état et moi – The state and I”. In Linz’s third institutional comedy, after jokes about the culture industry and the university mess, there is also a performance problem for the judiciary.

This is already evident in the fact that the President of her most recent trial – the case of a “rioter”, whose identity was traced back to the year 1871 by law enforcement officer Detlev Detlevsen (another Mike Krüger joke, this time disguised as an inside joke with an affinity for pop culture) – in a Theater scenery presides. There she sits like in a “doll’s house” and, despite the circumstances, has to speak German law seriously.

In May 1871, two events coincided: the Paris Commune was violently dissolved, while a thousand kilometers to the east our present penal code came into force. Max Linz connects these two events with a cinematic trick: the composer Hans List, who was just fighting on the Parisian barricades, wakes up 150 years later as a wax figure in an exhibition about Franco-German relations – appropriately in the reconstructed, a crazy Prussian fantasy sprung city palace.

Here, the time traveler experiences the premiere of his fragment “Die Elenden”, based on Victor Hugo, as well as the inadequacy of the German judiciary, which is already overwhelmed by distinguishing between composer and communist – one of the film’s many running gags, which every time getting better.

The comedy of mistaken identity, which essentially revolves around the fact that the gender-fluid List and the blase-jovial Praetorius-Camusot are both played by Sophie Rois, and the parody of German obeying to authority – which is expressed, among other things, in the fact that the policeman DD, the handshake judging by being a distant descendant of Bismarck (Bernhard Schütz also in a double role) – find a freer form in “L’état et moi” than in Linz’ earlier films.

Hans List is a kind of Zelig character. The goofy legal trainee Yushi Lewis (Jeremy Mockridge) hovers in his own spheres, for whom the young composer is above all an opportunity to flirt with the cellist Céline (Martha Mechow) – the goddaughter of the court president, with whom Yushi is currently sitting in for the state examination.

With its third discourse comedy – a genre that only Julian Radlmaier and Susanne Heinrich have mastered with similar virtuosity – Linz has set itself up nicely in upscale slapstick. The jokes are sometimes more abstract, which could also be due to the fact that he is entering unsafe territory for the first time. Occasionally one senses that Linz is less familiar with the milieu of the judiciary than with culture and the university. But he masters the slapstick all the more skilfully. This is not least due to Sophie Rois, whose comedic timing, so to speak as a typical Linz attitude of refusal, also sits without words if necessary.