Pappa Ante Portas

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Pappa Ante Portas
Directed by Loriot
Renate Westphal-Lorenz
Produced by Horst Wendlandt
Written by Loriot
Starring Evelyn Hamann
Music by Rolf A. Wilhelm
Cinematography Gérard Vandenberg
Edited by Annette Dorn
Distributed by Tobis Filmkunst
Release date
  • February 20, 1991 (1991-02-20)
Running time
89 minutes
Country Germany
Language German

Pappa Ante Portas is a 1991 German comedy film directed by and starring Loriot and Renate Westphal-Lorenz. This was Loriot's second and final feature film, after 1988's Ödipussi.



Heinrich Lohse is a manager at the "Deutsche Röhren AG" who increasingly tends to lose control. After ordering a 40-year supply of typewriting paper and erasers (because of quantity rebate), his boss forces him to retire. Confronted with this new situation, Lohse's family reacts in shock. It turns out Heinrich's wife Renate and his son Dieter were quite comfortable with the absent husband and father and don't want to see their situation disrupted. Heinrich, however, refuses to allow his career to end and immediately begins to rearrange the Lohse household based on his questionable managerial skills. This leads to a steadily increasing series of conflicts with his wife, son, and friends that get more and more bizarre. Starting out with buying a ridiculous amount of mustard to get discount, Heinrich finally invites a film crew to shoot a TV series in the Lohse household in order to impress his wife. The more he tries, however, the worse it gets, and Renate seriously questions her marriage. In the end, both visit the birthday party of Renate's mother which brings to light conflicts of other family members that seem even more dramatic than those of Heinrich and Renate. In realising this, both accept their new situation and try to find together again as a couple. The last shot shows Heinrich and Renate playing a flute concert in their living room in front of their son Dieter and Frau Kleinert, their housecleaner.


The title "Pappa ante portas" alludes to Hannibal ante portas! ("Hannibal before the gates!"), an often-cited Roman call referring to Carthaginian commander Hannibal on its way to Rome to conquer it in 211 BC. Director Loriot said it would be a family's best-known call of fear and thus would fit perfectly with his story.

Commercial success[edit]

Approximately 3.5 million people saw the film in movie theaters. This makes it the most successful German movie production in 1991. In the same year, due to its commercial success, the film received the 'Goldene Leinwand'.

External links[edit]


"Pappa ante Portas", DVD, Universum Film GmbH, ASIN: B002H2WR5K