Film/TVTheatreAudio productions
Anteroom to Hell (Vorzimmer zur Hölle)
(TV-Comedy / ZDF)
Content: Jule Engelhardt (Henriette Richter Roehl) works as a receptionist in a cosmetic company. One day she witnesses how Annedore Zimmermann (Elenore Weisgerber), arrogant CEO Dr. Phillip Richter (Andreas Pietschmann)’s longtime secretary, collapses from a heart attack. Jule’s presence of mind saves the woman’s life. As thanks for having saved her, she recommends Jule to the shocked Phillip as a temporary help. After initial difficulties, Jule shows unexpected skills in her new job, and also in other respect things develop in a surprising way. (Source:

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Actors: Henriette Richter-Röhl, Andreas Pietschmann, Eleonore Weisgerber, Heidelinde Weis, Gregor Bloeb, u.a.
Directed by: John Delbridge
Screenplay: Christian Pfannenschmidt
Cinematography by: Markus Hausen
Production: teamWorx Television & Film GmbH in Zusammenarbeit mit Kromschröder & Pfannenschmidt GmbH / Nico Hofmann, Jan Kromschröder / Germany 2008


“Anteroom to Hell” tells the more or less known story in such a clever way that it turns this small, presumably average movie into a fine little discovery. Nothing that would be cinematically of any relevance - yet enough to let the viewer for an hour and a half intensely sympathize and have compassion for the protagonists. One can hardly expect much more from a sitcom than evoke so much empathy, let alone from one that is broadcast in the usually rather shallow ZDF Wednesday film slot.

The pleasant surprise is, above all, thanks to the noticeable fun the author, director and actors share in this project, and moreover to the unaffectedness innate to the whole production. The central focus is on Henriette Richter-Roehl, not only in its dramaturgical but also in its qualitative sense:  neither "Marienhof" nor "Storm of Love", both ARD soap operas that she played in for a long time, could Richter-Roehl take away her freshness and naturalness. The actress, with her open and alert eyes, is a gift to this comedy (production: Teamworx), and therefore hardly a scene really manages without her. However, it is also the role tailored for her by author Christian Pfannenschmidt, which is at times bitter and at times sweet, but which always suits Henriette Richter-Roehl. This Jule is a beautifully rounded figure, by no means only likable and popular. She is rooted in a social environment in which Hartz IV, overdue rent and overdrawn accounts are not only empty words, but concrete reality. With her partner and roommate Jens (Andreas Guenther) there are always heated arguments about money, whilst with her best friend Biene (Elzemarieke de Vos) genuine conversations about life plans between career and precarity are likely to take place. Amazing is the ease with which the script weaves quite realistic threads into the love story of the failed medical student and the ultra-rich business man, and how both are yielding a coherent whole in a wonderful way.

Why do romantic comedies always have to come off so affected and artificial? The film "anteroom to hell" raises this question in the best way possible, by making it different, better; the witty and only rarely stereotypical dialogues by always leaving room for real life;  by the director (John Delbridge) working briskly without appearing to be wound up. And the actors – the successful cast ranging from Andreas Pietschmann to Eleonore Weisgerber and Heidelinde Weis, Ivonne Schönherr and Gregory Bloéb  - being allowed to represent real people, with rough edges and quirks. It's so wonderful that at times television still succeeds in creating something light, which in reality is so difficult to make. (Source:

“Amusing office love story.” (Source:

Terrifying or cruel as the title may sound, the film isn’t all that horrid after all. Quite on the contrary: it’s a (love) comedy with pep... Admittedly, the film also scores points because Andreas Pietschmann adds a lot of momentum. (Source:

Richter-Röhl mastered her character - Juliane Engelhardt - very well. There are definitely no objections. Her better half, Andreas Pietschmann, can convince throughout the film. (Source:

The title is deceptive. They really do exist, the refreshing and not at all embarrassing comedies on German TV. Even more surprising is that with Henriette Richter-Roehl a soap opera and telenovela actress has the lead in the entire film, and Andreas Pietschmann as the boss of a cosmetics giant finds a congenial partner.

Andreas Pietschmann maybe, perhaps, a little too young for the executive role, but, on the other hand, he has exactly the right age for Richter-Röhl. And moreover, he plays the snobbish boss, who does not like it if his new assistant mixes up the morning routine (a croissant cut into five equally sized bits, green tea, infused in exactly eight minutes). (

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