A classic, cynics would define, is a book or film whose title everyone knows and is happy to use in conversation—but whose content and meaning have largely been lost over time. There are likely to be readers who sigh in torment at the thesis that “Two Noses Tank Super” is a modern classic. After all, what they remember might evoke a slight sense of shame. At least, unlike, say, “War and Peace”, we can safely assume that “Two Noses Tank Super” will have a broad reception. In 1984, 6.6 million West Germans saw the film in the cinema, verifiably.

Even this film title would be unthinkable today. That emphasis on a body feature! Clear lookism. The first thing you see of Thomas Gottschalk and Mike Krüger in the film are their – conspicuous – olfactory organs in profile. At least they don’t seem to feel discriminated against, Tommy calls Mike “nose” and Mike calls Tommy “supernose” (although Krüger actually has the more distinctive bulb). The two use their pistons more in the sense of trademarks, millions had already seen the previous film “Die Supernasen”.

Although the title is a self-referential play on words, the film does indeed have Super Tanking. Now, refueling is a tricky subject these days. You avoid it as long as possible. Looks anxiously at the liter and price counters. Doesn’t fill to the brim anymore.

On the other hand, what a relaxed relationship to the refueling process do nose and super nose have when they drive up to the petrol pumps with their trikes! That shouldn’t come as a surprise, because on the one hand they owe their motor tricycles to the luck of having hundreds of thousands of visitors to a BMW exhibition (BMW exhibitions are no longer popular locations either). On the other hand, the price for a liter of Super in 1984 was 1.39 marks per liter; currently we pay triple that, roughly converted.

Krüger and Gottschalk are what cares-me-the-world characters from the blissful Bonn Republic. They wreck a gas station customer’s sports car (in Laurel-

The jokes are bad (“That’s a cashmere,” the sports car driver explains his sweater; “Isch from Ischmir,” replies the Turkish gas station attendant), you squirt ketchup in an early McDonald’s and joke your way through the bed department of a department store.

Oh holy simplicity! Was that really us? Or our parents? Do we come from this carelessness? The best classics create a connection to the present and invite self-reflection. In that sense, Two Noses Tank Super is a true classic. For all those who can bear to look in the mirror of their super nose past.