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The Swede Mikkel Nordergren has unexpectedly inherited a lakeside property with a house in rural Brandenburg – much to the annoyance of his neighbor Marlies Gottlieb, who lives like a recluse on her land, alone with her songbirds. It's bad enough that Mikkel commissions Marlies' daughter, a real-estate agent, to sell the house; he also wants to open up the old path along the shore, which Marlies had blocked years ago.

The argument between the two neighbors re-ignites an old feud with the local community about their access to the lake. But opposites can also attract one another, and Marlies cannot deny a certain fascination for her life-loving neighbor. Another argument prompts Mikkel to take the side of the community, however, which triggers the reprise of a squabble that threatens to be endless.