Vielleicht in einem anderen Leben [In Another Lifetime] (2010)

Vielleicht in einem anderen Leben is Elisabeth Scharang‘s adaptation of Silke Hassler‘s [link is German] and Peter Turrini‘s play [they’ve also written the script), starring Ursula Strauss, Johannes Krisch, Péter Végh, Orsolya Tóth and Franziska Singer.

Plot:
April 1945: a group of Hungarian Jews is led through an Austrian village. They are supposed to go to Mauthausen, but stop in the village for a few days. There they are locked into the Fasching’s barn. Mrs Fasching (Ursula Strauss) and her Farmhand Poldi (Franziska Singer) take pity on the locked up Jews and bring them food and water. Among the prisoners is Lou Gandolf (Péter Végh), an opera singer. He offers to mount an operetta as a thank you for Mrs Fasching, which doesn’t sit too well with Mr Fasching (Johannes Krisch) or the rest of the village.

Vielleicht in einem anderen Leben is one of those movies you wish weren’t that good. It’s excellently played and well-written. Also, it’s like a slap in the face.

[Slightly SPOILERy]

The movie does the evil thing of dangling the happy end in front of you. It’s there already. Everything is great – and then the last 5 minutes happen and you just want to cry.

At least it’s proof that the movie is very effective at what it does. Elisabeth Scharang is a good director and she’s working with good material: The script surprises sometimes with its dark humor and it has great dialogues, though most of the characters are a little underdeveloped (with the exceptions of the Faschings and Poldi).

The cast was fantastic. Johannes Krisch and Ursula Strauss unsurprisingly so and Franziska Singer a strong new discovery. She doesn’t have much experience yet but that only made her performance more impressive. Péter Végh and Orsolya Tóth would have deserved more limelight.

The only thing that didn’t work so well were the cuts to the SS commander who accompanies the Hungarians. His story was rather irrelevant and the time spent on it would have been put to better use to develop the characters of the prisoners.

Summarising: Watch it. Bring chocolate.

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