Re-Watch: Momo (1986)

Director: Johannes Schaaf
Writer: Johannes Schaaf, Rosemarie Fendel, Michael Ende, Marcello Coscia
Based on: Michael Ende‘s novel
Cast: Radost Bokel, Mario Adorf, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sylvester Groth, Leopoldo Trieste, Ninetto Davoli, Concetta Russino, Bruno Stori, Francesco De Rosa, Elide Melli, Pietro Tordi, Hartmut Kollakowsky, John Huston
Seen on: 24.2.2018

Momo (Radost Bokel) lives on her own in a ruin in the center of the village. She knows everybody in town. In fact, everbody knows each other and takes care of each other, not minding that all the social niceties do take time. But the town’s slow pace is disrupted when mysterious gray men show up and make it clear to everybody how much time they are wasting. There’s only Momo who can try and get rid of them.

Momo is one of my childhood favorites, so when they announced a special screening at the cinema, I knew I wanted to catch it on the big screen. And it was a great opportunity to see a film that still holds up wonderfully.

Momo is a highly political film (and book) that already pointed out the dangers of hypercapitalism and neoliberalism 30 years ago. It may get a tad preachy here and there, and it does romanticize the old time that was supposedly much better, but it also makes some good points and the message is definitely appreciated.

Seeing the film again as an adult and in the cinema no less really was a treat. I was surprised how much of the film was still burned into my head – both the concrete visuals and the story. Although some things were also as if new to me.

Even though the political content of the film is still very current, the film sometimes does look and feel a little old, though not in an out-of-date way. At least part of it is the slow pace and that the film is probably not only slower but also longer than it would be if it was made today. Another part of it might be the setting somewhere between Germany and Italy (not literally, i.e. Austria), due to the co-production, is a little strange, but also charming.

Altogether, Momo is a great film with its heart in the right place, a political stance and a great performance by Radost Bokel in the titular role. It’s a film well worth revisiting.

Summarizing: Pretty wonderful.

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