Romance & Cigarettes (2005)

Romance & Cigarettes
Director: John Turturro
Writer: John Turturro
Cast: James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Bobby Cannavale, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Aida Turturro, Christopher Walken, Barbara Sukowa, Elaine Stritch, Eddie Izzard, Amy Sedaris
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 25.10.2016

Plot:
Nick (James Gandolfini) and Kitty (Susan Sarandon) have been married many years and have managed to build a very middle-class existence. When Kitty finds out that Nick has been having an affair, she’s outraged. Her three daughters Baby (Mandy Moore), Constance (Mary-Louise Parker) and Rosebud (Aida Turturro) are firmly on Kitty’s side, but also have their own issues to deal with. And Nick will have to figure out whether he wants to fight for his marriage or start a new life with the other woman, Tula (Kate Winslet).

Romance & Cigarettes is a very idiosyncratic film. A musical in that setting and with those costumes and an off-beat sense of humor, it’s funny and manages to entertain, but it’s also unfortunately steeped in sexism.

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Vor der Morgenröte [Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe] (2016)

Vor der Morgenröte
Director: Maria Schrader
Writer: Maria Schrader, Jan Schomburg
Cast: Josef Hader, Aenne SchwarzBarbara SukowaMatthias BrandtCharly HübnerTómas LemarquisLenn KudrjawizkiHarvey FriedmanNicolau BreynerIvan ShvedoffAndré SzymanskiValerie PachnerDaniel Puente Encina
Seen on: 16.6.2016

Plot:
Stefan Zweig (Josef Hader) is a successful writer of wide renown. As an Austrian Jew, he decided to leave Europe behind after Hitler’s rise to power and now lives in Brazil with his wife Lotte (Aenne Schwarz). But the political situation in Europe follows him even into his exile, as people all seem to expect something of him, a statement, taking position, outright help – and Zweig really doesn’t know how to handle this pressure as his attempts to distance himself from everything continue to fail.

Vor der Morgenröte captures an awkward, uncomfortable atmosphere perfectly and tells a World War 2 story from a perspective that is unusual, and definitely fascinating.

vordermorgenroete

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Die abhandene Welt [The Misplaced World] (2015)

Die abhandene Welt
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Writer: Margarethe von Trotta
Cast: Katja Riemann, Barbara Sukowa, Matthias Habich, Robert Seeliger, Gunnar Möller, Karin Dor
Seen on: 4.8.2015

Plot:
Sophie (Katja Riemann) has a difficult relationship with her bossy father Paul (Matthias Habich) and ever since the death of her mother, things haven’t gotten any easier. But when Paul stumbles upon a photo of famous opera singer Caterina (Barbara Sukowa) who looks a lot like his deceased wife, he asks Sophie to fly to New York to meet her and figure out the connection between them. And Sophie consents, almost despite herself. But getting in touch with Caterina isn’t easy as she’s abrasive and not interested in dragging up the past.

Die abhandene Welt has many strengths, but unfortunately also one stumbling stone that pushed me out of the film more than once. Still, there was more than enough good stuff there to make the film very much worthwhile.

Die_abhandene_Welt

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Hannah Arendt (2012)

Hannah Arendt
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Writer: Pam Katz, Margarethe von Trotta
Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Axel Milberg, Janet McTeer, Julia Jentsch, Ulrich Noethen, Michael Degen, Nicholas Woodeson, Victoria Trauttmannsdorff, Klaus Pohl

Plot:
Hannah Arendt (Barbara Sukowa) is a successful political theorist, writer and professor. She used to be a student of Heidegger (Klaus Pohl), but had to leave Germany during WW2 and fled to the USA. When she hears of the abduction/arrest of nazi Adolf Eichmann by Israel, she decides to go there to cover the trial. But once there, she is astonished by how utterly normal, and not evil, Eichmann seems to be. This leads to her writing Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. But the notion that nazis might not be the complete monsters doesn’t bring her any friends, and in fact makes her lose some.

I’ve been meaning to read about Hannah Arendt/her work for a while, but I didn’t get around to it yet. So when I heard about the movie, I was very happy at the chance to at least get some information into me that way. And as a first primer, the movie is really excellent.

hannah-arendt

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