Rimini (2022)

Director: Ulrich Seidl
Writer: Veronika Franz, Ulrich Seidl
Cast: Michael Thomas, Tessa Göttlicher, Hans-Michael Rehberg, Inge Maux, Claudia Martini, Georg Friedrich
Seen on: 23.4.2022

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism, fascism

Richie Bravo (Michael Thomas) is a “schlager” singer whose heyday has long been over. He lives in Rimini now where he barely gets by with performances for busloads of German-speaking tourists, the occasional sex work and renting out his house to fans while he himself goes to stay in a shabby room in one of the many hotels that are empty for winter. When his estranged daughter Tessa (Tessa Göttlicher) shows up to demand money from him, Richie needs all his (more or less sleazy) survival skills to comply with her request.

Rimini is a typical Seidl movie in a way, but there is an almost optimistic note at the end of the film that is rather untypical. In any case, it’s the portrait of a sleazy man that spares nothing, as it is the portrait of a tourist town without tourists.

The film poster showing Richie Bravo (Michael Thomas) performing on an empty stage in front of a glitter curtain.
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Das finstere Tal [The Dark Valley] (2014)

Das finstere Tal
Director: Andreas Prochaska
Writer: Martin Ambrosch, Andreas Prochaska
Based on: Thomas Willmann‘s novel
Cast: Sam Riley, Paula Beer, Tobias Moretti, Thomas Schubert, Carmen Gratl, Clemens Schick, Helmuth Häusler, Martin Leutgeb, Johannes Nikolussi, Florian Brückner, Gerhard Liebmann, Erwin Steinhauer, Hans-Michael Rehberg
Seen on: 22.8.2016

A stranger (Sam Riley) arrives in a small village in the mountains. The villagers are suspicious. They don’t know anything about him, they don’t want him or his new-fangled photographic apparatus there. But the stranger who calls himself Greider is not to be dissuaded. He wants to stay over winter. After the six sons of the wealthiest farmer in the village give their okay, Greider is allowed to stay with Luzi (Paula Beer) and her mother (Carmen Gratl). Luzi is about to marry Lukas (Thomas Schubert), but something isn’t quite right there. And it is obvious that Greider has his own motives as well.

The Dark Valley was really successful and got some great reviews, but honestly, I don’t get it. It was boring, confusing where it wasn’t obvious and took some seriously misguided steps in the soundtrack department. Disappointing.

dasfinsteretal[Vague SPOILERS]

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Hamlet – DNF

Director: Andrea Breth
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: August Diehl, Hans-Michael Rehberg, Roland Koch, Andrea Clausen, Udo Samel

Prince Hamlet (August Diehl) just returned to Denmark after his father’s death. His mother Gertrud (Andrea Clausen) has quickly remarried – and who else but Hamlet’s uncle Claudius (Roland Koch)? But Hamlet’s father (Hans-Michael Rehberg) still haunts the castle grounds and he tells Hamlet that it was his own brother who killed him. Now it’s upon Hamlet to set things right again. But Hamlet’s grasp on sanity is slipping. Or maybe that is all a ruse?

I’ve heard good things about this production of Hamlet and I’m a big fan of August Diehl, so I knew that I had to go and see it, despite it being over five hours long. Unfortunately it was a disappointing experience.


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Polt. (2013)

Polt. [link’s in German]
Director: Julian Pölsler
Writer: Julian Pölsler
Based on: Alfred Komarek‘s [link’s in German] novel
Sequel to: Polt muss weinen, Blumen für Polt, Himmel Polt und Hölle, Polterabend
Cast: Erwin Steinhauer, Fritz Karl, Tatjana Alexander, Simon Schwarz, Elisabeth Orth, Karin Kienzer, Michou Friesz, Cornelius Obonya, Hans-Michael Rehberg

Simon Polt (Erwin Steinhauer) used to be a police man but he gave that up to live in a small village surrounded by vineyards and working at the local grocery store. His only remaining contact to the police is his friend Norbert Sailer (Fritz Karl). And then one night Simon and Norbert find a body in Norbert’s vineyard and Simon’s retired life is over.

Polt. did surprise me. It’s a made for TV, Austrian crime movie – and those are usually things that are a dangerous combination for the quality of any movie. But it turns out that Polt. is a beautifully shot, slow film with a great cast.


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Lulu und Jimi (2009)

Lulu und Jimi (aka Lulu and Jimi) is the newest movie by German film maker Oskar Roehler, who’s probably most famous for the adaptation of Houellebecq‘s Atomised. It’s a tribute to/remake of David Lynch‘s Wild at Heart, but set in Germany of the late 1950s.

Lulu (Jennifer Decker) is the daughter of a bankrupt upper class family. Her mother (Katrin Saß) wants her to marry the slightly ridiculous Ernst (Bastian Pastewka), who doesn’t have much charm but a lot of money. But Lulu falls in love with Jimi (Ray Fearon), who not only doesn’t have any money, but has criminal tendencies and is black. As soon as Mummy Dearest finds out, she tries everything to get Lulu to marry Ernst. Including sending the chauffeur (Udo Kier), a psychotic doctor (Hans-Michael Rehberg) and a killer (Ulrich Thomsen) after the pair on the run.

This film might sound like a light RomCom, but trust me, it’s not. In fact, it is absolutely bonkers. [But that’s what you get when you take David Lynch as your idol and inspiration.] It is funny, yes, but it also has some pretty gruesome scenes. Not a family movie.



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