Waren einmal Revoluzzer [Once Were Rebels] (2019)

Waren einmal Revoluzzer
Director: Johanna Moder
Writer: Johanna Moder
Cast: Julia Jentsch, Marcel Mohab, Aenne Schwarz, Manuel Rubey, Tambet Tuisk, Lena Tronina, Josef Hader
Seen on: 10.9.2020

Helene (Julia Jentsch) is a judge, her husband Jakob (Manuel Rubey) a musician and stay-at-home dad. Their lives are pretty settled, as is their friend’s Volker (Marcel Mohab), a therapist with an unceasing string of girlfriends. The newest is Tina (Aenne Schwarz), an art historian who works with children at the museum. When Volker mentions that he will go to Russia for a conference, Helene asks him to bring a package to Pavel (Tambet Tuisk), her Russian college boyfriend who finds himself in a tight spot. This leads to Pavel actually fleeing from Russia to Austria. To Helene’s surprise, he shows up with his wife Eugenia (Lena Tronina) and their child, getting everything in disarray.

Waren einmal Revoluzzer profits from its political heart that does elevate the film beyond the rather standard comedy it is. Still, while entertaining and well-made, I didn’t really love it.

The film poster shwing the faces of the 3 couples in the film.
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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

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.


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The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich (2012)

The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich
Director: Antonin Svoboda
Writer: Antonin Svoboda
Cast: Klaus Maria Brandauer, Julia Jentsch, Jeanette Hain, Jamie Sives, Birgit Minichmayr, Kenny Doughty, Gary Lewis, David Rasche
Part of: Viennale

Wilhelm Reich (Klaus Maria Brandauer) used to be a psychoanalyst who started studying orgones after leaving Germany for the USA. Orgones were supposed to be this cosmic life force. But the FDA gets wind of the whole thing and puts Reich on trial, convicting him of fraud and forbidding him to continue working and distributing his theories.

I am a huge fan of Antonin Svoboda’s first film – Spiele Leben – so I did expect a lot from this one, too. Maybe it was because of my high expectations, maybe not, but unfortunately I was bitterly disappointed and very much bored by the whole thing.

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Die Summe meiner einzelnen Teile [Hut in the Woods] (2011)

Die Summe meiner einzelnen Teile (literally: The Sum of My Single Parts; international title: Hut in the Woods)
Director: Hans Weingartner
Writer: Hans Weingartner, Cüneyt Kaya
Cast: Peter Schneider, Timur Massold, Henricke von Kuick, Andreas Leupold, Julia Jentsch

Martin (Peter Schneider) used to be a brilliant mathematician until he had a psychotic break. But now he’s being freshly released from the psychiatric station and tries to get his feet on the ground again. But then the job his old employer promised him isn’t available after all and Martin falls into another bout of depression. His life quickly falls apart again and Martin ends up homeless and completely lost. But then he stumbles upon Viktor (Timur Massold), a ten-year old living on the streets as well who speaks only Russian. The two of them become unlikely companions.

I really enjoyed the first half of the film but then it deteriorated into a kind of naive romantizisation of mental illness and living outside the bounds of society that just didn’t ring true to me anymore.

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Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále (I Served the King of England) [2006]

Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále or I Served the King of England is the adaption of Bohumil Hrabal‘s book of the same name by Jirí Menzel. I started to read the book but didn’t finish it yet. So don’t expect much comparison.

Jan Dite (Oldrich Kaiser) is released from prison and looks back on his life as a younger man (Ivan Barnev), obsessed with becoming a millionaire and, of course, women. As a waiter, he stumbles through the history of Czechoslovakia during the Second World War and Communism.

The movie is a bit too long and suffers from the same problem I have with the book: Dite remains completely alien to me. The way he thinks, the way he makes decisions and the way people around him react to him is honestly a mystery to me. [Which also means that it’s quite an adaptation of the book – it’s hard to translate stuff like that from one medium to the next.] There were some funny scenes and some scenes where I would have thrown popcorn, had I bought any.


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