Tag Archives: Daniel Brühl

Woman in Gold


California resident Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) hires young attorney Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) to help her retrieve Gustav Klimt’s painting ”Woman in Gold” from Austria; a portrait of her aunt, the Nazis stole the painting from her family. A reality-based story about a significant battle over artwork that reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. This film tells two parallel stories – Altmann’s modern-day struggle and what happened to her and her family in Vienna after Anschluss. The movie itself isn’t a substantive work of art, but Mirren makes it easy to engage with Altmann.

2015-Britain-U.S. 109 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Simon Curtis. Cast: Helen Mirren (Maria Altmann), Ryan Reynolds (Randy Schoenberg), Daniel Brühl (Hubertus Czernin), Tatiana Maslany, Katie Holmes, Max Irons… Charles Dance, Elizabeth McGovern, Jonathan Pryce, Frances Fisher.

Trivia: Andrew Garfield was reportedly first cast as Schoenberg, but dropped out. The story was also told in the documentary Stealing Klimt (2007).



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Captain America Civil War: A Cinematic Universe About to Burst


captainamericacivilwarThis year has seen two epic superhero movies, crafted by the film studios of rivaling comic-book powerhouses Marvel and DC Comics. The first one, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was generally scorned, while Captain America: Civil War is getting a lot of praise. In both films, we see beloved superheroes clash physically, but why does it work so much better here? In Batman v Superman, the heavy-handed directing style of Zack Snyder was like a wet blanket, combined with a bad script that made us feel like there really is no huge reason for these great heroes to fight one another. Not only do the Russo brothers have a different approach visually, but they’re supported by writing that actually takes the motivations behind the conflict seriously.

Some time after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) are in Nigeria to stop a supervillain from stealing a biological weapon. They succeed – but not until they accidentally bomb a building, with many innocent victims. Wary of dealing with superheroes, the governments of the world create the Sokovia Accords, effectively putting the Avengers under a governing body controlled by the United Nations. When the superheroes learn of this, they are divided. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) has come to believe that this is necessary, but Cap disagrees, fearing what would happen if the wrong people came to power. A rift is created between the Avengers, as each superhero chooses a side…

A busy sequel
Some will accuse this 3D extravaganza of being just too much, and it sure is busy. Not only do we have a central villain in the shape of Daniel Brühl’s military veteran who turns Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) into the destructive Winter Soldier once again for personal reasons. The film also brings back Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) from last summer’s most satisfying blockbuster, introduces and motivates a new hero, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)… but also finds time to reintroduce Spider-Man, rebooted again, this time younger than ever. That sounds like risky business, but Tom Holland’s performance as a Spider-Man that emphasizes his teenage traits makes him stand apart; Holland has a few entertaining scenes with Downey, Jr. and is very appealing. The ”kid” swings into action during the film’s central action set-piece, an amazing sequence that takes place at Leipzig/Halle Airport and features a showdown between the warring Avengers. Long, but impressively scripted and choreographed, the sequence is exciting, funny and elaborate, the opposite of the empty knuckle-fest we saw in Batman v Superman. But DC fans who want their comic-book movies darker – things do take a more tragic turn near the end. Thankfully, this film chooses a different path from all the other Marvel adventures and rejects a traditional effects-laden, bloated finale in favor of a very personal, sad battle between Iron Man and Cap, the leaders of the two factions. The screenwriters give them good reason to fight throughout the film, drawing on the emotional as well as intellectual and political reasons, in some way echoing how divided America has become in the past years.

The filmmakers expertly blend action with an intelligent story. It may be an unwieldy spectacle, but it’s still well balanced. And its set-up for future chapters whets one’s appetite. Like a well-honed soap opera, this cinematic universe knows how to keep us coming back for more.

Captain America: Civil War 2016-U.S. 146 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Kevin Feige. Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. Screenplay: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely. Comic Book: Mark Millar. Cast: Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle… Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Daniel Brühl, William Hurt, Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, John Slattery, Hope Davis, Alfre Woodard. Cameo: Stan Lee.

Trivia: Spider-Man next appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). Black Panther got his own spin-off movie, Black Panther (2018).

Last word: “Robert [Downey, Jr.] wasn’t contracted to do the movie, he didn’t need to, so first we had to convince him on a creative level why he should. We told him we were going to take a lot of risks with the character, and that we really wanted to keep the MCU from getting stale by surprising the audience and putting Tony in a precarious, vulnerable place that we haven’t seen before. He’s very off-balance, emotionally, in the film. And he was excited about that. So we had to close that deal, which was not insignificant. Then the next step was ‘Kevin [Feige], can you approach Sony and figure out a way to get Spider-Man in this movie’. It’s unprecedented, what him and Sony managed to do. It’s probably one of the most complicated deals in the history of business – to share a billion-dollar piece of IP, asking two competitors to work together.” (Joe Russo, Den of Geek)

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Joyeux Noël: One Night of Peace


joyeuxnoel2015 has in many ways been an awful year, with heinous terrorist acts, a never-ending war in Syria, a refugee crisis in Europe, and a resurgent far-right movement visible not only on that continent but also in the U.S. Republican primaries. This planet needs a big hug… and a lot more action to heal its wounds. Perhaps the most fitting Christmas movie to watch this year is the ten-year-old Joyeux Noël, a call for brotherly love in the worst of times.

After the outbreak of World War I in 1914, enthusiastic young men go to war in Europe only to find expectations of adventure crushed in trenches where life in between watching your friends get maimed or killed is increasingly pointless. We follow infantrymen from France, Germany and Scotland, all of them facing Christmas far away from their families. They include a Scottish priest (Gary Lewis) serving as a stretcher-bearer, a Jewish-German lieutenant (Daniel Brühl) and a French lieutenant (Guillaume Canet) who’s had to leave his pregnant wife behind. On the German side there’s also a famous tenor, Nikolaus Sprink (Benno Fürmann). After getting permission to reunite with his fiancée, Anna Sørensen (Diane Kruger), an equally famous soprano, to entertain officers near the front, Sprink returns to the trenches – with Anna in tow.

Moving display of humanity
Even though all the characters are fictitious, the movie was based on actual events. The so-called Christmas truce of 1914 was a series of unofficial meetings in no-man’s-land between enemy combatants where they greeted each other, sang Christmas carols, collected their fallen comrades for burial and even played soccer together. All for a brief period of time. This moving display of humanity was condemned by warmongering authorities on all sides and wasn’t repeated to the same extent in following years, partly due to increased bitterness as the war dragged on and on. The film was made by a French director, but the cast has many nationalities. A lavish production like this runs the risk of becoming a costly Europudding, but Caron keeps everything in check. The story is thoroughly researched and has the realism we expect, boosted by some helpings of sentimentality, but it’s never overdone. We believe in these characters and are moved by what they go through. The truce is depicted with the right approach, almost rendering a touch of magic as soldiers approach each other warily in the darkness of Christmas night. The trenches are realistically recreated and the fighting staged with intensity – but never turning so gruesome as to make it impossible for younger viewers to watch the film and learn from its pacifist message. Technically, the cinematography, production design and music are the key ingredients that transport us emotionally to this time and place. A uniformly good cast without any particular standouts, although Ian Richardson has a juicy role, one of his last, near the end, as a wicked, nationalist bishop who preaches war. Kruger gets top billing, but she’s not as compelling as some of the minor roles; the sole prominent female actor, she’s meant to more or less represent the angelic virtues of Christmas, but the greatest impact in her scenes is created by the singer doing her voice, Natalie Dessay.

Audience-pleasing and easily accessible; few filmmakers can master that art fully. This is the kind of story that especially Europeans should see more of, one that underlines the bonds between us. Those values are needed to counter the new nationalist voices heard all over this continent. 

Joyeux Noël 2005-France-Germany. 116 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Christophe Rossignon. Written and directed by Christian Caron. Cinematography: Walther van den Ende. Music: Philippe Rombi. Production Design: Jean-Michel Simonet. Cast: Diane Kruger (Anna Sørensen), Benno Fürmann (Nikolaus Sprink), Guillaume Canet (Camille René Audebert), Gary Lewis, Dany Boon, Alex Ferns… Daniel Brühl, Ian Richardson.

Trivia: Alternative title in English: Merry Christmas. Later turned into an opera called “Silent Night”.

Last word: “I’m not a specialist but there’s no religion I can imagine that has not been touched by that kind of manipulation so let’s be very careful. I wanted to put it in my movie because there were two ways of believing in God at that time, some people who wanted to involve God in the war itself, and other people who believe in God but in a peaceful way.” (Caron on the factual basis for the sermon of hate that Richardson gives in the film, KPBS)

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The Fifth Estate


fifthestateIn 2007, German journalist Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) meets Australian computer hacker Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Berlin and begins working with him on a website devoted to exposing classified information provided by anonymous sources. Bill Condon’s portrait of the rise of WikiLeaks goes for an intense visual look as we follow how Assange and Domscheit-Berg fell out over how to handle the impact of the explosive WikiLeaks material. The film on the whole remains superficial though. Assange is depicted as selfish and ruthless; Cumberbatch is not easy to care about, and Brühl is bland.

2013-U.S. 128 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Bill Condon. Books: Daniel Domscheit-Berg (“Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website”), David Leigh, Luke Harding (“WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy”). Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch (Julian Assange), Daniel Brühl (Daniel Domscheit-Berg), Anthony Mackie (Sam Coulson), David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Laura Linney… Stanley Tucci, Peter Capaldi.

Trivia: James McAvoy was first cast as Daniel. Assange e-mailed Cumberbatch and asked him not to make the movie.

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Fall of the Wall: Movies on Life Behind the Iron Curtain

The clip above shows Peter Gabriel performing in Berlin yesterday, at the 25th anniversary of the infamous Wall’s demise. It was a festive occasion, with appearances by among others Mikhail Gorbachev and Lech Walesa, highlighted by the “Lichtgrenze” installation, lit balloons marking the original path of the Berlin Wall. Watching the balloons rise into the sky, symbolizing the fall of the Wall, was powerful. It is true that it was never easy for West and East Germany to fuse into one democratic nation, and that problems still linger. It is also true that Russia under the increasingly totalitarian leadership of Vladimir Putin is once again becoming a threat to its democratic neighbors. But for one night, Germans and Europeans in general could enjoy celebrating what has to be seen as a very positive event in the continent’s history.

A short while ago, I finished “Iron Curtain”, Anne Applebaum’s amazing chronicle of Eastern Europe’s early years after World War II, an era when the Soviet Union brutally enforced their destructive agenda on Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Albania. Meticulously and honestly, Applebaum goes through every facet of life behind the fresh Iron Curtain and makes us understand why it succeeded for so many years even though the economic policies and moral values of Stalinism were ineffectual and rotten from the beginning. She also makes clear how much the countries differed from one another, and how much they differed from Russia, making Stalin’s brutal influence even more tragic. It’s history soaked in blood, and Applebaum remains fiercely critical (as evidenced by her Twitter feed, for instance) of every totalitarian tendency that still comes out of Moscow; unfortunately, there’s not a shortage of worrying signs today.

There are many movies made about the Cold War. Some of them focus on life behind the Iron Curtain. A few memorable examples:

Ashes and Diamonds (1958) – The film that brought Andrzej Wajda to prominence is a true classic that references the Warsaw Uprising, Poland’s Home Army resistance to both Nazis and the Soviet Union, as well as life in Poland right after the war.

The Fireman’s Ball (1967) – One of Milos Forman’s early films in Czechoslovakia is widely perceived as a satire on life in Eastern European Communist countries. Holds the distinction of being “banned forever” by the regime after the Soviet invasion of 1968.

Man of Marble (1977) and Man of Iron (1981) – Andrzej Wajda again. The director has made it his life’s mission to portray the travails of his beloved Poland. These films portray a Communist shock-worker and his son who latterly becomes involved in Solidarity.

When Father Was Away on Business (1985) – Sarajevo, the early 1950s. The film that brought Emir Kusturica to international prominence depicted years when Yugoslavia under Tito ended up in conflict with the Soviet Union.

Good Bye, Lenin! (2003) – Wolfgang Becker’s comedy has a dedicated communist waking up from a coma, not knowing that the DDR no longer exists; her son (Daniel Brühl) fears the shock might be too much for her and tries to uphold the illusion that the dictatorship is still functioning. Targeting those who miss East German kitsch and Walter Ulbricht’s “stability”, the film segues into something more earnest.

The Lives of Others (2006) – Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s brilliant account of the paranoid East German system where the security services could rely on an extensive system of informants. This may not be a society where people are shot in the streets, but its structure is nonetheless frightening. The clip above shows the beginning of the film.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) – Two students are trying to arrange an illegal abortion in Communist Romania. Part of the Romanian New Wave movement, Cristian Mungiu’s film shows the bureaucracy and consequences of a horrible system.

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A Most Wanted Man

amostwantedmanA Chechen refugee arrives in Hamburg illegally; he’s believed to be a terrorist, but intelligence agent Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) sees a chance to catch bigger fish. Anton Corbijn delivers another spy thriller after The American (2010) and he’s well-suited to portray the stylishly gray world of John le Carré. This adaptation depicts the challenges of terrorist-hunting and turf war between different interests. Cold as ice and very deliberately told, with unattractive German locations, but credible. Hoffman is magnificent in one of his last parts, as the chain-smoking, ruffled agent.

2014-Britain-U.S.-Germany. 122 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Anton Corbijn. Novel: John le Carré. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Günther Bachmann), Rachel McAdams (Annabel Richter), Willem Dafoe (Tommy Brue), Robin Wright, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Derya Alabora… Daniel Brühl.

Trivia: Co-producer Stephen Cornwell is the son of le Carré. Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain and Carey Mulligan were allegedly considered for McAdams’s role.

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rushTheir common interest in dramas portraying recent real-life events on a grand scale vitalizes director Ron Howard and writer Peter Morgan’s take on the famous rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda in the 1970s. Admittedly, we never get as close to the two men as we’d like, but Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl are excellent and it’s interesting to see what Hunt and Lauda had in common and what set them apart. This is also one of few racing movies to make the game look just as exciting, powerful and poignant as it must be for the drivers; brilliant shots and editing creates great drama on the race tracks.

2013-Britain-Germany. 123 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Ron Howard, Andrew Eaton, Eric Fellner, Brian Grazer, Peter Morgan, Brian Oliver. Directed by Ron Howard. Screenplay: Peter Morgan. Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle. Editing: Dan Hanley, Mike Hill. Cast: Chris Hemsworth (James Hunt), Daniel Brühl (Niki Lauda), Olivia Wilde (Suzy Miller), Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, David Calder… Natalie Dormer.

Trivia: Paul Greengrass was allegedly first considered as director.

BAFTA: Best Editing.

Last word: “I did have friends in Los Angeles who read the script and said ‘who are we rooting for?’ This is the sort of traditional script note that you get. That’s one of the unconventional aspects of this. I think people are pleasantly surprised by the move because they expect a more conventional kind of sports narrative to roll out. These aren’t conventional characters and the good news was it kind of forced Peter, myself, all of us to take a narrative that doesn’t unfold the way you would write it in a movie script and make it work. I don’t think it’s fair to take sides, I don’t think there was a good guy or a bad guy there. I felt like it was a rival story and a dual survival story.” (Howard, F1 Fanatic)

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2 Days in New York

2daysinnyMarion’s (Julie Delpy) father and sister (Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau) arrive in New York City together with an uninvited guest to see her, the kids and a new boyfriend (Chris Rock). The sequel to 2 Days in Paris (2007) offers the same mix of boisterous family life and Delpy’s personal thoughts, this time as a woman who’s lived a little more and now has children. New York plays less of a part here than Paris did in the original, and the chaos surrounding Delpy’s dad and sister may not be to everyone’s taste – but the cast is fun and it’s a credible observation on the nature of families.

2012-France. 96 min. Music and direction by Julie Delpy. Screenplay: Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau. Cast: Chris Rock (Mingus), Julie Delpy (Marion), Albert Delpy (Jeannot), Alexia Landeau, Alex Nahon, Dylan Baker… Daniel Brühl. Cameo: Vincent Gallo.

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The Greatest Hits of 2013

It’s time for that annual list of this year’s highly anticipated Hollywood films. Here’s 2013 for ya.


* The Last Stand – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first starring vehicle in ten years. Not expecting great things.

* Broken City – Allen Hughes directs this political thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe.


* Warm Bodies – Director Jonathan Levine last made 50/50, so this romantic zombie movie has to be checked out.

* Identity Thief – Melissa McCarthy has two major comedies out this year, which could propel her into greater things. The first one also stars Jason Bateman.

* A Good Day to Die Hard – The fifth movie in the franchise. None of the predecessors have disappointed so far.


* Oz: The Great and Powerful – Sam Raimi’s prequel to The Wizard of Oz (1939) has a few trailers promising exciting stuff.


* The Heat – The Bridesmaids director strikes with another comedy, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. Looks like another Stakeout, and could be a major hit.

* 42 – Brian Helgeland directs this drama about Jackie Robinson. Co-starring Harrison Ford.

* To the Wonder – Terrence Malick’s latest, with Ben Affleck leading the cast.

* Oblivion – Science fiction with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman.


* Iron Man 3 – Shane Black directs this first follow-up to The Avengers.

* The Great Gatsby – Baz Luhrmann’s take on the iconic novel.

* Star Trek: Into Darkness – The second film in J.J. Abrams’s new vision of the old franchise.

* The Hangover Part III – A chance for this gang to redeem themselves.


* Much Ado About Nothing – Joss Whedon does Shakespeare.

* Man of Steel – Superman, as envisioned by Zack Snyder.

* Monsters University – Pixar’s big summer movie is a sequel to Monsters, Inc. (2001).

* World War Z – Zombies, Brad Pitt… and Marc Forster in the directing chair. Looks like a challenging combo.


* The Lone Ranger – Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski reunite from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies for an American Western classic.

* Pacific Rim – Guillermo del Toro directing something that looks like a huge Michael Bay adventure.

* The Wolverine – Hugh Jackman returns in his most famous role, this time directed by James Mangold.


* Elysium – District 9 director Neill Blomkamp returns with a sci-fi thriller starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.


* Rush – Ron Howard’s biopic of legendary Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda and the crash that almost killed him. Starring Daniel Brühl.

* The Tomb – Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger break out of a prison; directed by Mikael Håfström.


* Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s follow-up to their 2005 movie.

* Oldboy – Spike Lee’s remake of the South Korean classic.

* Captain Phillips – Paul Greengrass’s latest is a story about Somali pirates hijacking an American cargo ship, helmed by Tom Hanks.

* Carrie – The remake of the 1976 horror classic is directed by Kimberly Peirce of Boys Don’t Cry fame.

* Malavita – Luc Besson’s gangster movie features Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones in the cast.


* Thor: The Dark World – The sequel reunites Chris Hemsworth with Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins. Dark Elves are also involved.

* The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen.


* The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – OK, so the first chapter was disappointing. Perhaps Peter Jackson will get it right this time?

* Anchorman: The Legend Continues – Fans are in for a letdown. The original wasn’t that great to begin with, and now they’re expecting the sequel to be a masterpiece. Oy vey.

* The Monuments Men – George Clooney directs this story about museum curators and art historians trying to rescue vital pieces of art before Hitler gets his hands on them. Starring Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon and Daniel Craig.

* Saving Mr. Banks – Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. Need I say more? OK, the movie also stars Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell and Paul Giamatti.

* Last Vegas – Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline and Morgan Freeman partying in Vegas.

* Jack Ryan – Kenneth Branagh directs this action triller, a reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise starring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Branagh and Keira Knightley.

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2 Days in Paris


2daysinparisMarion (Julie Delpy) brings her American boyfriend (Adam Goldberg) on a trip to Paris, the city where she grew up… and still has many romantic memories from. The remarkably creative Delpy’s first major release as a director, a film where she also contributed on many other levels, and cast her real-life parents as Marion’s mom and dad. They’re irresistible, and the two leads are equally engaging and grounded as the lovers who keep bumping into Marion’s old ghosts in Paris. The city comes across as a charming and irritating place, which is part of Delpy’s personal touch. This is a more jaded look at love and relationships than her previous Before Sunrise (1995).

2007-France. 96 min. Color. Produced by Julie Delpy, Christophe Mazodier, Thierry Potok. Written, directed and edited by Julie Delpy. Music: Julie Delpy, Gustaf Heden. Cast: Julie Delpy (Marion), Adam Goldberg (Jack), Daniel Brühl (Lukas), Marie Pillet, Albert Delpy.

Trivia: Followed by 2 Days in New York (2012).

Last word: “I think the city is a character, basically, in ‘2 Days in Paris’. Meaning that it’s a character that’s actually attacking them, constantly. It’s the city – Paris can be very aggravating and can be very hard. Sometimes when I haven’t been there for a while and I go back there, it can be really, really difficult to handle. It’s exhausting. Sometimes you go to Paris and it’s very easy and sometimes it’s a constant fight. You have to fight the city to survive. It’s a bit like New York, but I think Paris, even more. It has a harshness to it.” (Delpy, Moviefone)

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Good Bye, Lenin!



goodbyeleninSoon after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a devoted East German Socialist (Katrin Sass) awakes from a coma; in order to prevent a life-threatening shock, her son (Daniel Brühl) does everything to make her believe that the DDR is intact. There are still people in eastern Germany who long for the “good” old days before reunification, or simply get a kick out of DDR kitsch, and this film cleverly takes advantage of that. The script borrows a formula that can easily be labeled “high concept”, which inevitably leads to predictable moments. Still, it’s a film that starts out funny and fast and successfully segues into something more earnest.

2003-Germany-France. 119 min. Color. Produced by Stefan Arndt, Katja De Bock, Andreas Schreitmüller. Directed by Wolfgang Becker. Screenplay: Bernd Lichtenberg. Cast: Daniel Brühl (Alexander Kerner), Katrin Sass (Christiane Kerner), Chulpan Khamatova (Lara), Maria Simon, Florian Lukas, Alexander Beyer.

European Film Awards: Best Film, Actor (Brühl), Screenwriter.

Last word: “The scriptwriter [Bernd Lichtenberg] and I met young people who were about the age of our hero when the Wall came down, and asked them a few questions. We found out very fast that there is not a prototype biography in the GDR [German Democratic Republic]. Some people felt like they were in a big prison, other people were OK with the situation, some people suffered a lot under the political circumstances, other people didn’t care about politics. After that we felt pretty much free about making up our own characters.” (Becker, BBC Films)

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Ladies in Lavender


ladiesinlavenderA young man (Daniel Brühl) washes ashore in Cornwall after a storm and is nursed back to health by two sisters (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith); he turns out to be a musically gifted Pole. Actor Charles Dance’s first feature film as a director is a beautifully acted but slight drama that gives a detailed portrait of rural England in the 1930s, but also focuses on the relationship between two elderly sisters, one of whom is too naive and childish for her own good. The two stars are definitely worth a look, but Brühl is also effective as the mysterious but charming youngster.

2004-Britain. 103 min. Color. Written and directed by Charles Dance. Short Story: William J. Locke. Cast: Judi Dench (Ursula Widdington), Maggie Smith (Janet Widdington), Natascha McElhone (Olga Daniloff), Daniel Brühl (Andrea Marowski), Miriam Margolyes, Freddie Jones… David Warner.

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