With slicked-down hair and three-piece suits, dependable Herr Raab is a technical draftsman. He gets along with his colleagues although his boss wants him to go beyond technical cleanliness... See full summary »
With slicked-down hair and three-piece suits, dependable Herr Raab is a technical draftsman. He gets along with his colleagues although his boss wants him to go beyond technical cleanliness to problem solving. He's a dutiful husband; his wife's a social climber and pushes him to seek a promotion, but they also share sweet moments. He's a caring father, helping his son with homework. His parents visit; his mother criticizes his wife. Old School friends drop by, as do neighbors. Some comment on Raab's wife's expensive tastes. His promotion may be a long shot, especially after he gives a dull and tipsy toast at an office dinner. But why would Herr Raab run amok? Written by
In 2003 on a interview for Village Voice Hanna Schygulla claimed that this film was completely done by director Michael Fengler, whereas purported co-director Rainer Werner Fassbinder had nothing to do with the actual film. She also claimed that film was almost completely improvised which wasn't Fassbinder's way to make movies. Fassbinder still is credited as director and writer on the actual film and on many official sources, including Fassbinder Foundation's website. This fact has been confirmed by Michael Fengler himself in the 2008 documentation Gegenschuss - Aufbruch der Filmemacher (2008). He reported, that Fassbinder was involved neither in writing nor in directing of the movie and has visited the movie set at most twice during shooting. See more »
When Herr R. leaves the doctor the camera team can be seen in the mirror on the wall. See more »
Mr. R. (Kurt Raab) leads a convenient bourgeois life: he has a steady job with chances of promotion, a good-looking wife (Lilith Ungerer), a kid and many family friends. Still, a growing sense of disillusionment and alienation is gnawing Mr. R.'s mind... Is there anything he can do to cope with his mind-numbing life?
The film consists largely of lengthy conversations about the most mundane of things; work, vacations, the son's school, buying a romantic record in a music store... The whole picture is also presented exclusively with long takes and hand-held cameras. The improvised nature of the conversations further adds to the strictly realist documentary-like feel of the movie, as does the intentionally dull cinematography. With such undramatic direction, the only detail to suggest the advancement of Mr. R.'s emotional alienation is Kurt Raab's subtle performance: Mr. R. alternates between sullen observing and unrestrained blabbing, and when the camera occasionally focuses on his face instead of his chit-chatting friends, one can get a creepy feel of slowly escalating anxiety inside him. Lilith Ungerer as his wife also displays faint hints of similar emotions, but keeps them tightly hidden under her shell of excruciating normalcy.
When a film is titled like this one, some kind of dramatic ending or plot twist can be expected sooner or later. Here it only happens at the very end; until the last 10 minutes or so, the film is completely G-rated. The scene preceding the twist is the best one in the whole film and achieves a very distressing atmosphere, but still, the twist itself comes across as rather predictable and even lackluster. Perhaps it is just that modern audiences have become desensitized to such incidents, but more oomph would have been needed to justify the preceding 80 minutes of practically nothing, as Mr. R.'s boredom has also become ours by the end.
Even though there's not much to see besides the lead couple's performance, I have a taste for this type of uneventful, talky cinema. Ultimately Warum... was a curious novelty to me and kept me intrigued throughout, but I'm somewhat wary of recommending it to more casual film fans; something like Michael Haneke's 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance could be a more easily accessible take on the subject. Then again, if you know what to expect, Warum... may also be a rewarding experience in mundanity that many can surely identify with you have to make up your own mind based on your tastes.
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