|Index||5 reviews in total|
I rented the video from the local Goethe Institute hoping to find a less painful way to learn some German. I feel as if I've uncovered a treasure. The film is uncannily realistic for anyone who has done a really long journey by train. A few scenes were so convincing I found myself having flashbacks. Funny, unpretentious, and humane - a "romantic comedy" that won't make you want to hurl.
The film is one of the few precious ones, which takes itself time to tell a story about love and the difference between the "fastest" and the "best" connection to reach a destination. "Zugvögel" made me think of how to live a life: in a fast or in the best way. Well, with the love beside you, it's worth to make a detour.
If you have ever travelled by InterRail or used long distance trains to remote regions in Europe, you will know how realistic this movie is. And these people who know complete timetables, they exist. This movie beautifully introduces an existing romantic and peaceful world widely unknown to automobile enthusiasts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Forget everything in connection with the plot or the story of this film. It
is bizarre in a forced way and presented most unconvincingly. Obviously, the
plot was only a basis for director and co-writer Peter Lichtefeld that gave
him the opportunity to convey a certain feeling of melancholy. And this he
Personally, I share his fascination for everything that has to do with trains. So I was quite an appreciative audience for his movie. But I think, Lichtefeld also generally transmits that wonderful roadmovie atmosphere of long and arduous journeys, especially in trains, and by including myths of the Inari lake (the place where the main character heads to) on the one hand and a completely unmotivated crime mystery on the other hand, he even manages to create suspense and fidgety excitement. You get a notion that something great is behind all this, although, to be honest, there isn't. Zugvögel is a film for romantic dreamers (and for train fans like me). It is not a thoughtful reflexion of the arduous ways of our lives, or so.
The actors are well chosen: Joachim Król is Germany's melancholy man number one. Outi Mäenpää is exotic enough to tear him out of his apathy (although we never know what exactly it is that attracts them to each other). Peter Lohmeyer plays the thoughtful detective that uses the psychological approach to find the wrong criminal. And *** SPOILER! SPOILER! SPOILER! *** Nina Petri is a secretary so erotically rakish from the start that, of course, she turns out to be the real killer in the end *** END OF SPOILER ***.
I had hoped to see a little more of the picturesque Finnish landscape. Instead, I got pictures of trains and people in trains, and I chose to like it. Either you buy Zugvögel on videotape or you let it fall into oblivion.
I definitely enjoyed viewing this film at one of its first showings at Filmfest Hamburg back in 1998. I especially admire the almost documentary-like realism with which the long train trip from Germany to Kemijärvi, Finland is depicted (seems that the ferry company Silja line sponsored the film - after all, its ship gets a lot of footage). As to the story, it seemed rather weird to me despite the fact that my own attitude towards trains and timetables is not so far removed from that of the film's protagonist. And isn't it awkward that this "International contest of train timetable experts" takes place, of all, in Inari, which was never reached by any railway, forcing the participants to take a bus for the last stage of their journey?
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