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Schultze is a retired lignite miner living in an East German village and a passionate Polka musician on his accordion. One night he listens to a Zydeco tune in the radio, which changes his taste of music radically. Notwithstanding his complete ignorance of the English language he starts a trip into the heart of the Zydeco; to Louisana. Written by
Moritz Muehlenhoff <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I loved this movie. First of all there's the surface. Schultze is just so goddammed lovable. He pulls you in. Then there are the layers. And there are so many.
The juxtapositions. Schultze riding his bicycle on one side of the screen and the dirt bikers buzzing over the top of slag heaps on the other. His small garden house, a little Eden, overshadowed, of course, by a very large and nearly ancient slag heap.
Then the odd wanderlust. The woman at his mother's nursing home who insists she's French despite the fact that she's in a nursing home in East Germany. Followed by his sojourn to Louisiana, which insists on being French despite the fact that it's in America. Did he go there looking for her?
Then the premonitions. Early on a brief sound bite on the radio about lung cancer. Then near the end, he's offered a meal of crabs in the bayou. "Ja, Krebs," he says. Krebs means cancer in German. And he was a miner, so worked every day breathing radon. Did he have cancer?
And of course the music. An accordionist who plays the local polka, he picks up zydeco by ear and loves it. But his fellow Germans don't like it, and they're even less interested in the US. In fact he stops playing after he gets to America. They want polka even more than the Germans do, albeit a strange American kind that includes yodeling.
Then the unspoken. So much of this story is told by pictures, not dialog. It's a subtlety that Hollywood has completely lost touch with. It's so refreshing to see it again.
This movie is a delight. I defy anyone to dislike it. There's something of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge in it, but it's not quite that facile.
It's a quiet tour de force. I want more.
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