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Schultze Gets the Blues
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Schultze Gets the Blues More at IMDbPro »

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67 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

Slow, not boring

9/10
Author: Rena from here
10 May 2004

This movie takes its time to develop. In more than one respect it reminded me of a Kaurismäki film. The landscape is depressing, the colors are not very bright, the shots are long and there is not much dialogue. And people seem only to come alive (whether it's in Germany or the US) when they're making music. There are moments of comedy but not many. Instead, you get to watch "everyday life" for a long time before something happens. And when it happens, it's not a dramatic turn or twist . . . It does not incite the characters to change completely . . . There is just a small change.

When you put all of this together, you get a very touching tale of humanity. A tale of friendship and loneliness. I think the characters are portrayed in a very life-like fashion (for example, when the loner Schultze travels to the US he is no more capable of socially connecting with people than he was in his hometown). You have to be patient with the story because there is no classic structure (exposition, story development, climax) . . . but I got really attached to the characters. There is a lot of loneliness in this film. But this is what makes it so attractive.

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61 out of 67 people found the following review useful:

Many subtle layers

10/10
Author: Tom Hutton from Washington, DC
17 April 2005

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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57 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

The Perfect Film

10/10
Author: sael-2 from United States
26 March 2005

I saw this movie last night, and I was blown away. It is a very simple film, with stunning visuals, and ironic, understated, and appropriate dialog. Schultze, the main character, is a quiet, lonely, aging German man. Horst Krause played the part amazingly honestly. I never once felt like any of the characters were acting, especially Schultze. The writer and director, Michael Schorr, enables the viewer to feel Schultze's emotions and to care for him without ever really trying. It was almost as if I was seeing the world through Schultze's eyes, and feeling emotions through him, rather than being told what he was feeling, or being shown what he was seeing. This film is also a great comparison of American and German culture. It was interesting as an American to see my home portrayed from a German point of view, and I believe this film gives a uniquely appropriate portrayal of German life as well. This film is one of the best I have ever seen. It made me feel a range of emotions, it dazzled my ears with Zydeco music, and most of all, it made me truly care. I left the theater with an amazing feeling, like I had just had a experienced something truly special. I cannot believe this is Michael Schorr's first feature film. It was truly perfect.

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50 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

Your patience will be rewarded

9/10
Author: willyboy1973 from Berlin, Germany
11 May 2004

Calling this movie boring misses the point. Many people aren't used to really *watch* films, i.e. read the pictures. This films' pictures speak such a humourous and humanist language that dialogue is simply not needed. They tell you how important it is to live your dream - even if it's only the small dream of an elderly, not very handsome or clever man. Schultze is just not the type who speaks a lot - his story is worthy to be told nevertheless.

I laughed a lot seeing this, it also touched me. Great camera work, the film really trusts the power of pictures. To me it's the best German movie of 2004 so far (and I've seen "Gegen die Wand", which I liked very much).

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32 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

About Schmidt in German -

Author: (jan.meyer@web.de) from Bamberg, Germany
5 May 2004

First things first: You will need a lot of patience while watching "Schultze gets the blues". There are no dramatic scenes, no sensational turns or something that blows you out of your seat. Instead, the film develops slowly, working merely with pictures than with dialogues. And this is what it's all about: the boredom of retirement, the concealed longing for something new and the desperate hope of getting the "blues". Schultze, the main actor,tries to seek it by playing a tune he heard on the radio on his accordion, which leads him from Sachsen-Anhalt (in the former East Germany, DDR) to a music festival in Texas. This film is definitely worth watching, although it won't satisfy your desire for action or a surprising plot.

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26 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A Gem

10/10
Author: Timmie42 from United States
12 September 2005

A beautiful spark of a movie that had me quietly laughing throughout. Definitely worth the watch if you're in the mood for a slow, sublime, and funny film that rewards you tenfold.

Schultze is a quiet man, recently retired, who suddenly discovers the beauty of zydeco music. It has the feeling invoked by films such as "Paris, Texas", "Broken Flowers", with it's characters that pass in and out of the protagonist's life, living in their own world, yet wanting to be part of something bigger. Schultze takes that leap of faith in the simple way of pursuing the music that has finally touched his soul.

Some people might find it much too slow. The camera lingers on many long shots of subtle hilarity, emphasizing the humor in the sometimes mundane existence people experience.

One of the better films I've seen in a while.

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24 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

A brand new life after retirement

9/10
Author: David Carbajales (carbajander@hotmail.com) from Gijón, Asturies, Spain
2 December 2003

Schultze, a middle-age early retired German miner always had played polkas with his accordion. Even his father played polkas before him. Now he's retired and there's not much to do in his new boring life. Just eating alone, drinking beer with his friends and playing the accordion. But one night he listens to an exciting music on the radio: a cajun melody and he can not help to play it since that moment. He has found a new meaning to his new life. Comedy, drama, tenderness and a little music on this touching German movie. When I was watching it I couldn't get rid of the thought I was watching the real image of Peter Griffin, the main character of the cartoon series "A Family Guy". "Schultze Gets the Blues" has been awarded as the best movie in the 41th Gijón International Film Festival and its director, Michael Schorr was the best director as well. And I must say both of them were deserved.

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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Wunderbar!

9/10
Author: artzau from Sacramento, CA
5 September 2005

Sehr gut! This wonderful slice of life and comment on Thoreau's observation of people "living lives of quiet desperation," is so well done, it leaves me reflecting on it long after having seen it. Schultzie, a retired miner, who plays the accordion and hangs out with his at-loose-ends friends, hears some zydeco one night on the radio and starts to play it. He doesn't even know the name of the tune and certainly has no cultural connections with the music but he plays after hearing it once and extends his experience playing polkas to incorporate this new rhythm and beat into his playing. He does it with such a nonchalance and earnest commitment that he even takes him by surprise. The scene where he plays his new found music with his fellow burghers is amazing. His friends rally to his support while the more traditionalists object to this "nigger music." The whole film is a series of embroidered vignettes of still shots which are pasted on the wall with the characters moving slowly across them. The pace is slow and there are lots of gaps but that only adds to the charm of this delightful little film. It is full of sentiment without becoming sentimental, poignant but never maudlin and lingers long in the memory.

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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Great filming, deep message,

8/10
Author: Terry Mansberger from United States
29 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thought the film is a little slow at times I was struck by the small details of the film. Shultze's friends reminded me of my hometown and the folks who live and die there ..York, Pennsylvania. Many of those folks have German background as do I so maybe it's a German thing. The whole oppressive overlay of dead-end jobs in a dead town with the daily drinking to blur the boredom was much like life back home. As was the firm rejection of everyone of anything new or different, the clinging to traditional music at the festival, Shultze always living in the shadow of his father. You sensed that he suddenly woke up at the end of his life to realize he had wasted it. Yet Shultze was always a little different so I was not too surprised when he tried to get to America..his little garden of flowers and washing the gnomes next to his little old shack of a house. His attraction to the lady in the nursing home, his drive to raise money to go to Texas, only to run away when he found the same life replicated there. His trip through the bayou was like his own journey to heaven..reminded me of Being There as everything fell his way. Great filming done in this flick, the quiet scenes, the views of the country, the coal mountain against the lake, the boat trip, food for the senses as I took in the message..it's never too late to find happiness in life and how one person can touch so many. And of course the genuine kindness of strangers..which was a bit over the top as he wandered the deep south. I wonder if that would really happen in today's Texas....oh, and I loved the music!!

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful photographs in motion, warm & quirky story

8/10
Author: mintonmedia from Beverly Hills, California
2 April 2005

If you liked STRANGER THAN PARADISE (1984) or BAGDAD CAFE (1988) or enjoy the stunning color photos of Joel Meyerowitz, you have the qualifications necessary to enjoy SCHULTZE GETS THE BLUES. True, it's somewhat slow, but its slowness allows the willing viewer to appreciate the subtly perfect ways the characters move within the mostly static compositions Michael Schorr serves up. True, it's quirky and has a sudden and unsettling if ultimately lyrical ending, but like the two films mentioned above, it gives us a splendid "outsider" view of America that makes us appreciate unique qualities we might otherwise overlook. Its humor is filled with love for the differences which make us human. Come to think of it, anybody who's watched NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (2004) more than once might well enjoy SCHULTZE's journey, too. Join him for the trip.

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