A Journalist of Jewish descent in Berlin feels that he is a loser of the political changes in Germany after 1989. When his mother dies, he has to meet his brother to whom he has not talked ...
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The movie deals with the championship-winning German soccer team of 1954. Its story is linked with two others: The family of a young boy is split due to the events in World War II, and the ... See full summary »
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A Journalist of Jewish descent in Berlin feels that he is a loser of the political changes in Germany after 1989. When his mother dies, he has to meet his brother to whom he has not talked for years and to meet all his other family members. But during the preparations for the funeral he plays a snooker-cup for paying his debts with the money for the victory, and many other things mixes up. Written by
There are two big divides in the family that this film centers on, and these are the premises of what could have been a very fun and touching movie at the same time, with a political and human message not to be missed. It's about Jewish family led two brothers, where one side are orthodox and observant Jews, while the other side are completely agnostic, actually involved in mixed marriage between a Jewish man and a non-Jewish woman which would make the children non-Jewish according to Jewish faith. The other divide is the Berlin wall and the division of Germany during the cold war which makes the observant family leave in the prosperous West, while the other half of the family leaves in the East. Not that the Eastern European brother lacks success and charisma, he is actually the more interesting character of the two, a former TV sports reporter dealing with a small prostitution business and a champ in billiards, but who finds himself in dire straits because of gambling and debts. Ten or fifteen years after the fall of the wall, when reunions are possible the mother of the two dies and in her the testament she asks for a traditional burial followed by the one week shiva mourning period, and a true reconciliation as a precondition for inheriting.
There are two ways to approach making such a movie. Rely on character comics, but here you need to be quite careful as a movie dealing with Jewish characters risks to be considered as too offensive if they pedal too much on this line. Although a lot of stereotypes are present I did not find them offensive at all (yes, I am Jewish), actually it's more the gay and sexual allusions that some may find more visible and doubt there good taste. The other approach would be to deal more with the political theme, but here the film is just a pale social commentary, and it never gets even close to the subtlety and human dimension of a film like 'Good-bye, Lenin'.
Unfortunately by choosing the middle of the road the director condemned the film to mediocrity, and instead of good laughs it's mostly polite smiles all along. It's not that good comedy scenes are completely missing, but I could not escape the feeling that the premises of the movie are better than the outcome, and that if the authors had chosen a more definite line, or just dared to be more crazy the result would have been better.
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