Wer früher stirbt, ist länger tot
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Grave Decisions (2006) More at IMDbPro »Wer früher stirbt, ist länger tot (original title)

1 item from 2007

Grave Decisions

18 January 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

BERLIN -- It will come as no surprise to anyone that the Germans have produced another film about death and dying.

But it is a surprise to discover that it is light-footed, entertaining, warmly human and utterly charming. For that is exactly what "Grave Decisions", a modest gem of a movie, is. The picture, which won a clutch of year-end honors in Germany, is stirring interest internationally.

Director Marcus Hausham Rosenmueller and co-writer Christian Lerch have created a funny and inventive tale of a young boy trying to figure out the world he was thrown into in an unusual and wholly charming way. Although the film will lose some of its charm when viewed with subtitles (the original is acted in a thick Bavarian accent that even made it hard for many northern Germans to follow), there is still plenty of human warmth here to give ticket buyers a bounce in their step as they leave theaters.

The story centers on 11-year-old Sebastian (played fluidly and convincingly by Markus Krojer), growing up in a picturesque Bavarian village with an older brother and a single father who runs the village tavern. The combination of Catholic liturgy, Bavarian folklore and the silly talk of the bar regulars makes for a strange childhood to begin with, but when Sebastian learns that his mother died while giving birth to him, he becomes fascinated with death, dying and immortality. (The German title translates as "The sooner you die, the longer you stay dead.")

Sebastian's experiments take him from one mishap to another. He takes the advice of the bar regulars all too literally, which gets him into trouble, and he gets into more trouble when he receives "signs" from his dead mother telling him to steal (and learn to play) a guitar, to set up his father with a married woman and more. And because he believes he has already killed his mother, it's a small step toward committing murder. He comes close to that again and again.

"Grave Decisions" never makes the mistake other filmmakers have by trying to make comedies about death by becoming morbid. Although this story of growing up is told through Sebastian's eyes, everything is intertwined with the denizens of his little Bavarian village, a variety of believable yet slightly eccentric personalities, like the rock 'n' roll DJ who gives spiritual advice over the air. Rosenmueller's terse, unpretentious direction saves the village from falling into picturesque "Heidi"/Alpine village cliches.


Roxy Film/BR Television


Director: Marcus Hausham Rosenmueller

Screenwriters: Marcus Hausham Rosenmueller, Christian Lerch

Producers: Annie Brunner, Andreas Richter, Ursula Woerner

Executive producers: Cornelia Ackers, Bettina Reitz

Director of photography: Stefan Biebl

Editors: Anja Pohl, Susanne Hartmann

Art director: Michael Koening

Costume designer: Steffi Bruhn

Music: Gerd Baumann


Sebastian: Markus Krojer

Lorenz: Fritz Karl

Veronika: Jule Ronstedt

Alfred Dorstreiter: Jurgen Tonkel

Frau Kramer: Saskia Vester

Franz: Franz Xaver Bruckner

Sepp Graudinger: Johann Schuler

Proske: Sepp Schauer

Gumberger: Heinz Josef Braun

Irmengard: Tim Seyfi

Running time -- 105 minutes

No MPAA rating


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1 item from 2007

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