Die Entdeckung der Currywurst (2008) Poster

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The invention of the film that never should have been made
Warning: Spoilers
"Die Entdeckung der Currywurst" is a German movie from 2008. This is the second and most recent effort as writer and director by filmmaker Ulla Wagner and honestly, the way things turned out here this may be a really good thing that she has not made a new film in almost a decade, at least not as the person in charge. Of course, a lot of the problems here also come from lead actress Baabara Sukowa, but we will get to that later. This 105-minute film is actually based on the work of Uwe Timm and if you take a look at other stuff he did, you will find a handful more somewhat known movies, like the ones about Rudi Rüssel, Bubi Scholz or Hotel Lux. Anyway, the title of this one we have here sounds actually pretty light and the poster you see here on IMDb could lead to the same conclusion. But there is nothing too light about this one. It is about World War II and actually the final years as Germany is obviously losing it in here. Now about lead actress Barbara Sukowa. I personally see nothing in her that could remotely be described as talent I must say. In my opinion, she plays the same role in absolutely every movie she is in and this is also the reason why most of these films really suck. She is constantly giving pseudo-important portrayals along the lines of the equally untalented Dr. Maria Furtwängler where she is in the center of all the action and makes sure every minute of the film that it is all about her. The perfect example would be the scenes she has near the end with Frederick Lau, an actually talented relatively young actor who is entirely wasted sitting on the same table with Sukowa, but never really saying a word. Now lets take a look at more cringeworthy stuff. First of all the story: We have a woman close to her 60s, but of course she is super-attractive for her age and in order for us to remember they include a man in his 20s who falls in love with her. Oh yeah, she is of course also the perfect woman. She provokes the Nazis, gets along well with the Americans near the end, hides a deserted soldier (the one she sleeps with). Who cares if she has a husband and even if he may be dead she really must have loved him if she has sex with some random German soldier so quickly. What a likable character! Oh yeah, of course her approach to life and the fact that she is a pretty skilled manual worked also make sure that she is in the center of attention every single scene. Don't you love it how she shoves herself in front of everybody else all the time. The napkin scene at the very end is where the film hits rock bottom (again) if that is even possible after over 90 minutes of this abomination. Before that the weakest moment was probably the "I am not a mare" scene. It sounds harmless, but you will know what I mean when you see it. There were more than just a few moments where I just couldn't eat as much as I wanted to vomit watching this movie. Oh yeah and the title makes almost no sense either as the scene with the actual invention of the curried sausage lasts for 3 minutes perhaps and was just rushed in for the sake of it I guess, so they could name it like that. Maybe this is also the case in the book, no idea as I have not read it. But it can impossibly be worse than this film we have here. One of the worst German films from the 21st century for sure, gives Hannah Arendt (yep Sukowa again) a real run for its money. Stay far far away.
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Profoundly delightful, Shawshank like, ticks every box
john-57529 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In the last days of World War II, Lena Brücker (Barbara Sukowa) lives alone in her Hamburg apartment and works for the state-run Food Distribution Agency. At 47, and without any longing for her husband stationed on the eastern front, Lena believes that life and love are passing her by. Her life takes a dramatic turn when she offers shelter to Hermann Bremer (Alexander Khuon), a young sailor on shore leave. Quickly, they become lovers. It is a dangerous game: Hermann is now a deserter and the noise from Lena's apartment is arousing suspicion. Far more threatened by peace than war, Lena attempts to hold on to Hermann by hiding the truth of Germany's imminent defeat.

The 2009 Audi German Film Festival has just finished in Australia being it's 8th season here. Invention of the Curried Sausage was one of 2 films I saw. Before the festival we get a little booklet with a synopsis of the movie (above in this case) and a few still shots. Perhaps it was Barbara's blonde hair and physical bearing that caught my eye initially. And then the synopsis. Hours can be spent working out which of the 30 movies to see! Sausage was my favourite this year by a country mile and probably one of the standouts of the festivals I've been going to for 5 or 6 years..

Fitting across a number of genres, 25% historical background, 20% food, 20% romance, 25% comedy, lead actress Barbara Sukowa in her middle 50s in real life but playing a late 40s woman here is a delight. Her work colleague the chef Holzinger played by Wolfgang Bock was a great comedy foil and I enjoyed the thread of repartee through the movie between them. He's probably very well known in Germany for his TV work.

I should declare that of all foreign films I like a good German movie over a French, Italian or Greek one. A very good Danish or Swedish one as well. My experience with the country film festivals here that Palace Cinemas Australia do each year (Germany in conjunction with the Goethe Institute) is that a selection panel choose the cream of the recent films and also often retrospective screening of older films. This year with the German festival it would have been very easy to see 6 or more very good films. Yet the French Festival this year with a larger number of films you'd be struggling to find 1 or 2.

Watching movies for a genre you are passionate and excited about I'll always wonder if one can get carried away or over estimate the rating. But I was pleased to see here that lead actress Barbara Sukowa won best actress at the 2008 Montreal Film Festival. Bravo Barbara and a special mention should be made of Ulla Wagner who wrote the screenplay an directed the film. She has bought her screenplay to life beautifully. Construction wise "Sausage" has a rhythm and a transition and time line very similar to the Shawshank Redemption when I think about it. Seamless, smooth, very polished. Neither puts a foot wrong as they move from start to finish. Whether or not Ulla (the writer of the screenplay rather than the original novelist) is any relation to Stephen King I cannot be sure but she's certainly very talented.

The stranger I sat next to at Sunday Apr 26 2009 Como Melbourne session turned to me after the film finished and said "wasn't that a great film. It makes you want to go back to Germany" Christopher who introduced himself was right. This film was almost the perfect recipe. And I for one would be keen to visit Hamburg as I also liked the look of the movies locations.

Watch out food based movies.. The Dinner Game, Chocolat, Mostly Martha (the original German version).. Germany has great new entrant! I'm sure those of us fortunate enough to see this movie will think fondly of it for some time after and of the characters and actors playing in this ensemble cast. And keep an eye out for them in the future films. There would have been far worse places to spend the dying days of WW2 in Germany than here. Highly recommended and a wonderful way to spend 106 minutes.
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