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Kopfstand (1981)

 |  Drama  |  1981 (Austria)
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Christoph Waltz plays the role of Markus Dorn, a young man clearly unhappy in his home life. His mother has a boyfriend he does not like, and she has chosen her paramour over her son's ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Markus Dorn
Ingrid Burkhard ...
Hilde Dorn
Elisabeth Epp ...
Lydia Mohn
Pavel Landovský ...
Stunk (as Pavel Landovsky)
Rosmarie Müller-Melchers ...
Dr. Rene
Heinz Petters ...
Hubert Kohlmann
Krista Posch ...
Alfred Solm ...
Hermann Schmid ...
Otmar Schrott ...
Bert Breit ...
Dr. Melzer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joe Berger ...
Peter Hiebner ...
Stefan Timpo Hiros ...
Kurt Jaggberg ...


Christoph Waltz plays the role of Markus Dorn, a young man clearly unhappy in his home life. His mother has a boyfriend he does not like, and she has chosen her paramour over her son's happiness. Markus comes in late one evening, and in what is clearly one of many arguments, he antagonizes his mother who accuses him of being on drugs. She calls the police as the argument escalates, and they take him from his bed to the police station where his refusal to cooperate ends up with him being sent to an asylum for being mentally unbalanced. Markus has no mental disorder. Quite the contrary, he is acting out in an appropriate way for a boy of his age (17 or 18) who had been neglected and lacked a nurturing mother and father figure. In the asylum, however, his attitude and refusals to 'go along' with the corrupt head doctor's evaluations, lands him undergoing brutal electroshock therapy repeatedly as a punishment. The descent into hell is furthered along by the other inmates, who befriend ...

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Did You Know?


Scherzo b-Moll, Opus 31
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Piano played by Roswitha Egli
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User Reviews

Bleak insane asylum thriller
24 February 2015 | by (Berlin, Germany) – See all my reviews

"Kopfstand" is a 1981 black -and-white film starring the very young Christoph Waltz long before his two-time Academy Award winning breakthrough in Hollywood. The director is Ernst Josef Lauscher who I have never heard of, maybe because he has not worked on a movie for over 10 years now. Waltz was in his early 20s here. Story-wise, it is about a young man, seemingly normal, who does not get along with his mother anymore and is, thus, send to an asylum. He clearly cannot cope with the brutal staff and the truly insane inmates (who try to kill their caretakers) and so his condition gets a lot worse quickly. The asylum makes him mad. he was perfectly fine before he got there. One example would be when he finds an inmate hung himself and calls for help, two male nurses come and only react to his screaming by taking him away with violent force while not caring about the suicide at all.

He gets pills, electro shocks etc. and it gets even worse when he tries to flee. You could maybe see this as a German, less entertaining approach to "Cuckoo's Nest" with a more uplifting ending. All in all, I was fairly underwhelmed and if you play to dive into Waltz' body of work before he became really famous, there may be better choices out there. Not recommended.

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