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Abschied - Brechts letzter Sommer (2000)

It is one of the last days of an exceptionally hot summer in 1956. Bertolt Brecht (Bierbichler) is about to leave his lakeside house among the tall birches in Brandenburg to return to ... See full summary »


Jan Schütte


Klaus Pohl

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1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Josef Bierbichler ... Bertolt Brecht
Monica Bleibtreu Monica Bleibtreu ... Helene Weigel
Jeanette Hain ... Käthe Reichel
Elfriede Irrall Elfriede Irrall ... Elisabeth Hauptmann
Margit Rogall Margit Rogall ... Ruth Berlau
Samuel Finzi ... Wolfgang Harich
Rena Dumont Rena Dumont ... Isot Kilian (as Rena Zednikova)
Birgit Minichmayr ... Barbara Brecht
Tilman Günther Tilman Günther ... Offizier der Staatssicherheit
Paul Herwig ... Manfred Wekwerth
Claudius Freyer Claudius Freyer ... Peter Palitzsch
Emanuel Spitzy Emanuel Spitzy ... Jungpionier
Slawomir Holland ... Offizier der Staatssicherheit
Piotr Kryska Piotr Kryska ... Fahrer der Staatssicherheit
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ulrich Matthes ... Wolfgang Harig


It is one of the last days of an exceptionally hot summer in 1956. Bertolt Brecht (Bierbichler) is about to leave his lakeside house among the tall birches in Brandenburg to return to Berlin for the upcoming theater season. Most of the women in his life are there: his wife, Helene Weigel (Bleibtreu); his daughter, Barbara; his old lover Ruth Berlau; his latest flame, the actress Käthe Reichel; and sensuous Isot Kilian, whose affections and body he shares with the rebel political activist Wolfgang Harich. The friends and lovers swim, write, eat, drink, and philosophize about art, politics, and life as the Stasi lurks all the while on the sidelines, waiting. The serenity of the country on this summer day stands in marked contrast to the storm of jealousy and egomania, betrayal and dashed hopes at whose center Brecht is trapped, struggling to make plans for a future that fate will end only days later. A brilliant ensemble cast and music by John Cale complement this fascinating portrait ... Written by Harvard Film Archive

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Germany | Poland



Release Date:

14 September 2000 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Farewell See more »

Filming Locations:

Poland See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,741, 20 January 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$10,952, 17 March 2002
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Portrait of the artist as a flawed man
29 January 2002 | by nqureSee all my reviews

An intimate portrait of Brecht's final days, set around tranquil surroundings which stand in contrast with the passionate emotions of the assorted characters (jealousy, betrayal, petty spite).

It is an absorbing study, examining in subtle detail Brecht's relationships, the deep love (and hate) he seemed to inspire from the women in his life, as well as portraying the often casual cruelty with which he treated them, i.e. he suddenly talks to his loyal 'helper' Elisabeth Hauptmann about his work after having studiously ignored her for a week. I found it interesting how the various women in his life were often irresistibly drawn to each other (unspoken) despite their open hostilities, i.e the alcoholic Ruth and the self-effacing Elisabeth.

The writer and director cleverly toyed with the relationship between the ageing Brecht, a man who fled the US before he could be indicted by MacCarthy , and Wolfgang Harich, the young dissident for whom the Stasi lie in wait in the woods.

The film is the story of a great writer and flawed individual. It is about the smallness of greatness. Brecht, who wrote about the difficulty of being a good man in a bad world, is non-committal, the showcase man of letters in Communist GDR, as opposed to Harich's political idealist. As Brecht warns Harich at the end (with almost prophetic hindsight), the younger man's arrest would symbolise 'his bad conscience'. Sadly, it is a prophecy that does not take long to be fulfilled

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