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Dying traditions of old German village get unexpected injection of new life
18 November 2018
Uwe is one of the last surviving villagers who are clinging to their old traditions, namely their "language". Not many "Ostfriesen" are still in command of the dialect spoken only in this remote Northern German region. When a government program to integrate foreign workers with special skills selects the village as host for their language training, most of the locals are skeptical. They speak of "refugees" who will taint the old traditions with their foreign cultures, a veiled suggestion of xenophobia and racism.

Old grumpy Uwe ends up teaching the "class" of foreigners, and quickly turns his own objections to the idea around and grows fond of his students. When exam time comes, all have failed completely to learn proper German (the high German used in print and on the TV news), but when Uwe points out that they have all mastered the Friesian dialect, which is, after all the "official language" of the region, all ends well, and the program is hailed a success and can continue.

There are quite a few funny scenes with linguistic misunderstandings, but also some tender moments that may bring a small tear to the viewers eyes. Don't expect an epic drama, because this is a German formula comedy. The subject of integration is handled in a way to show how Germany will need more skilled workers than the "local population" will be able to provide for a growing economy in a global society. A better future together, because everyone has talents to contribute.

Dieter Hallervorden (Uwe) has been the big come-back surprise with his recent critically acclaimed hit "Honig im Kopf". For decades the actor has been known as Germany's "clown" on TV and in films, and now in his golden years has become popular again with much more serious material. "Ostrfiesisch für Anfänger" is more light-hearted and on a small budget, but nonetheless offers a timely message as an effort to foster inclusiveness and to encourage looking beyond the familiar or "traditional" way of life in Germany. No big awards for this one, just a good load of entertainment.
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O'Horten (2007)
9/10
Last chapter of a lonely life devoted to trains, seeking purpose and a glimpse of true happiness
22 September 2018
Odd Horton has reached the end of the line. His entire life was devoted to safely guiding his trains and their passengers to their destinations. One last celebration with his peers who honor him at his retirement, then what? A man of few words, but with much warmth and compassion, Horten has spent a lifetime without quite knowing what it was all for. Now that he will no longer be needed at work, what does he have to live for? Aside from a senile mother in a retirement home, there is no family. In a span of just 2 days, Horten encounters similarly lost souls, desperate to strike up friendships, the experience of which may at first leave Horten shaken and upset, but eventually lead to a most satisfying conclusion. An enchanting little film set in cold and snowy Oslo that will warm your heart and renew your spirit!
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8/10
No more credit where credit is due!
8 September 2018
The early years of Germany's "Economic Miracle" saw many people living beyond their modest means by making extravagant purchases without cash payments. When bills accumulate, and a collector comes calling, the most common answer would be "come back on the first of the month". Almost always that's just an empty promise, but the best way to get rid of the person calling for back payments.

With the above main story line, the film is a multi-layered love story with the predictable happy ending. At least 2 very popular songs of the time are prominently featured, the most memorable being the up-tempo love ballad "Du hast mir gerade noch zu meinem Glueck gefehlt". Two small but endearing roles were played by Inge Meysel and Josef Offenbach, who many years later would team up as Herr and Frau Scholz in the legendary TV series "Die Unverbesserlichen".

Fans of this type of vintage German Cinema will be entertained by this enchanting musical comedy. A genuine feel-good movie!
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6/10
Heinz Erhardt being Heinz Erhardt
30 September 2012
For fans of the comedic national treasure, Heinz Erhardt, this will be a treat. Anyone unfamiliar with Erhardt and his humor may find this film rather idiotic.

The Hirsekorns are a dysfunctional middle class family. Constantly competing with their neighbors in everything they do. A scene with the wives at the grocer's sets the stage for their feud. One housewife wants a long list of exotic food, then the other demands twice the amount of those same items, only with domestic brand names! "Anything you can do, I can do better!" Although middle aged, they act like spoiled children.

The main characters (along with this tone setting scene) are all introduced within 10 minutes. Aside from the constant talking, shouting and aimless running around (90% of which are done by Willi Hirsekorn and his daffy wife) there are many little jokes, put downs and thinly veiled insults a la Heinz Erhardt, which are probably worth the price of the DVD. The story and the overall production, however, is very dated and not quite up to the quality of other films of the classic German fluff/comedy genre.

The Hirsekorns' two elementary school age children are extremely poorly behaved. The family could certainly benefit from a visit by "Super Nanny". If you like Heinz Erhardt, you will enjoy his "schtick" and gloss over the obvious shortcomings of this film. I love Heinz Erhardt, and I watched the entire film for all of the gags.
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La lectrice (1988)
6/10
World Literature coming to life in this "very French" Comedy
10 July 2011
Our heroine Constance (played by Miou-Miou in yet another role where she seems to play the same character as always...herself) turns her passion for literature into an exciting and profitable "profession". Her little newspaper advertisement eventually brings her a variety of eccentric clients who take advantage of this young woman's services (literally). Hired to read to the disabled, the elderly and the bored, Constance creates, fulfills and participates in her employers' fantasies and peculiar dreams. Warned by the clerk who helped her with the initial advertisement not to be surprised if her ventures yield complications and trouble, Constance seems to not only meet the challenge, but to enjoy the sense of danger and surprise.

The degree of tolerance and acceptance of human sexuality displayed in this film may appear over-the-top to viewers unfamiliar with French culture, and French society's extremely liberal social mores. This film was produced in the 1980s, not the 60s (you'd never know it). The "anything goes" mentality is likely to perplex the average viewer, and it may even offend some. The twisted freshness and daring situations eventually seem gratuitous. We "get it" pretty early on, yet the soft-core peep show continues throughout the film. The intertwining of actual literary passages and storyline are fascinating. Unfortunately my fascination with this film ends there.
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Titanic (1943)
9/10
First Rate Handling of the Legendary Tragedy
26 August 2009
This obscure film version of the Titanic Tragedy easily ranks with the big budget Hollywood productions. Filmed during the dark days of WWII, this German effort lacks none of the luster or acting quality of important cinema produced under less stressful conditions.

The film shows some obvious political propaganda, aimed at pointing out the "greed and ruthlessness" of British stock market speculators. This story angle is an interesting one, as the focus is not only on the human drama and several sensitively portrayed love stories, but also on placing blame for the loss of 1,500 human lives on a few greedy men.

I can highly recommend this version of the tragic, yet fascinating story. Far above most films produced with equal or better resources. The 1943 German film "Titanic" will continue to dazzle generations of movie lovers to come!
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Parks and Recreation (2009–2015)
5/10
Amy Pohler only light in dim sit-com
17 April 2009
Amy Pohler's character, a 34 year old city hall "up and comer" has just been appointed to the assignment of her career: Head of a committee to turn a hazardous abandoned construction site into a beautiful recreational park. Public support appears to be minimal, yet our heroine presses on.

A side plot reveals the star's unrealistic ambitions to take public service all the way to the Oval Office, as well as an inferiority complex toward her mother, who (in contrast to young Amy) is a high ranking city official.

I'm a big fan of the star, and I'm glad she didn't retire after having her baby and leaving SNL. The new show "Parks and Recreation", styled after the extremely popular "Office", offers a few laughs here and there, but leaves very little for anyone to anticipate and look forward to subsequent episodes.

This is a spotlight for a very talented comedienne, but I see no chance for anything remotely comparable to "30 Rock" coming from this humble sit-com. Unless someone knows something I don't know, the buzz should fizzle long before a full season goes on the air.
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Meier (1986)
10/10
Home is where your love is
9 January 2009
I've seen this film when it was first released, and I found it to be not only very unique in the ambitious story told, but very uplifting for people on both sides of "The Wall". The hero gets a taste of the "Golden West", but soon finds that all of the material advantages, even the freedom to travel, don't measure up to the warmth of family, friends and the love of your life.

To make for a more interesting story, there are a series of outrageous circumstances and fantastic situations, all adding to the adventure, but nonetheless ending in the confession that happiness is within the heart of the one experiencing it. "Meier" decides that he belongs with his girl-friend and the many people who have always filled his life with joy. Rather than have a wall separate him from all of this familiar warmth, he would sooner go on living amidst all of that, than in "the west".

As a former citizen of West Berlin with many close friends on the communist side, this film was particularly moving for me. No one could have sensed, that only about four years after this film's release, the wall would be torn down, and the two Germany's reunited. The tragedy of the wall will remain an open wound for many who had suffered because it ever existed. Almost like the concentration camps in the Third Reich, The Berlin Wall left scars on the minds of millions. "Meier" directed some light hearted criticism at the East German Regime, but always maintained that, despite Geograohic boundaries, there truly always was only one Germany.

I can highly recommend this film, not only as a very entertaining comedy, but as a culturally relevant piece of German History.
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8/10
An 85 Minute Campy Dietrich/Boyer Technicolor Dream
13 June 2007
The pioneering Technicolor Cinematography (Winner of Special Technical Achievement Oscar) is indeed enchanting. Add an endless variety of glamorous costumes and a romantic cinema dream team like Marlene Dietrich and Charles Boyer, and you've got a rather pleasant "picture".

Unfortunately the contrived plot as well as the over-blown acting leave much to be desired. Still, there have not been any more breathtaking Technicolor films before this one (1936), and very few since then, that can top this breathtaking visual experience of stunning colors. Cinema fans who have enjoyed the glorious color cinematography in "Robin Hood" (1938), "Jesse James" (1939) and "Gone With The Wind" (1939), will not be disappointed in the fantastic work done here. "The Garden Of Allah" will always be synonymous with brilliant color cinematography.
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10/10
Elizabeth Taylor - National Treasure
28 February 2007
Two of Hollywood's great child stars (Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney) are perfectly teamed to deliver one of the all-time family classics. The story of a determined 12 year old girl, whose adoration for horses won't allow her to turn away from her goal to win the British Nationals. Mickey Rooney is the newly orphaned drifter, looking to tie himself over until he can follow his own dreams.

A beautiful side plot reveals that the girl's mother had ambitions of her own as a young girl. Repeatedly overruling the father's decisions in favor of their spirited daughter, it is mother who seems to know best. The scene where the exhausted Taylor rushes to go to school is priceless: father protests "why did you let her go to school, she'll drop from exhaustion before noon!" - Not to worry, she'd be back within a half hour; it was Saturday! The brilliant Technicolor, the sumptuous music score, and those beautiful faces, all telling a bittersweet story. Here's a good reason for the old saying: They don't make'm like that anymore!
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The Incident (1967)
9/10
Pre-Guardian Angels Subway Terror -- An Independent Film Classic!
21 November 2006
Despite budget limitations, the final product in this Independent Film Classic is outstanding. With a few familiar faces (although everyone looks so incredibly young here), and a relatively confining story line, the viewer becomes acquainted with several very unique characters. Two street thugs on a crime spree decide to continue their night of "fun and games" by accosting the passengers in a subway compartment. Regardless of appearance, ethnicity, age or gender, everyone appears to be free game for the hooligans.

Although it may be painful to watch how innocent people are subjected to threats as well as emotional and physical abuse, this film offers much more than simply insight into an all-too-familiar nightmare. Through this "incident", people with their own problems are suddenly compelled to share with the world what they had kept hidden for so long. The outburst by the middle-aged woman, fed up with her small-time life as a school-teacher's wife, shows how emotional exhaustion can lead to an eventual explosion. As able bodied men look on in fear of the violent punks, a less likely hero emerges in defiance.

This is a quiet gem of a film, much overlooked at the time of release in 1967. Fans will enjoy a look at the very youthful Martin Sheen, Donna Mills and Beau Bridges. Even Ed McMohann looks like a "kid". I highly recommend this film to enthusiasts of Independent Films. "The Incident" is easily among the very best of them!
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9/10
Strangers' lives intertwine in emotionally moving story
18 November 2006
Without counting the actual number, I am sure there were at least 13 conversations in this intriguing collection of character studies. It doesn't become clear until very late in the film that about 2 years are elapsing in the story line. The "one thing" (believe it or not) isn't sex, but happiness.

The questions "why are we here" and "is this all there is" come up frequently. What makes life worth living? Is happiness a gift, or can it be acquired? Several characters experience ups and downs, while some seem chronically malcontent or skeptical. The ones who boast about having achieved greatness in their work soon become to doubt their accomplishments, while others are desperate to find a way to regain the joys they once knew. Coming to terms with mistakes made, as well as showing remorse for wrongs committed against others, each in their own way must conquer this one "thing".

Along with effective acting from the entire cast, there are many other reasons why a film buff would enjoy this movie. Several brilliant camera shots, done in a mysterious stand-out color-scheme, are perfectly intermingled with the story to show reflection, a sense of deep thought. Outstanding editing, connecting separate scenes into a common idea, is clearly superior to most films.

The sum of these characters spell out pessimism and gloom. Look for the middle-aged man with that undying optimism who has many scenes. When all others insist life is one big disappointment, this little guy will assure you that it really is just a bowl of cherries. We need more smiling optimists, and more films with that important message.
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Abramakabra (1972–1977)
10/10
Hilarious "Macabre" Sketch-Humor
16 November 2006
One of Germany's best comedy-ensembles (Dieter "Didi" Hallervorden, Helga Feddersen, Uwe Dallmeyer and Regina Lemnitz) serve up 25 minute sets of bite-size sketch-humor, usually with a surprise ending. The average sketch is about 4 or 5 minutes in length, complete with set-up, story and punch line.

An example of the "macabre" humor: A middle aged woman of comfortable social standing is speaking with police, after her home appears to have been violently burglarized, with no signs of her husband. The interview goes on for awhile, until the woman breaks down. The reason for her being so upset: She just learned that her husband is unharmed, working at his office, unaware of any trouble at home. Just when she had come to accept all that had happened, her husband lives!

The "Abramakabra" series consisted of 12 episodes, spaced about 4-6 weeks apart. Some of the jokes were definitely for mature audiences, although the series had a considerable following among pre-teens. German audiences (similar to viewers in England), have always been partial to a more sophisticated, risqué kind of humor. "Abramakabra" is a gem among the jewels of early 1970s German television. Disappointment with this program is very unlikely!
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8/10
Charming "Rat-Pack" Comedy
6 November 2006
Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine are teamed in a charming romantic comedy reminiscent of the Day/Huson outings. Martin is the playboy heir to a family fortune, who owes his life to MacLaine, who saves him from drowning in a swimming pool. A series of coincidences make everyone believe the young beauty was "involved" with Martin's rich uncle, who mysteriously passed on in his hotel room. Who can blame anyone's wicked thoughts, when MacLaine apparently escaped the old millionaire's room wearing nothing but a bath towel.

This is pure Hollywood fun, complete with that special dose of naughtiness, briefly popular during the early 60s, until that sort of comedy was again frowned upon as tasteless. Enjoy the two Rat-Packers (Martin and MacLaine) in a bit of lavish escapism from Paramount Studio's Golden Age!
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3/10
Those who aren't "gettin' any" can't stop talking about it
4 November 2006
The mod 60's are shown as the ultimate challenge to have as many sexual encounters as humanly possible. Anyone who doesn't have "it" (the knack for seduction) is a loser. That's the overall message here.

A handful of homosexual actors pretending to be sex starved ladies men desperate to "score", along with countless elderly finger shakers who insist the youth in their day had better moral sense, are leading through mini-scenes, enveloped in a surprisingly palatable 60s British Jazz score.

I found very few laughs in this nonsense. The use of a photo booth to take kinky nude shots, an inuendo spewing male sales clerk in a ladies' dress shop, and many other "cute items" are lost on a serious cinema fan. The big stir this film caused Internationally, garnering various prestigious awards, is a mystery to me.

I found this film to be absolutely boring and a waste of time. Two points for the fetching Jazz score. One point is shared by Acting and plot (both forgettable). Save yourself the time and money, and watch an old episode of "The Avengers" instead!
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The Hours (2002)
7/10
Struggling with depression and repressed sexuality
25 October 2006
Through the eyes of three women, each living in a different era of the 20th century, the audience gains insight into the torments of depression and repressed sexual feelings.

Nicole Kidman, unrecognizable as the novelist Viginia Woolf, won an Academy Award for her powerful performance. Virginia Woolf's literary genius was always paralleled by her bouts with depression and her repressed homosexuality, creating an awkward relationship with her long suffering husband.

Living a similar life of emotional and sexual imprisonment is the 1950s suburban mother and housewife (very convincingly played by the Oscar Nominated Julianne Moore), with yet another character struggling with very similar issues in contemporary New York (played by Meryl Streep).

The three "lives and times" are intertwined into one story, each offering hope for a better life for those who would come after. Difficult to watch, and even more difficult to keep up with, "The Hours" is a tribute to all who have struggled and conquered their feelings of depression and the pressures applied by a society not quite ready to accept anyone with sexual feelings for members of the same gender. Perhaps in another 20 years, a fourth character could emerge, showing the world that depression can be managed, and being gay never was a problem to begin with.
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8/10
Foreign cultures may be less judgmental than expected
22 October 2006
A successful young professional Asian man in a long term relationship with his American male partner is worried about the imminent visit of his parents, who he fears will not accept his homosexuality. To hide the truth, the illegal Chinese housekeeper is presented as the fiancé. Believing the charade would only be played for the duration of the parents' visit, all agreed on the plan. Little did anyone know that the old Chinese Tradition required a boastful wedding banquet, all paid and insisted upon by an old family friend. Unexpected complications seem to end in disaster, yet there is nothing that can ever stop true love. A bitter-sweet ending is testimony to our changing world and the growing acceptance of all people, regardless of ethnicity or sexual orientation.

This film not only deals with its gay theme in a matter-of-fact way, but there also never is any mention of the fact that the main characters are interracial. This should never matter, however it seems that our society adds another stigma when someone enters an interracial relationship. Unusual and even shocking to contemporary society, The Wedding Banquet will appear free of any issues in another 10 or 20 years. For a European audience the "big whoop" may already be illusive.

Believing that exotic cultures are least likely to part with traditional social norms can be quite wrong. Family bonds and strong character are valued above all, with sexual orientation not even being considered at all. The elderly are given too little credit for their capacity to understand life and social issues. This film gives strength to the argument that all people are quite willing and able to live peacefully without passing judgment on others.
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8/10
When children outgrow talking to the man in the moon
17 October 2006
When the carefree life of a 14 year old girl is stirred by the feelings of first love, she has reached an age where "the man in the moon" may no longer be able to give her all of the answers to her increasing questions. Her attempts to befriend a 17 year old boy lead to obvious complications, as both know that it would be impossible for them to be dating. When the boy and the girl's older sister meet, it is love at first sight for both. With guilty feelings of betraying the little sister, the lovers meet secretly.

The tragic ending is predictable, but necessary to bring across the message of family ties. Children may outgrow taking their problems to the man in the moon, but they can always talk to their sisters, brothers, etc. Close family bonds never break, no matter how difficult life may get.
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9/10
Suddenly widowed, resourceful super-mom presses on
13 October 2006
This is one of Grethe Weiser's most endearing roles, as a middle-aged widow confronted with the task of providing for her large family. Refusing to give up, the matriarch finds many ways to assure a family income and to avoid giving up care for her children.

There are many very touching scenes, most noteworthy a moment where one of the children offers his "piggy bank" savings to help pay bills and buy groceries. Explaining that his father had promised to match the boy's savings so he could "go to camp" is sure to bring tears to your eyes.

Throughout this wonderful film, the mother fights with and for her children, supporting them not only materially, but emotionally, with an unconditional love and affection seldom seen. During a time where women were still expected to tend exclusively to kitchen, church and bearing children, a widow struggling with a large number of dependent children, virtually unaided by public support was unthinkable. This film is sure to empower women and gain respect for the efforts of mothers who selflessly put their children first.
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5/10
Overbearing Mother-In-Law Ruins Daughter's Honeymoon
13 October 2006
Grethe Weiser steals the show (as always), as the ever-meddling mother-in-law determined to drive a wedge between her daughter and the man she is about to marry. Weiser's non-stop talking and manipulating of everyone around her seems to be the focus of this, and any film she appears in. Fans expect nothing less, however a more engaging and witty story might have helped.

After the wedding ceremony eventually commences (despite "Mother's" efforts to assure failure), the bothersome old lady manages to end up on the train that takes the honeymooners to their vacation destination. Whether on the train or at the honeymoon hotel, Grethe Weiser makes sure there is never a dull (or restful) moment. The ending is too easy, yet leaving the cast and audience exhaling in relief.

There are several hilarious "Grethe Weiser" moments, yet the plot leaves much to be desired. The Theater and Film star best known to many Germans as "the divine Jette" has certainly acted in better films. For a light hearted Sunday afternoon laugh, this one will do. Serious cinema fans may want to spend 85 minutes watching something of a bit higher standard.
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13 Stühle (1938)
8/10
Friendship is worth more than money
7 October 2006
Heinz Ruhmann and Hans Moser are paired once again in a light hearted comedy. A poor barber with dreams of perfecting an invention that restores hair growth and a thrift store owner unite in a quest of finding a fortune hidden in the upholstery of an old chair. To make the task more interesting (not to mention amusing), there is a set of 13 chairs, only one of which holds the cash prize.

As the two desperately follow the trail of the chairs (each, of course, had already been sold to different buyers), each retrieved chair is immediately "searched" for the stashed money, and each time there is nothing. The considerable expenses of this undertaking are paid by the store owner, while his demands for a share of the eventual profits grow higher.

The ending may be somewhat predictable, but the "bonus" is an uplifting testimony to the value of friendship and honor. There are things in life money won't buy.

Reminiscent of the legendary Laurel & Hardy films, "13 Stuhle" is made from an old "formula" creating laughter from slapstick and mistaken identity, adding occasional sentimental moments, resulting in a simple delight we can still enjoy on a Sunday afternoon on television...some 70 years later.
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9/10
True love comes once in a lifetime
7 October 2006
This is the story of first love between a German college student and a young Hungarian girl in a tiny Hungarian town with an enormously long name. Told from the college student's memories, the early 1900s events are told with the purity of innocent romance known to all who have felt that warm feeling of the heart when falling in love for the first time.

The two young people are soul mates that somehow were not meant to be happy together. Knowing that they will never find another true love like this, each is left only with the eternal memories of that one wonderful summer.

A young Lieselotte Pulver is perfectly cast as the sweet and innocent Piroschka, with Karl-Heinz Boehm as the young student visiting from Germany. The gentle Gustav Knuth plays Piroschka's father, who has the privilege of shouting out the town's extremely long and difficult to pronounce name whenever a train arrives. Other well-known actors of the day make up an effective supporting cast.

The use of brilliant color and the inclusion of an impressive score makes this a true cinema gem. If you enjoy a sweet love story with the charm of the simple life of times past, you're going to like this picture!
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9/10
Life's magic is in the simple things
4 October 2006
The simple story of a family's struggles with poverty is told through the eyes of children. A boy misplaces the worn out shoes of his little sister, and thus is forced to share his own pair of sneakers with her, taking turns attending school. Afraid to tell their parents, the siblings continue the deception for days.

The father is hard working, yet poorly paid, while the mother appears repeatedly disabled by a slip disc condition. It is heart breaking to hear the parents discuss their money problems, mainly the unpaid rent and other bills. When the wife suggests an operation to put an end to her constant back pains, the husband insists that the dangers of permanent damage would be too risky, better to put up with occasional attacks. The viewer can recognize the true issue of money.

There are few, but very sincere expressions of love. To see the boy's face light up when his father praises his abilities is beautiful. When the mother expresses how proud she is of the children for helping her at home, the little ones beam with happiness. There are also examples of charity and generosity, neighborly gestures of kindness, that are rare in most cultures, especially in lands of plenty. The final minutes of the film are both deeply touching and hopeful. The scene ends in the little boy's total hopelessness, while the viewer knows about the eminent ray of joy to enter the children's life.

For people of other cultural background it is very pleasant to see how children here are compelled to unquestioned obedience towards authority figures, asking permission to speak by raising their finger, never daring to interrupt or be disrespectful. School work is seen as an honor, and talent as a gift. Despite obvious economic disadvantages, the absence of rebellious youth in this culturally different society is unknown to Westerners, and it is certainly refreshing.

Winning many International Awards, "Children Of Heaven" was also the first ever entry from Iran to be nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar. Pure and innocent, a true example of the triumph of the human spirit. I can highly recommend this film, especially to children unaccustomed to extreme poverty. Even without the ability to keep up with fast paced subtitles, one can appreciate the magic of this cinema gem!
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M (1931)
10/10
Early German Talkie -- An All-Time Classic!
1 October 2006
Considering the limited development of cinema technology of the day, Fritz Lang's "M" truly is a visually and acoustically stunning gem. The story of a psychotic child murderer engages the audience throughout; if ever a film deserved the label "thriller", this certainly is one.

Besides introducing Peter Lorre to a large audience, "M" also features many well-known German actors, who would go on entertaining for decades, into the age of television of the 1960s and 70s. In a leading role we see Gustav Grundgens, the acclaimed Shakespearean actor who was selected by Adolf Hitler as a "tool" to promote the "new regime".

The brilliant use of lights and shadows gives the film an edge over anything achieved up to this point. Although most existing copies, even restored DVD or laser disc versions, have many audible flaws, crackling and popping, etc., the use of continuous dialog and sound clearly aides the effectiveness of the visual presentation. Look for a particularly haunting, whistled version of Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" as a dramatic highlight.

Peter Lorre, with his trademark eerie look and macabre voice, was immediately catapulted to International stardom, answering Hollywood's call to go on acting in films like The Maltese Falcon and other film noire classics. Fritz Lang's directorial career also took him to America, making mostly great Westerns.

"M" is one of the true Classics of early German Cinema. To be disappointed by this Masterpiece is virtually impossible!
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3/10
Great Comedians, Catchy Title Tune, Lousy Script
23 September 2006
The title song by Bill Ramsey became a popular hit, but immediately after the opening credits the plot-free nonsense becomes a bore.

A middle aged executive (played by the likable Heinz Erhardt) wants to play cupid to his beautiful daughter and a shy middle-management employee (Harald Juhnke), so the trio take a vacation on a small, uninhabited Italian island. Along with a young engaged couple, who are on the same island, everyone is soon entangled in a stupid robbery plot. Trude Herr plays the wife of a local police constable. The fact that she is a kleptomaniac with clever talents to cover her tracks is played up as amusing. Silly songs are slipped in to make the whole story less boring.

If you decide to see this turkey, look for a bit-part played by Gus Backus, an American who had a brief singing/acting career in Germany. He sang "Wooden Heart" in German, before Elvis Presley gave it a go. Here Backus is just another piece in a nauseating puzzle. There really are no redeeming qualities about this forgettable movie. Find the catchy title song on an old 45rm record, but don't put yourself through watching 85 minutes of a really bad film.
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