Add a Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Münchner Geschichten" is a West german miniseries from 1974/1975, so this one is already approximately 45 years old now and the man who came up with this was Helmut Dietl. Back then, he was barely 30 years old, so this was an early career effort from the Bavarian filmmaker, who sadly is not with us anymore. The general idea is from him, but not the writing for each episode and also he did not direct every episode. As for the latter, it was a shared effort between him and the more experienced Austrian filmmaker Herbert Vesely. Those episodes that Dietl worked on primarily he collaborated on the screenplay with Anita Niemeyer. Each episode runs for 45 minutes (plus/minus five minutes), so if you are really patient you can indeed watch the entire thing in one day, perhaps in one early session and one late session or if you are really hardcoren, then all at once in one sitting. I personally would not recommend it though. The reason is that there were only two episodes here that I kinda enjoyed and also not too enthusiastically. These would be episode five and episode nine (the final one). The other seven episodes did very little for me, even if admittedly none were failure territory. Maybe the reason why I liked these specific episodes was that Fassbinder regular Kurt Raab and Pumuckl actor Gustl Bayrhammer were in these and I like them both. May they rest in peace. Especially Raab is an actor that is always very easy to recognize and identify. Also these featured Therese Giehse more than usual because the plot was at its core about her apartment and living situation and the possibility that she will move out of said apartment. And while I do not think the male lead was bad or anything, I still preferred Giehse. Said male lead would be Günther Maria Halmer and he was probably a bigger star (or close to being a star) than anybody else from the cast here as he also appeared in international projects that had a solid reputation. But here it was really all about him getting back to his roots, his Bavarian roots, because as the title correctly implies this is not a very German miniseries, but a very Bavarian miniseries. This refers mostly to the way the people live and the interactions between the characters that felt very typical for the region, but the most obvious indicator is also the pretty thick Bavarian accent from absolutely everybody in here. I mean I have lived for several years in Bavaria (even if not the Munich region) and even I had frequently problems in understanding what exactly the characters were saying. This typical Munich flavor can also be found in the individual titles of the episodes that are also in Bavarian dialect.

    Halmer luckily is still alive today and also acting. I think he did okay with the material he was given, but it is never an actors' movie (or miniseries), but all about depicting the Bavarian lifestyle from back then basically. And as such the entire thing probably succeeded and I can see why people like it (judging from the imdb rating). However, I found it really difficult to make a connection here with any of the characters and ut was pretty rare that I felt it was a bit of an emotional watch. One example would be the empty apartment at the very end of the miniseries in the final episode, also actually at the very end of said episode when we see Halmer's character stand there inside before leaving for good. Like I said, he was alright and it was not his fault that I did not like it overall. Basically many areas of his life are elaborated on and he is always one way or the other at the center of it all. There is not as much elaboration on love and romance though as you would expect there to be. I felt more was really business-related in terms of different jobs, professions or just projects how the main character could make money. This was maybe a good decision because the female love interest to Halmer's character is played by Michaela May, another cast member who is still alive today, and I personally think she is a very limited actress judging from what I have seen her in during the more recent stages of her career. She did not manage a career packed with quality films gently-speaking. Still, on a more positive note, it is pretty impressive what Dietl somehow managed to get out of her in terms of performance because her lack of talent does not really show here and she was still really young. So Dietl's talent is also easy to recognize and I am not too surprised that his work here actually resulted in performances from many pretty successful actors despite his lack of experience. Raab and Bayrhammer I mentioned already. Others would be Sedlmayr, Valentin, Hermann and Drexel and I only mention a few. There's more. Dietl next to Wedel (at least before the latter's discrimination struggles) is considered the king of German miniseries now even after his death. And while I do think he has a respectable body of work (that is extremely packed by Bavarian projects in which the geographic location always played a role and with major focus on the well-off, wealthier parts of society and also their decadence sometimes), I would also say that the outcome here is only alright if we take into consideration that he was really a young filmmaker at that point still. Overall, it's a thumbs-down for me because the amount of episodes that stand out quality-wise is not high enough. Still some pretty cool moments overall without a doubt. One thing I definitely liked a lot here and that also fit in really nicely was the soundtrack. Or I should say the main theme Very simple, yet very effective and very catchy. Shame it is so difficult to find now, but no surprise looking at how old this miniseries is. I mean to put things into perspective: It came out the exact same year that Francis Ford Coppola released his second Godfather movie and like, I said earlier, it is moving closer to being half a century old, which also shows that those who are still alive were pretty young when this was made. Finally a few words on the overall tone: There are serious moments in here, but nothing extremely grave. So it should not be a surprise to anybody that there is always some humor attached to the stories, even if it is just tongue-in-cheek. The protagonist is likable although he is a bit of a mix between small-time crook and Hallodri as we say here in Germany and he is not exactly leading a steady life, but just looking for opportunities to make a great deal of money and when he is about to find them, he is also not hesitant to brag to his buddies about it. Before it all goes wrong eventually of course. This is the comedy aspect. But still somehow he has his heart in the right place. Just like pretty much everybody else, at least those who aren't ruuthless businessmen. But even those belong to Bavaria and Munich because it must be understood that this city was never among the poorer parts of Germany, but rather up there with the financial elite. To sum it all up, the most bizarre moment was maybe a mix of Bavaria and western in one episode that deals with the Californian city of Sacramento. Not just western references in that one, but in general a highly American episode. Okay, this should be all then. Some episodes I give a thumbs-up, but the project in its entirety gets a thumbs-down from me and I'd probably really only recommend it to older Bavarian audiences. It is the kind of film/miniseries that you must have seen in your younger days, briefly after its release, to still appreciate it today. This also means that you'd have grown up in Bavaria/Munich the wway it is depicted in here and maybe then you can make a connection. But otherwise, it is not worth it.