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  • Many stories have been told about Fritz Lehner's newest film, whose production took more than five years, probably the most expensive and costly Austrian movie ever. All the newspaper critics have torn it to pieces, international festivals refused to show it, now the future will show how the audience reacts to it.

    The story of Everyman (in German: Jedermann) is old, but it is best known from Hugo von Hoffmannsthal's play `Jedermann' that is shown every year at the Salzburg drama festival. Apart from the very basic plot framework, Lehner's movie has absolutely nothing to do with the play. It is a modern version about an Austrian couturier (played by Klaus Maria Brandauer, whose face is not exactly what one wants to see in close-up for throughout almost three hours), who dies in a car accident and ruminates during his last hours about how one more night in his life could have gone by.

    Lehner's movie is long and often exhausting. But one does injustice to Lehner and Brandauer, if one says that the movie is completely bad. Right, the whole project is pretentious and megalomaniacal. Often it is just stupid and it may have been cut much shorter.

    Still, a simple story about success and death is told in a coherent way, with much symbolism and - that is the main point - in absolutely brilliant, beautiful pictures and moods. I suspect Lehner of having been inspired by Peter Greenaway movies, which is absolutely no problem for me because not many directors have followed Greenaway yet and the fact that it is an Austrian director who, besides, shows Vienna and its vicinity in a completely new light, without any Lipizzaner or waltz clichés, is quite exciting.

    So, in spite of all the - indisputable - weaknesses that were pointed out in the reviews, this is a wonderful, a beautiful movie, at least if one doesn't take it completely seriously and watches it with expectations as low as I did. I'm afraid it won't happen but it would be great if `Jedermanns Fest' could be successful. I think, we could even send it to the United States. The American audience would like it better than the Austrian, and maybe this could finally result in an Oscar nomination. But again: I'm afraid this will never happen.
  • In this Fritz Lehner's film, Klaus Maia Brandauer seems to be faithful to his ethical and philosophical agenda. A splendid courage to take a non-conformist stance in the time of the idolatry of the body -- an antifreudian stance -- an almost exact opposite to the Hanneke's much more rewarded -- no surprise about that! -- "Die Klavierspielerin" which exhibits poor understanding of sex even from the standpoint of psychoanalysis. Maybe, the movie could have been a little bit shorter; seeing Mr.Brandauer in the surrounding of so many young girls, one wonders whether the famous disagreement about the costs of the project and the five years that took to complete it have had something to do with a pleasure to remain in such a company somewhat longer than the spirit of art would require... For myself, it is possible to think that KMB has slipped a little bit on this little stone of narcissism; the movie would have spoken more powerfully with a somewhat stronger resistance to the very temptation which was meant to refute... In order to hope realistically for the success with such an anti cultural message, one should be more laconically/powerful. Still, it's great to have somebody who is thinking in the movie industry -- and not just playing to the tastes of the public! I'm looking forwards to KMB's further artistic journey.
  • For 173 minutes, the movie is way too long for my liking. It revolves around a man who is always around beautiful people and yet he realized that he was even lonelier than he was back when he was "trapped" in his mother's newspaper stand. The realisation that he was surrounded by those who just want to immerse themselves in his success as a fashion designer made him rather self-conscious and too consumed in wanting a Yvonne Becker (A Paris Fashion Goddess)to approve his creativity and wanton need for attention. This Jan Everyman cannot fathom that his success is the very thing that makes him lose sight of the most important things in life. He chose to be amongst shallow individuals who priorities on skin deep beauty and the allure of being famous.

    Even death could cure his illusion of what is important. He wanted a few more hours and even drive a destitute couple into giving him their lives so that he could taste the fruits of his labour. However, what he thought was the day of his triumph showed him otherwise. He was not what he envisioned himself to be and the people around him began to show their true colours.

    At the end of it all, it showed how lonely his life is and how desolate and painful it was to fall from grace especially when there was no one there to help him to his feet again.