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  • ChrisWasser4 October 2005
    Apart from what I learned in school, I'm not very familiar with the German classical period (Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Kleist). I've always preferred stage authors like Büchner, Wedekind or Brecht because they seemed more "modern" to me and all the films that I've seen this year about Schiller and his oeuvre (dubbed the "Schiller year" because it was his two-hundredth death year) did nothing to change this opinion of mine.

    Up until yesterday, that is. Then I saw Leander Hausmann's adaptation of "Kabale und Liebe" which showed how fresh and up-to-date a 200 year old play in classical German language can be. Kenneth Branagh did the same for Shakespeare, but I liked "Kabale und Liebe" even better, because the way the plot unfolded, the humor and the acting was more natural. You hardly notice it's a costume drama. I liked everything about this adaptation: The set design and the costumes are great, the cinematography is excellent and all the actors down to the smallest supporting roles are brilliant (August Diehl and Paula Kalenberg are very convincing as lovers, Detlev Buck steals the show, Haussmann regulars Ignaz Kirchner, Katharina Thalbach and Annika Kuhl are in turn hilarious and heart-wrenching and even Götz George is acceptable for once). The music, traditional German folk songs, is unusual but very beautiful.

    Hausmann seems to have a special knack for idylls. Not just in "Kabale und Liebe", but also in the contemporary "NVA" the way the protagonists fall in love (and how it is filmed) remind me of shepherd idylls in literature or paintings from the Rokokko, Sturm und Drang or Romantik periods. Typically German in the best sense of the word!
  • After seeing the play on a real stage, then reading it and after that seeing the film on TV, I was rather disappointed. The film is missing some important parts, the drive is missing and the whole story with Lady Milford is completely misunderstood (in the play, she leaves Germany, in the film she's just standing on the window???), the Hofmarschall is miscast and also misinterpreted. There are good moments in the movie, the photography is nice and the director caught the time right. But after all it just felt wrong. Luise's got no spirit, Ferdinand seems just to be nuts, not jealous. The music was very unusual and too cheesy from my point of view. Strange after all. But good to see how you shouldn't stage a classic play.
  • Although the actors are big names in German and Austrian cinema, the movie itself turned out to be not even suitable for TV. The actors do not act but stay in there everyday routine with a few eclectic gags added that will suit for provincial theaters but not for a piece from Friedrich Schiller that was written under pressing and awful social circumstances and certainly wanted to move its audience - a goal which this ??? clearly misses. The production design is desperately trying to be historic and therefore made up of a few old streets, candles and rags. This is simply not enough today. Kubrick would rotate in his grave. The photography exhausts itself in blue-moon-nights and a greasy warm candle light. It has no character and does not make up any atmosphere. It looks like a wannabe film student short movie. The sound design seems to be unable to work with nuances and sounds like a fifties-musketeer-drama. You can feel the Foley artist standing next to your ear. Leander Hausmann's previous film NVA was foreshadowing this piece of lame, unprepared and loveless theater adaption. Unfortunately, Hausmann doesn't seem to find his ability again and SONNENALLEE will stay his best movie so far. Especially painful is the sung soundtrack of Kim Franck and Hans Wader. It's a deep dig into the grave of seventies German "Liedermacher" (song maker) tradition which has no link to the topic of KABALE UND LIEBE and doesn't support anything in this movie. Leander, thanks for wasting a lot money and having fun for a few weeks.
  • JuliaFecht3 October 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    The film sprayed such a modern poetry from the beginning to the end, although it was presented in the classical, old-fashioned way. The music fitted so well and was light and fresh, and it was sung in German, which I really appreciated. The actors were a real treat and such an enjoyment to watch. I was looking forward to this film for weeks and surely was not disappointed. If you missed this film tonight on 3Sat, do not let it slip on October 9th on ZDF. At last a successful theatric screening and a wonderful Detlef Buck who has finally shown that he is more than a funny comedian. Just watch and you will see, it is worth it. I promise!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Adaptations of German novels or plays are rare on German TV. Thanks to the "Friedrich Schiller Jahr" we get to see more this year. First, Haußmann is a genius - and has proved to be one once again with this adaptation of Schiller's well known play "Kabale & Liebe". August Diehl and Paula Kalenberg are perfectly cast as the tragic couple Ferdinand and Luise. The rest of the cast is brilliant, too. The music is beautiful, as are the pictures and the story is not at all dreary or awkward - it's exciting! This is a perfect adaptation. It will draw you in, make you love with Luise and Ferdinand, make you suffer with them and cry for them. Go and see it!