Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Uwe Ochsenknecht, Gustav-Peter Wöhler, Petra Zieser, Ulrike Kriener, Anica Dobra
Director: Doris Dörrie
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
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For any traveler who's ever been lost
Tara F. Chace | Seattle, WA United States | 02/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have ever traveled, ever been out of your element, not spoken the language, not been familiar with the culture... this is the movie for you. On that level alone, this film is a gem.In addition, there is a wonderfully gentle but transcendent Zen message lying underneath. These two hapless German brothers prove that when you've hit rock bottom, the one thing that is guaranteed to help is looking at things differently. Watching two middle-aged German men achieve a certain degree of Buddhist enlightenment is not only hilarious, it's also heartwarming.When you first start watching the movie, you will think to yourself, "man, these are cruddy production values. It looks like it's on video tape." But by the end of the journey you will understand. And you will love it all the more for its untraditional production values. Because ultimately, the value of the film is not determined by the film's budget.You only have to fall into one of the following categories to love this movie:
1) anyone who's traveled abroad
2) anyone who's looking for the answer to life's riddles
3) anyone who's interested in Buddhism
4) anyone who likes German movies
If you fit more than one category, you'll be in cinematic heaven."
Meaning and enlightment where you least expect to find them
K. Corn | Indianapolis,, IN United States | 02/24/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On the surface, this movie appears to be about two brothers who are searching (often in very different ways) for meaning in their lives. One of them decides a trip to a Japanese monastery will further his steps toward enlightenment and peace. The other brother begs to go along because his wife has suddenly abandoned him. He is bereft and at loose ends and hysterical with grief. Against his better impulses, the other brother gives in -and the adventure begins.
Once they arrive in Tokyo, the brothers struggle to cope with the difficulties of being in a foreign country and not being able to speak the language They find even the smallest parts of everyday life difficult - getting taxis, ordering food, etc. But they think that they know how to find their way back to their hotel, using two large buildings as landmarks. Unfortunately, at night, the lights of the "landmark" buildings are turned off, which leaves the men disoriented and totally lost. Even worse, they have no money.
And that's when they are forced to fall back on their own resources, hitting rock bottom, panicking...and then finding their way up again (I won't go into detail here because the pleasure of this film comes in watching the experiences of the brothers).
By the time they get to the monastery, they have come a long way from their old life. Not that life is easy at the monastery but they are ready to change, ready to start the real struggle ahead of them.
If I've made this film sound very serious or intellectual, it isn't. There is humor, grace and plenty of surprises in this charming film as well as an exploration of what makes life meaningful - and why. One of those rare films that pushes the viewer to think... and well worth the time spent watching it."
Zen as It Really Is, and Great Entertainment As Well
M. MCCASKEY | Washington DC USA | 06/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I finished watching this film last night, and found it wonderful. Afraid that, since it's in German with English subtitles, and about Japan and Zen, it might not get the boost it truly deserves in English-speaking areas, I decided to write my first review of anything here ever.I was delighted to find a bunch of great and well-written reviews already here, so I don't need to say as much as I thought I might.I am an American with European links who has lived in Japan several times for some years. I am a professor and I teach Japanese culture, lit., film, etc. In my opinion, this film lets you know how things really are in Japan now, and how the Zen temple tradition manages very well to coexist with a pretty materialistic and Americanized culture in Japan today.
It's also an account of what it's really like to come into contact with Japanese Buddhism, and later to find oneself somewhat changed by the encounter, in unexpected but good ways.I have also been in Germany now and then, and the German scenes in the first part of the movie seem to me to ring very true in terms of what life is actually like there--since the makers are German, that is to be expected--though sometimes both Japanese and European directors create movies that are less realistic and cater to American stereotypical impressions instead.
Buy this DVD, get your friends to watch it, and perhaps you'll be transformed in your daily life as a result of seeing it--in the sorts of small ways that last and really count, as Gustav and Uwe are in the film.
The German dialogue in the film is clear and concise, like regular educated conversation, so it's easy to follow if you know some German. The subtitles are also well written and get the humor across too.
I hope Ms. Dorrie and her colleagues will make another one like this soon. Whether it's set in Japan or not, it's sure to be good. Ms. Dorrie's comments are also a good special feature, with some interesting points about how to make a good film on a budget of just one million dollars these days.One last thing. By accident, I watched the first part, set in Germany, about the lives Gustav and his brother led there, and then I stopped for the evening a bit after they got to Japan. I figured the film was almost over, and I'd spend maybe a half hour watching the rest the next evening.The Japan experience turned out to be in fact the most important part of the film, and and I had a great time watching it for another hour or so, because it was so absorbing, authentic and true to real life. It was like getting two films for the price of one--both really good. I think it may be good to watch the film in two sittings this way, but that's up to you."
See It Twice!!
G. Glasser | Rio Rancho, New Mexico United States | 07/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brothers Uwe and Gustave are so incredibly believeable as adult siblings; loving, sparing, reminiscing, hurting, they support, push, and bully one another from suffering to nirvana with the audience chuckling at every twist and turn. If you've ever thought of or tried to meditate, look for inner peace, find your spirit, or deterime what "makes the world go round", this movie was made for you. The second viewing was even more fun as you can concentrate on the brothers expressions and mannerisms rather than the subtitles as you already know the story line, and they are well worth watching. Can't wait to have this movie in my personal collection."