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The Farewell
The Farewell
Actors: Josef Bierbichler, Monica Bleibtreu, Jeanette Hain, Elfriede Irrall, Margit Rogall
Director: Jan Schütte
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2005     1hr 31min

Superb acting is the primary reason to see The Farewell, an incisive portrait of playwright/poet Bertolt Brecht. As directed by Jan Schütte, this German domestic drama is not a dry, documentary-like profile but rather an e...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Josef Bierbichler, Monica Bleibtreu, Jeanette Hain, Elfriede Irrall, Margit Rogall
Director: Jan Schütte
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: New Yorker Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 07/19/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: German, German
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Bertold Brecht's Farewell to an existencial existence
W. T. Hoffman | Pennsylvania, United States | 03/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First off, this is a love story, about a man who just might love his hat, more than his wife, daughter, mistress, or ex mistress/washed up actress. Of course, that's not fair, but is one of the darkly comic motifs in the film. Bertold Brecht is one half of the revolutionary team, who gave us MAHAGONY, and THREE PENNY OPERA, with his ex-partner Kurt Weil. Whereas Weil "sold out" and moved to capitalistic Hollywood, and wrote musicials like ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, Brecht stayed in Germany (only leaving during the Nazi reign), and remained true to his communist beliefs. The film takes place during one day, in the Dacha, or cabin, that the East German Government gave to Brecht, in gratitude to the "artistic integrity" he gave the oppressive dictatorship of the DDR. Altho Brecht seems to remain true to his philosophy of Communism as opposistion to the bourgeious life of money grubbing capitalists, his only REAL loyalty isnt to Politics, or Country, but rather, the artistic Expression of a truly free Human Spirit, and how great drama can allow us to realize our own spirit's corruption by materialism, and social statis greed. I liked the movie, but, if i didnt know Brecht's work, or Marxist philosophy, or German post WWII history, I'd be a little bit lost. The film shows us Brecht at the end of his life, broken by his lack of loyalty to family, questioning his art, realizing he's in league with a government that isnt what he idealizes it as, and actually being killed (spiritually, with the physical heart as metaphor) by the people he hurt during his wild days as a communist "beatnik". In this film, a reflective old man, Brecht's "existencial" views have not served him well. He has a bitter wife, who has to put up with his open womanizing, a daughter who passive aggressively hates him for his treatment of her mother, a young mistress who is using him to further her career in the Theater, an old ex-mistress who's a total nut case, and an assistant who's spying for the Stazi. (East German Secret police.) Since the film occurs in one place, this Dacha, on one day, with only a handful of actors, it can be a little bit slow, if you are used to lots of action, lots of scenery, and casts of thousands. This film is a meditation piece. What if you devote your life, to art, to philosophy, and other esoteric beliefs, only to find that you doubt the correctness of your decisions, when you are dying? Brecht wanted to be the free thinker, the intellectual, the idealist, the sexually liberated man, but paid a price in the end. If this film is about anything, it's about how each of us pay for our choices in the end. The acting is incredible, just superb. And, you do end up feeling sadness for Brecht's wretched life, as he reflects on the lost potential of the world around him. The tragidy here, is that of Post WWII Europe, and especially Germany itself. Just as the continent was divided by the Iron Curtain, so was Brecht, and just as the promise of social equality thru communism ended with dictatorships, and cruel restrictions on human relationships, so too has Brecht found himself a victum of the "Free Love" anti-middle class restrictions he had revolted against as a young writer. I found this film overflowing with weltschmertz, and a menagerie of broken spirits. A great artist's life and heart become united, so that a broken spirit IS a broken heart, and leads to the only outcome it can...death. Here's a film that unites so many universal themes: of the artist in society, of betrayed love, and of youthful dreams unrealized. Please dont think this is a dramatized biography, or a propaganda story for Marxism. ITs about a very sensitive, intelligent man evaluating his gifts, and his life, as it comes to an end. A hidden gem in world cinema, to be sure, but not for everyone."