Is happiness this difficult to attain?
Sarah Bellum | Dublin, OH United States | 07/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"From the title, we assume this film must be about a love story, possibly with fairy tale overtones, between Paul and Paula. After viewing the first half hour or so, we wonder how it will be possible for them to end up together. Both Paul and Paula lead unfulfilled lives, though this misery is the consequence of their own making. Paul fails to detect his wife marries him only because of the possibility he will earn a decent paycheck, and Paula is an equally poor judge of men. (Oddly enough, both settle for carnival folk) Ultimately, we do care what happens to them and really pull for them to find happiness together. The film does take on additional meaning, considering it was made in the formerly Communist East Germany. However, the film is quite universal in its subject matter and the story could be transplanted to any location in the world. The songs are catchy, quite good and are used to great effect throughout the film. The transfer is very good and the subtitles, which are removable, are easy to read. "The Legend of Paul and Paula" is good, though not good enough to earn 5/5 stars. I give the DVD 3.5/5 stars, with 0.5 of that accounting for the care taken to produce the DVD."
Elaine J. Campbell | Rancho Mirage, CA United States | 07/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this film knowing nothing about it, but based on the comment by the great director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, when commenting on his film, "The Lives of Others", surely one of the greatest movies ever made, that "The Legend of Paul and Paula" is a wonderful love story. Since I have such great respect for his work, I took him at his word and he did not lead me astray.
The exceptional creativity and originality of the film's director, Heimer Carow, is beyond defining, perhaps except to say that he blends inner truth and outer truth so naturally that they seem as one. This film, about people unfulfilled in their personal lives, who strongly affect each other and come under the spell of romantic love, each understanding that it is a fire that burns fully, then fails and dies, and both knowing that their lives involve duties to others, in the words of Matthew L. Schnuerman, German Life, "became the 'Love Story' of East Germany".
It became so popular that the government ordered media blackouts on the film; still, audiences came in droves, and it remains popular to this day. Under the guidance of a brilliant director, the actors, especially the stars, Angelika Domroese and Winfried Glatzeder, are superb. Ms. Domroese eventually left the country because of the repressive regime.
And let's not forget the wonderful music by the German cult band "The Puhdys." It reminded me of the Beatles in their prime.
This movie is one heck of a good time: moving, funny, and admirable. What filmmaking should be!"
The Classis East German Love Story
Degenhardt76 | USA/Germany | 06/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1970s film was and still is extremely popular in Germany, as it tells a story about every-day life in Eastern Germany with a lot of imagination. Paula is a single mom searching for happiness. Paul is a career bureaucrat who's unhappily married. They dive into the moment, escaping some of the more dreary aspects of their daily routines. The soundtrack of the film is by the East German cult band the Puddys. They actually appear in the film - when Paula goes to a club where she'll meet Paul, you see a life band, particularly the legendary lead singer nicknamed "Maschine" ("Engine"). The song-lyrics are a marvelous example of how artists in a repressive regime managed to subtly express a yearning for freedom. This film is one of the timeless love stories that will touch your heart no matter where you're from."