Saturday, 4 May 2013

Der bewegte Mann (5 Stars)

It's not often that a film makes me laugh out loud. And as far as I remember no German film has ever made me laugh. Do you think that German films can't be funny? Normally they aren't. This is a rare exception, and what an exception! It's one of the funniest films I've ever seen.

This was the breakthrough film for Till Schweiger, the film that made him famous back in 1994. It was shown in England as "The most desired man", and in America as "Maybe, maybe not". The original German title is difficult to translate. It could mean "The emotional man" or "The agitated man". The ambiguity is deliberate.

The film is set in Cologne, not Berlin, which is the most common location for German films. Axel Feldheim is caught having sex with another woman, so his girlfriend Doro throws him out. The only place he can find to stay is with a gay man called Norbert. Despite his initial prejudices, Axel and Norbert become close friends. Sort of. Axel thinks of Norbert as a friend, but Norbert is secretly in love with Axel. Then Doro finds out that she's pregnant, but when she invites Axel back she finds him naked with Norbert. Purely platonic, of course.

The film is hilarious in its portrayal of the relationships between gay men and heterosexual men. It isn't just a comedy about homosexuals, the film makes fun of all men. The heterosexual men huddle together in men's groups discussing women and how to please them. In one scene Axel tells Norbert, "You gays are lucky because you don't have to deal with women". Norbert replies, "No we're not, we have to deal with men, and they're far worse". Ouch.

I'm sure I'll watch this film again soon. Next time I'll make a note of all the beautiful quotes that can be taken from the film.

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