Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Kursaison im Dirndlhöschen (4 Stars)

For everyone who's been hunting for a film with a topless woman riding a cow, look no further. This is it. The cow is galloping across a field while the beautiful woman struggles to keep her balance. That's the good news. The bad news is that the cow riding only takes place during the opening credits for less than two minutes. It has nothing to do with the film. That's a shame. I could have watched her for another 90 minutes. I would have asked for a sequel riding a bull, but the film was made in 1981, so it's too late. Unless, of course, there are new generations of bull riding women ready to take her place.

I can't tell you who the woman is. In the film she's only credited as "Miss Königssee". That's also what's written on the blue and white sash barely covering her upper body. I suspect she really was the reigning beauty queen of the area surrounding the Königssee, a beautiful lake in Bavaria. She appears throughout the film as a waitress and barmaid whose breasts tumble out every time she bends forward. For some reason the bar's guests never look at her, they're only interested in beer. Germans are weird.

One of the limitations I've placed upon myself for writing this blog is that my reviews are always in English, even though I live in Germany and speak fluent German.That can cause problems when I review a German film. There are words which are so embedded in German culture that every German understands them immediately, but they're impossible to translate in a way that non-Germans would understand. "Kursaison" is such a word. It's a combination of "Kur" (cure) and "Saison" (season), but "cure season" is absolute nonsense. In Germany a place that people visit for the sake of their health is called a "Kurort", usually translated as "health spa", but that's not an accurate translation. The English words suggest the presence of mineral water, which may or may not be present in a German "Kurort". The German word simply says that it's a healthy place to live, meaning there's an absence of pollution. It's common for small villages in the Bavarian mountains to call themselves Kurorte simply because they claim to have fresh air. They're probably no healthier than other holiday resorts, but the title attracts health-conscious German holidaymakers.

Another word used frequently in the film is "eingemeinden", which German-English dictionaries translate as "incorporate", but so much is lost in the translation. It's a very emotional word which can cause fist fights in Germany. A more accurate translation would be "swallow", although you'd still need to explain to non-Germans what's meant. The word refers to a small town becoming part of a larger town. This has happened in England and other countries all over the world, but in Germany it's a very emotional issue. A village might have existed for a thousand years and have a proud tradition, so it doesn't want its name to be lost by being swallowed by a neighbouring town.

That's the predicament that Anton Lechner, the Mayor of Waldbrunn, finds himself in. His village only has two industries: farming and tourism. A few years ago the train line passing through his village was closed down, so Waldbrunn is no longer easily accessible. Now there are hardly any tourists, which has had a knock on effect. Young people are moving away, and the village's population is falling. The village is now 1.5 million Marks ($900,000) in debt. That might not sound like much, but for a small village it's an enormous fortune.

Now the crunch comes. Waldbrunn is to become part of the nearby town Seeling. (They're both fictional places, not to be confused with other German towns that have these names). The mayor calls the town's elders together in the bar for an emergency meeting, completely ignoring Miss Königssee's breasts that slap him in the face whenever he's served another liter of beer. "We don't want to belong to them. We haven't talked to them for 50 years". A representative from the government comes to discuss the transition. He also presents plans to build a new atomic power station overlooking the village, in the place where the house at the top of the above picture is situated.

Words fail me. If that happened topless women could never again ride cows through the fields of Waldbrunn, Seeling-Walbrunn, Seeling 2, or whatever the area will be called in the future. The mayor takes the only logical step. He arranges a bank robbery to steal the money needed to pay off the village's debts.

This is a fast-paced political drama with chimney sweeps, horny postmen and topless cow riding. I'm sure my German friends won't be able to order it fast enough.

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