Motion Picture Character of the Week

Josef Hader as Simon Brenner

Brenner is back – and he is in top form. In his Grazer native neighborhood Puntigham no one seems to be quite happy about his return.

In general it’s a crux to write about characters, which are established as good as Brenner by literature and film. Everywhere experts can be found who deeply appreciate one or the other particular detail.

For once it’s not a risky endeavor to write a review about the fourth part of a series. This is due to the fact that for the first time it becomes substantially obvious why Brenner’s character is the way he is. The previous three movies have only been the pleasurable foreplay. “Das ewige Leben” does therefore extend an invitation to watch it to everyone, even those without previous knowledge.

The script has been written by director Wolfgang Murnberger and his star Josef Hader, together with Wolf Haas. It once again turned out wonderfully absurd and presents as the perfect template for political Kabarett artist and not-actor Hader. His timing, trained by the Kabarett-stage, and put forth with egregious stoicism, fills the un-playable (quote Wolf Haas) Simon Brenner with life. Everyone who has ever indulged Josef Hader’s stage program knows about his anti-intelligentsia stance and the specificities of Hader’s narrative. Together this builds the breeding ground of Brenner’s irresistible cynicism.

A couple of years ago, Christoph Waltz (out of national neurotic reasons often called German-Austrian by the feuilleton and tabloids) summed up the difference between Germany and Austria as follows: “it’s like the difference between a battleship and a waltz.”

The similarities of “Das ewige Leben” and its three predecessors is that the story and its protagonist move almost dancingly, at times forward at times backward. It’s a typical Pas de Deux (to be honest it’s rather a Pas d’Un) of the detective story. But a certain candor is required for the movie’s perception, so you are able to fully surrender to the person who is leading and may learn their specific vocabulary of dance. If you allow for this, Josef Hader will take you by the hand and everything will be self-explanatory at last.

The best German movies have just always been made in Austria.

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