Category Archives: Daniel Brühl

Solitude

Time alone is very important to me, solitude is not a luxury but an essential. I just don’t have a great deal of tolerance for being around other people, regardless of whether I want to be or not. So it stands to reason that today has been a very trying day. I’ve had twelve near continuous hours of social time, I’ve not been by myself for more than ten minutes all day. It’s a price worth paying for getting to see the Captain America triple bill and the all important midnight screening of Civil War. It’s a price I’ll be paying for dearly in the days to come. I’m already paying for it now in fact. Too much social time and having to adjust to being in a strange place at the same time means I can’t sleep. All I need is some time alone, not just from the person with me but from my own thoughts. My goal originally was to write something for my “Fallen Soldier” story before seeing Civil War, it didn’t work out quite so well. I have a lot of notes but so far no actual story. Seeing The Winter Soldier again fixed that. I now know how to start and have a few ideas for later on as well. Problem is I need to write them down now so I can sleep, if I don’t they won’t stop bothering me and I won’t get any sleep anyway.

Although I’m sure I would be having trouble sleeping anyway right now thanks to the end of Civil War, I can’t believe they froze Bucky. Just in case him having his arm torn off by Iron Man wasn’t enough, now he’s back on ice as well. I hope it’s a Han Solo type deal, him being unfrozen in the next film. Up till then the film was perfect, I certainly enjoyed seeing Iron Man getting smashed up and the scene with Antman going giant was just priceless. So many one liners and witty exchanges, too many to remember in fact so I’m glad I’m seeing it again later today. I have a feeling it won’t be the last time I see it either.

The only complaints I have is the fact Daniel Brühl was not in it much, a shame since I liked seeing him playing a different kind of character. Two things I have to mention, it was strange hearing him call Bucky by his actual first name James, weird because of course he played Niki Lauda in Rush, his rival and sort of friend being James Hunt. Second of all Daniel looked different, I can’t put my finger on it but he reminded me of how he looked in Rush a little, before the accident obviously. The other complaint is that there wasn’t enough of Sebastian, I would have liked more scenes delving into his and Captain America’s friendship, hopefully that’s to come in one of the next installments. As for German related trivia, the airport they fought at was in Leipzig, I hope that’s a good omen for later on. I don’t expect Bielefeld to smash Leipzig, holding them to a draw would do. Now I am rambling, it’s not a good mix at all. Popcorn, cookies, a late night and now too many ideas. I can’t wait to get home so I can be by myself again. I was fairly certain I could never live with someone else anyway, I mean actually choosing to because I do live with other people right now, it’s just not by choice. Now I have the proof that even choosing to live with someone may not work, I really do need my own space and a lot of it. This is just one day and night and I’m already going crazy. If it’s loneliness or this then the latter is definitely the better option.

Daniel Brühl – Heute leute – 8/12/2015

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Im Leben von Daniel Brühl

Im Leben von Daniel Brühl

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Daniel Brühl – Champions League Final 2015 – pre-match show

Today just could not get any better, an interview with Jogi, a new picture of Hansi and to round things off Daniel Brühl was part of the pre-match show for the final as well. Just in case things couldn’t get any better, the segment included a scene from his new film “Ich und Kaminski” from which there is a picture of him. He’s a big fan of Barcelona because he was born there but he grew up in Cologne strangely enough. Strange because that’s where Hansi played for a few seasons after Bayern. I don’t know if he supports a German team or not, I’ve never heard him mention it. I like to think he does.

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Once Upon a Time in Nazi Occupied France

That was apparently what Tarantino wanted as the title of Inglourious Basterds, as much as I like the actual title with its characteristic Tarantino-esque misspelling, I really like that and wish they had kept it. I was also tempted to title this post “I love numbers” which isn’t actually a line from the film, it’s a comic mishearing by a critic (from Sight and Sound I think). They thought that’s what Landa had said when he uttered one of his best lines (I know all of his lines are his best lines, but it’s my favourite in particular) “I love rumours.” Though for obvious reasons it would have been, in a very dark way hilarious, if that’s what the Jew hunter had said.

Inglourious Basterds delivers upon what if offers on the poster, an uproarious, inglourious thrill ride of vengeance. It’s enjoyable for film buffs and casual fans alike, if you get the references it just adds to the fun and if you don’t it doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the film.

Some people have voiced the opinion that whilst the first twenty minutes or so is undeniably sheer genius, that the film loses its way later on, in particular what QT refers to as the “French film” segment being criticised for its slowness compared to the rest of the film. I don’t think so; my view on it can be summed up with a quote from The Wire: “and all the pieces matter.” I think it all fits together perfectly; each and every segment is required. The film is pretty long, two hours and thirty-two minutes (including in the credits) and yet I couldn’t imagine a single thing that could be cut or that would need to be.

Nor do I think that the film suffers when Landa is not on-screen, despite my considerable appreciation for the character, it’s almost a relief when he’s not on screen for the simple reason that the scenes he is in are so fraught with tension that it’s a relief not to see him for a while. The relative calmness of the French section counteracts the intensity of the rest of the film nicely I think.

I honestly don’t have a single thing to criticise, there isn’t anything I think could have been done better or improved in any way. From a writing perspective, I think it may be the best thing QT will ever do and maybe from a directorial standpoint as well. The casting was simply unbeatable, I obviously hugely appreciate the fact that you have Germans playing Germans; in fact my favourite thing about the film is that the correct languages are spoken. I also like how speaking or not speaking a particular language, or rather speaking it correctly is an important part of the story. On this note my favourite scene is the one with the solider in the bar after Hicox and the two Basterds have been shot. The exchange goes something like this:

Aldo: What are you?
Werner: I’m a German you idiot.
Aldo: You speak pretty good English for a German.
Werner: I agree.

To me, that was QT mocking all of the films that have had English speaking actors play Nazis over the years.

Overall, the film is so perfect it really is impossible to pick a favourite scene. If I were to list my favourite scenes I would just ending up describing the film from beginning to end. Nor could really I pick a favourite character, Landa I obviously like, but I equally like Wilhelm Wicki, Lt. Aldo, Frederick Zoller and there are many I like amongst the characters who don’t have a great deal of screen time as well such as Richard Sammel as Seargent Werner Rachtman, Christian Berkel as the bartender and Denis Ménochet as the farmer in the very first scene. And not forgetting the truly disturbingly perfect Sylvester Groth as Joseph Goebbels. Nevetheless Landa is the one I have written pages and pages about, in fact I have so many notes on him and my interpretation of his character that I think it’s best to give him a post of his own so that he doesn’t steal this post like he stole the film.

The film ends with the words “you know, I think this may be my masterpiece”. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. He may have won the Oscar for best original screenplay for Django Unchained but in my mind, he should have won it for this. Whilst both films have great quotable dialogue, Django obviously having the advantage given that almost all of the film is in English, for me it’s Inglourious Basterds that is better overall and that showcases Tarantino’s talents as a writer.

Four favourite films – 2014

My four favourite films that I’ve seen at the cinema in 2014, usually it’s a top five but here its four, in honour of Germany’s fourth star:

1. In Order of Disappearance – I was resigned to waiting for the DVD to see this, so it was a pleasant surprise to find it was at the cinema, albeit only for six days which was a shame, since I would have liked to see it again.  A dark Norwegian revenge thriller with a little something extra beneath the surface and Stellan Skarsgard and Bruno Ganz are in it, plus a few moments of that deliciously dark Scandinivian humour, what more could you want? I don’t want to repeat myself, not when I’m not sure that I can sum it up any better than what I wrote not long after seeing the film: https://kretschmannland.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/in-order-of-disappearance/

2. What We Do in the Shadows – I just saw this yesterday, it’s about a group of vampires who have a film crew following them around in order to make a documentary about them. It was a riot, very funny, lots of good vampire jokes. One of them wanting to go to a party dressed as Blade for example. All kinds of funny situations that you just never would have thought of, like a 3000 year old vampire called Peter having his teeth brushed for him by one of the younger vampires. Or a vampire who refuses to do his share of the dishes and leaves blood encrusted dishes around the place. Of course my favourite moment was the scene in German, and the pedant in me enjoying correcting the slight but important (at least to me) translation error. I liked that the film starts out as if it’s a real documentary and the format is maintained throughout the film, including towards the end when the cameraman is attacked by a werewolf and we see him being torn to shreds through the lens of his own camera. The fact that it feels like a real documentary just adds to the humour. As for why it makes my list, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen, it’s weird and different and made me laugh a lot, which not a lot of films that are meant to be funny do.

3. Frank – Frank is another weird one. A bit too strange for some people I think, definitely not something that appeals to everyone’s tastes. I’m not a big fan of Michael Fassbender, I think he’s a little overrated, but he was brilliant in this. My favourite scene was him and Dom talking when he comes up with the idea of saying his facial expressions out loud, that was genius. I can’t really explain how or why it worked, I’ve seen the film three times (twice at the cinema) and each time it has defied any real explanation. There’s just something about the band and how their for lack of better word “craziness” feeds off of each other. I enjoyed seeing Dom put in his place at the end, after his earlier musings about why he couldn’t have anything dark in his past, when he asked Frank’s parents about what caused his illness. It’s good for something to dispel the myth that mental illness equals genius, or to be more precise that they are related in some way, that such an illness always comes with such a talent or a gift. Besides isn’t it kind of offensive, like implying that their talent is because of their illness, not something that they are good at and worked at?

Random tangent, one of the things that amused me greatly at the time (because of what I called the Kretschmann Connection) was that when Dom is getting tweets about where Frank might be, he gets one from a call girl agency located on the Volga. This amused me because the Volga is a river in eastern Russia which flows into Stalingrad, the Kretschmann Connection needing no further explanation there.

4. I couldn’t decide about my fourth favourite, at first I put The Rover here, then I changed it to Rush. I know it’s cheating a little since Rush was not released in 2014, but I did see at the cinema this year as part of the Bafta tour. I still think The Rover is an excellent film (as is Animal Kingdom) it’s just that Rush is special, even if I am still disappointed in Daniel Brühl. Rush is  just perfection, it doesn’t get anything wrong. It’s top class in every aspect. The acting is first rate, Daniel is just as perfect as anyone could ever be in any film ever. Chris Hemsworth is equally as terrific as James Hunt. Also great is Pierfrancesco Favino as Clay Regazzoni, he manages to hold your attention which is quite something given that most of his scenes are with Daniel. One of the first things I thought after the film was, why have I never heard of this guy. I just looked him up and it turns out I had seen him in two films, World War Z and Angels and Demons. In the first he was  W.H.O doctor, there quite a few of those, so impossible to remember him. I don’t even remember seeing Peter Capaldi. Though funnily enough I remember the German one, Moritz Bleibtreu. As for Angels and Demons, I will never submit myself to that borefest again. I only did the first time because Stellan Skarsgard, Nikolj Lie-Kaas and Thure Lindhart were in it.

Anyway, back to Rush, the film itself is a bit like Niki Lauda, to the point with not a wasted word. There were some areas that could have been covered a little better, their marriages for example, neither Marlene nor Suzy were well used and their characters were a little underdeveloped. But personally I don’t mind that so much, the film was about Lauda and Hunt’s rivalry and racing, and a film can’t always cover everything that happens. Anyway to cover all of the intrigues that surrounded the two of them, would take a whole mini-series.  I will concede that it’s a shame that Alexandra Maria Lara didn’t get more to do.

Forget about Daniel winning the Oscar for best supporting actor (which he should have done) the people responsible for the makeup should have won one for their work. Before the accident, their work was great, afterwards it was incredible.

I think the best thing about Rush is that in all the excitement and drama of the track there is room for the little moments, Niki and Marlene’s exchanged glances as he gets out of the car and decides to stop to name one. There are plenty more but I haven’t seen it in a while, that moments there sticks in my mind, I really liked that and think about it often. And little details, like James Hunt going around with no shoes on. The film somehow manages to find a way to please diehard F1 fans and people who have no clue or interest in the sport at the same time. On that count it did it’s job a little too well, with some people pointing out that it makes F1 look more exciting and action packed than it actually is.

Other than being a truly terrific film, the reason Rush is on my list is that I really liked Niki Lauda. I knew who he was before the film but I knew nothing of what a character he was back then and how interesting he is. I loved his blunt “I don’t care what you think” style. I loved him in the car with Regazzoni and the scene where Marlene and him break down and he ends up driving an Italian’s car way too fast. My absolute favourite is when he drives a Ferrari for the first time, that scene is just genius.

If the list had been five and not four, either The Rover or The Unbeatables would have been fifth.

Daniel Brühl/Baron Zemo?

Daniel Brühl is going to be in Captain America 3. I know in an interview for Rush last year he said he wanted to be in a superhero film, I didn’t think he was serious. And does he have to be in a film that TK is probably going to be in. I hope he doesn’t start doing more American stuff and less European stuff.

The most obvious character for him to be playing if indeed he is a villain is Baron Zemo, someone who knows a great deal more than I do about the Marvel universe told me that it was likely Zemo would feature in this film, maybe they were right. I know very little of the Marvel universe, comic books aren’t really my thing, so I don’t know how Zemo would fit in to the story with regards to Baron Von Strucker. If they are on the same side or not.

It would be in a way interesting, but it wouldn’t be so good really, since that would no doubt end in his untimely demise at Von Strucker’s hands. Though if he’s going to play a bad guy, he’s going to end up dead anyway. If that’s the case I’d rather it be at the hands of Captain America or one of the heroes, pretty much anyone but Von Strucker.

Just why Daniel, why? Now you’ve guaranteed that I have to go and see it. And just the other day I wrote that you couldn’t put a foot wrong, well you no longer hold that special position, you now join the ranks of the ordinary Germans. You are no longer the sole German who could do no wrong in my eyes.

Not enough films/too much football

One of the things I planned write about here was films, which is funny because I haven’t watched all that many films lately. In October I watched only thirteen films. On the other hand in that time I have watched sixteen football matches. In contrast to September in which I watched twenty-one films and twenty two matches. Eleven days into November I’ve watched eight matches and only four films. The Bundesliga has a long winter break, which could mean plenty of time for a film marathon. I don’t think that’s going to happen however since I have the 2010 World Cup on blu-ray and will by then have the 2014 one as well. Plus I have the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships on DVD.  I predict the winter break will be spent watching lots of those and making Jogi videos. Hopefully I can find some time for some German practice as well. I’m not getting any new games for Christmas which will help considerably.

It’s not just about the number of films I watched, it’s about the fact that I think about films less.  It’s also about the fact that whilst I like several people at the moment: Richard Sammel, Daniel Brühl, Sebastian Koch, Heino Ferch, Ulrich Mühe, Ulrich Tukur, Florian Lukas, Tom Schilling and August Diehl, I don’t have a film or TV related special interest right now. That is very unusual and as far as I can remember completely without precedent. I wonder if this lack of interest in film and fiction in general is a contributing factor in why I have no interest in working on my android story right now.

The closest thing I have to a film/TV related special interest at the moment is Richard Sammel, I watched all of The Strain for him even though I hated the show.  I think he must get sick of playing Nazis, but to be fair I don’t think he’s played one like this before. And he is so good at playing villains. I can’t wait to see him as a bad guy though, to see if I like him as much then.

The problem is I only want to watch films he’s in, and I don’t have many of those and I can’t get the one I really want at the moment which is Lila. I hope I can find the two German TV shows that he was in that look interesting, it would be great to watch something where he’s one of the main characters.

I also have less interest in TV shows in general at the moment, I only have on one at the moment, Person of Interest, but I am eagerly awaiting the return of Justified and a little less enthusiastically, Game of Thrones. I’ve given up on Boardwalk Empire at the moment, I’ll probably go back to it soon. Even if I don’t think much of the show anymore, I won’t be able to resist the allure of Michael Shannon and finding out what becomes of Nelson.

I have so many films to watch and yet I don’t want to watch any of them right now. Maybe I do really have too many films. I’ve considered that if my collection was signifcantly smaller, it make picking up and leaving easier. How many DVDs and blu-rays does a person need? I wonder, should I apply the same to my book collection too? Parting with my books I think would be a lot harder than parting with any of my DVDs or blu-rays. Maybe I should get a box and put all my favourites in, see how much I really want to keep something when I only have a limited amount of space.  I mean, it’s not like I’m going to read many of those books again, but I just like knowing they are there. I also like looking at them and thinking back to when I read them. Someone online commentating on a similar topic said that they always give books away when they are done with them, because books are meant to be read, not sitting gathering dust on a shelf. It would be interesting to do just to see which I would pick to keep, what my favourites would turn out to be. And to see how much fiction will end up in there.

The other problem with films is that when I really like something I watch it a lot, and then get sick of it. Then it’s the case that it’s the only thing I want to watch but can’t because I know it too well. That is my own fault having seen them too many times. I’ve seen Rush at least seventeen times since it was released in cinemas last September. Inglourious Basterds, somewhere between ten and fifteen times, Django Unchained, somewhere around the same amount. And I’ve seen certain of Daniel and Christoph’s films at least three times each. This also contributes to the problem of me not watching the rest of my collection.

 

 

Charting obsessions – Daniel Brühl

I don’t consider Daniel to be one of my stand alone special interests, yet he gets a post devoted to him anyway for the simple fact that whilst the others inevitably fade into obscurity, he sticks around. I liked him from the very first time I saw him in Goodbye Lenin and then began to like him even more once I saw Inglourious Basterds. It wasn’t until September 2013 with the release of Rush that I really began to appreciate him. He quickly became my new favourite person and somewhat overtook my Christoph Waltz obsession. He then managed to survive and outlast my fascination with Gedeon Burkhard and the Austrian TV show Inspector Rex and Michael Fassbender that followed. Daniel cannot put a step wrong as far as I am concerned. He has the rare distinction that I have liked every film of his I have seen so far, even The Fifth Estate. There is a recent exception to this, but I don’t even count A Most Wanted Man on my list of Daniel films since I don’t think I’ll be adding that to my collection and him and most of the Germans in the film were just background characters. I don’t think you even get to hear his name in the film. In the interests of balance I have to admit that I haven’t seen Two Days in Paris yet, nor The Countess. I’m not particularly looking forward to seeing either of those, the former especially since I don’t like romantic type films.

Being half German and Spanish I wonder who he supports in terms of national football? I know he’s a big football fan, I don’t know if he has any interest in the Bundesliga, I think he’s a Barcelona fan. He has been in a German film about football, Der Große Traum which I haven’t seen yet, I really should bump that up my list, could there be a more perfect time to watch it? It would make a great double bill with Deutschland: Ein Sommermärchen.

As I said above its Rush that made me really like him, he was just perfect as Niki Lauda, more perfect than I ever could have imagined. He looked and sounded exactly like him. It’s rare for an actor to achieve such perfection when playing a real person. I love the fact that he looks so much like Niki that you can confuse people with pictures as to which is Daniel and which is the real Niki. I remember showing someone a picture of Niki from his book and they thought it was Daniel.  Some of my favourite pictures from Rush:

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vlcsnap-2013-10-25-21h59m24s69Rush brought out an old interest in Formula One, with Christoph Waltz it was Nazis and European history and the Cold War (he was meant to play Gorbachev in a film about the Reykjavik summit but it never got made) however with Daniel it was the history of Formula One and the intrigue and politics that went on behind the scenes with the rivalry between Ferrari and McLaren. I quickly lost interest in modern-day Formula one though, it’s not the same as it used to be. There’s no real characters amongst the drivers. To be fair, I don’t think anyone could be as interesting as Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and any others you care to name from previous years.

It’s curious to think, he has a connection with several of my special interests from the past few years. Football connects him to Joachim Löw and the fact that he was one of the prominent people in a magazine feature where they were asking Joachim Löw questions about the upcoming World Cup, he’s been in a film with TK, In Tranzit. He was in Inglourious Basterds, as are Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Gedeon Burkhard and Richard Sammel. He has a more tenuous connection to Sebastian Koch, they have both been in films about the DDR, Daniel being in Goodbye Lenin and Sebastian in Das Leben der Anderen and Der Tunnel.

One of things I like about him best is that it’s impossible to pick a favourite film of his, he’s been in so many good things. Unlike with CW, SK and TK, liking Daniel doesn’t involve sitting through a pile of truly terrible films just to see him for a few scenes.  I have several favourites amongst his films: Rush, Goodbye Lenin, Love in Thoughts, The Edukators, Inglourious Basterds, The Coming Days, The White Noise and No Regrets.

He’s also got some great stuff coming out, The Face of An Angel, Woman in Gold, Ich und Kaminski (which reunites him with Goodbye Lenin director Wolfgang Becker) and Colonia Dignidad.

Even though he wasn’t my predominant special interest at the time (technically CW was) not long after Rush came out, I began assembling the beginnings of a collection. The difference was that it was centered around one film, Rush whereas with CW I collected pretty much anything I could find. The highlights of my Daniel/Niki Lauda collection are without a doubt the banner for the film I got from Germany (not as big as the one I got of Hans Landa or Dr. King Schultz but still pretty cool) and the signed postcard of Niki Lauda. A great find was also two of Niki Lauda’s books, I think that’s the most I’ve ever spent on a book, but it was worth it.

The other difference is that I haven’t put any of that stuff away, once I stopped liking CW so much I started taking down all of my pictures and posters. Not because I needed the space but because I just didn’t want them around anymore. To contrast with Daniel, I only took down the Rush poster when I needed the space for a banner of Jogi und die Mannschaft. And I still have two of his posters up, Inglourious Basterds and Merry Christmas.

I think the reason for Daniel outlasting most of the other Germans is that because he wasn’t a main special interest, I couldn’t really get bored with him in the same way as the others. Because I wasn’t so fixated on him, the usual process could be avoided. I wouldn’t go through the usual steps of really liking him, making everything about him and then turning against him when I got sick of him. In that sense he’s probably the healthiest of all my recent special interests.