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The Farewell

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

FAREWELL

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Superb acting is the primary reason to see The Farewell, an incisive portrait of playwright/poet Bertolt Brecht. As directed by Jan Schütte, this German domestic drama is not a dry, documentary-like profile but rather an elegy of Brecht spanning one single day, just three days before Brecht's death in the summer of 1956. The once-towering giant of German theater (played to perfection by Josef Bierbichler) is preparing to leave his lakeside cottage in the East German town of Bukow and return to Berlin for the new theater season, but a storm is brewing on the home front: Having maintained no fewer than three mistresses at any one time during his adult life, Brecht is now in the midst of dissent among his extended family of women including his wife, daughter, current and former mistresses, and a political reformer who shares his wife with Brecht in a personal arrangement that's starting to unravel at the seams. With German secret police poised to arrest two of Brecht's houseguests for high treason, the idyllic cottage becomes a setting for petty jealousies, violated trusts and the final remnants of hope and tenderness in the writer's circle of intimates. It's a sad but moving film of an artist in decline, not for all tastes but rewarding for anyone who's curious about the eccentric lives of artists and Brecht in particular. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Monica Bleibtreu, Jeanette Hain, Josef Bierbichler
  • Directors: Jan Schütte
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: German
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: New Yorker Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 19, 2005
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009NZ6R0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,409 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Farewell" on IMDb

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By W.T.Hoffman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 11, 2008
Format: DVD
First off, this is a love story, about a man who just might love his hat, more than his wife, daughter, mistress, or ex mistress/washed up actress. Of course, that's not fair, but is one of the darkly comic motifs in the film. Bertold Brecht is one half of the revolutionary team, who gave us MAHAGONY, and THREE PENNY OPERA, with his ex-partner Kurt Weil. Whereas Weil "sold out" and moved to capitalistic Hollywood, and wrote musicials like ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, Brecht stayed in Germany (only leaving during the Nazi reign), and remained true to his communist beliefs. The film takes place during one day, in the Dacha, or cabin, that the East German Government gave to Brecht, in gratitude to the "artistic integrity" he gave the oppressive dictatorship of the DDR. Altho Brecht seems to remain true to his philosophy of Communism as opposistion to the bourgeious life of money grubbing capitalists, his only REAL loyalty isnt to Politics, or Country, but rather, the artistic Expression of a truly free Human Spirit, and how great drama can allow us to realize our own spirit's corruption by materialism, and social statis greed. I liked the movie, but, if i didnt know Brecht's work, or Marxist philosophy, or German post WWII history, I'd be a little bit lost. The film shows us Brecht at the end of his life, broken by his lack of loyalty to family, questioning his art, realizing he's in league with a government that isnt what he idealizes it as, and actually being killed (spiritually, with the physical heart as metaphor) by the people he hurt during his wild days as a communist "beatnik". In this film, a reflective old man, Brecht's "existencial" views have not served him well.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Two reviews here that praise the film also come down on moral hobnail boots. This is an excellent film. All the moral dicta mentioned are present, but the art is finally art and let the morals be. This is a strange thing to say concerning a film about Brecht who never let the socialist morals be, indeed, made them his art's core. But when this film is over, you have experienced it and taken it inside. You shouldn't feel sorry for Brecht or above him. We all owe God a life that is done with the tools we have, as we owe God a death, and we all are fairly pathetic at the end--Willy Loman, Bertholt Brecht, you and I. (God here = useful fiction.) Well, that's a bit of moralizing, too, isn't it? Moral aestheticism? Aesthetic moralism? Anyway... Acting is brilliant. Editing is good. Story is whole.
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