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Schultze Gets the Blues 2004

PG CC

When Schultze discovers the fiery energy of Zydeco music on his radio, the rigid monotony of his daily routine takes a spicy turn. Schultze learns to play his accordion with a new snap and style. His new- found fascination ultimately leads him on a life-changing, liberating journey to the Louisiana delta.

Starring:
Horst Krause, Harald Warmbrunn
Runtime:
1 hour, 49 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Music, Comedy
Director Michael Schorr
Starring Horst Krause, Harald Warmbrunn
Supporting actors Karl-Fred Müller, Ursula Schucht, Hannelore Schubert, Erwin Meinicke, Hans Hohmann, Siegfried Zimmermann, Maik Gustävel, Annegret Fritz, Wolfgang Boos, Werner Boche, Dora Solter, Anna Spengler, Erika Kirchhof, Leo Fischer, Günter Dziewicki, Hans-Dieter Dziewicki, Karl Jürgen, Karl Nachsel
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Karasik on April 23, 2005
This story of a retired German miner who becomes inspired to play zydeco music (instead of the traditional polka) on his accordion unfolds as delicately as a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. If you're the type of viewer who becomes impatient with subtle, real-time narrative, you might find it tedious. But this film is beautifully done, and even the very slow scenes are enhanced by droll sight gags and persuasive glimpses of emotion. Schultze's dreary northern German town, with its cast of mostly benign denizens, becomes utterly endearing, as are the characters Schultze encounters on his odyssey in search of zydeco. The film's great success is that we come to totally identify with the seeming "lumpenproletariat" of a protagonist as his gentle and poetic soul is revealed. While it is brilliantly grounded in minute details, the film works beautifully as an exploration of the individual's quest for self-realization and artistic expression. And indeed, though it keeps its focus modest and does not overtly address the "big questions," the film offers a more sophisticated meditation on spirituality than many others that try a lot harder.
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Format: DVD
One simply can't dismiss as philistines all the reviewers here who wail about the boredom and slowness of this film. The film's pace is slow. The camera lingers on beautifully composed scenes, as if in love with itself for finding such a lovely frame. Such criticism is legitimate and points out a fault. Yet the story of the German accordian player Schultz, freshly put out to pasture with his buddies from their mining jobs, is unique and touching. Schultz himself is a big lump of a man, and a lump of a presence. When he finally has his moment of awakening to zydeco music and starts to play it, almost obsessively, I wanted to hear more. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot more, even when Schultz finds himself smack in the middle of zydeco country. I really wanted him to find some band mates and go at it in earnest. That was my hope, but it was in vain. Nonetheless, Schultz's transformation from a polka-playing traditional kind of guy to an adventurous traveler finally enjoying his life to the very end makes for an interesting story, even with the frustrations that are built into it.
1 Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Michael Schorr's "Schultze Gets the Blues" is a quiet, droll and unexpectedly poignant film that--like its protagonist--takes its own sweet time getting to its destination, but both the journey and the destination are hard to forget. Schultze (Horst Krause) is a bored, phlegmatic retiree and polka accordionist in an ugly, dull German mining town. One day, however, he hears a snatch of zydeco music over the radio, and from then on zydeco and the land of its birth--the Louisiana bayou country--become his twin obsessions. An invitation to a polka festival in Texas gives him the excuse he dreams of, and soon he's playing hooky from the festival, puttering into the bayous in a rented shrimp boat. "Schultze Gets the Blues" is reminiscent of "Stroszek," Werner Herzog's story of Germans lost in the vast strangeness of America, only much more benign. It is odd and asymmetrical (except for the matching shots at the beginning and end), never taking us precisely where we expect to go--kind of like life. Schorr makes Schultze a courtly, portly, lovable Everyman, and what begins as comedy ends as a moving tribute to the philosophy of Carpe Diem. "Schultze Gets the Blues," with its Teutonically deliberate pacing and schnapps-dry wit, is not for every taste. But those who are willing to follow Schultze and Schorr wherever they lead will be rewarded in the end.
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Format: DVD
This movie is never boring, superficial or pretentious. If you want boring, supeficial and pretentious just go see any of the Matrix sequels.

This film has also been described as a character study, but I think it is very much more than that. It the story of the quest, common to most people, to find something authentic within the all to often pointless conditions of modern life. The key images are the huge mountain of coal slag behind Shultze's garden and house and the repeated image of the silent, relentless windmill. The mountain of slag is the coal waste which Shultze has spend most of his existence mining and which will eventually cause his death from lung disease; the windmill represents the ceaseless passage of time, which is indifferent to how well or how poorly we spend our days between the beginning and the end which it provides for us. Together they point to the absurdity of his (and our) existence. The character Laurent shows the true way to live within this rather ruthless reality. She is a contrast to his catatonic mother, her roommate in the nursing home.

For whatever reason Cajun music quite suddenly touches something within Shultze and sparks his quest for something better; the rest of the film is about his rather uncertain journey to realize this odd hint of something authentic. What he finds along the way are good relationships, and many other people who are seeking, each in their own way, the same thing (e.g. the flamenco-dancing barmaid, the motorcross passions of his retired friend, the ill-tempered poet/switchman). Although Shultze is misunderstood sometimes, on the whole people are more helpful to him than hurtful. Eventually he finds a brief taste of the authentic life he is seeking, albeit just in time.
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