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Werk ohne Autor (2018)

Drama | 189 minutes
3,78 411 votes

Genre: Drama / Thriller

Duration: 189 minuten

Alternative title: Never Look Away

Country: Germany / Italy

Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Stars: Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch and Paula Beer

IMDb score: 7,7 (25.301)

Releasedate: 3 October 2018

Werk ohne Autor plot

The focus is on three periods in German history. The young artist Kurt Barnert has fled from East to West Germany, but is still haunted by the memories of his childhood during the Nazi years. When he meets college student Ellie, he's convinced he's found the love of his life. He begins to paint paintings about his own fate and the traumas of an entire generation.

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Kurt Barnert

Carl Seeband

Elisabeth May

Antonius van Verten

Six-Year-Old Kurt Barnert

Martha Seeband

Major Murawjow

Murawjow Interpreter

Miss Hellthaler

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After a very nice start, I found it difficult to keep loving the film. I can best explain my biggest objection on the basis of the art conception of the protagonist, his aunt and his teacher: true art comes from within, comes from your core, it is your true self. Although Kurt does not reveal who the people in his successful paintings are (he says he does not know them), it is elusively clear to critics that there is more to it than what you see. It fascinates beyond measure, and although it is unclear why, it touches enormously.

That elusive, inexplicable, is not at all in the film itself. On the contrary, everything is explained in detail, nothing is left to the imagination, what you see is what you get. I understand that many people think it's beautiful, but if everything is pre-chewed, I don't enjoy it much.

Apart from that, the film is of course playing it safe. The drama never really gets dramatic. Not even the miscarriage, the death of the aunt, those two brothers (or cousins?), the suicide of father; it is mentioned briefly, but not in a way that it really cuts through the soul. After every setback, air is pumped in (that scene when Kurt's friends come to help him clean, disgusting) and everything ends well (suddenly she can get pregnant), because the public must be spared. It is actually a feel-good film disguised as a drama. So I'm not getting into that.

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avatar van eRCee


  • 13354 messages
  • 1927 votes

It's been a while since I've seen such a classic, drawn-out arthouse movie, with all the trimmings, including classical music. It feels a bit like a book adaptation, but it isn't. Actually pleasantly surprised. Werk ohne autor tells a powerful story about art versus oppression. I do agree with JJ_D that Nazi doctor Seeband is too caricatured, would have preferred to see more of the wife and their dynamics. In the last hour Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck conjures up a real variant of the well-known scene from Ascenseur pour l'Echafaud, but then from the perspective of painting, it didn't turn out badly at all. The exhibition itself is of course also satisfying for the viewer. That bus moment should not have been necessary, that is too much of an art house trick. But a good film and the running time is ultimately no problem.

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avatar van james_cameron


  • 6007 messages
  • 9125 votes

Compelling epic spanning three periods in German history, about the artist Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling), who is haunted by the memories of his childhood during the Nazi years. Impressively designed and beautifully played, with a particularly nasty role of Sebastian Koch as Barnert's unfeeling father-in-law; basically the man the whole movie revolves around. With more than three hours it is quite a long sitting, but the film is so captivating that the time flies by.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original