Monday, July 14, 2008

Papa Ante Portas

Papa Ante Portas; Comedy, Germany, 1994; D: Vicco von Bülow, S: Vicco von Bülow, Evelyn Hamann, Irm Hermann, Ortrud Beginnen

Heinrich Lohse is an old gentleman who loves nicety and savings above all else. When he supplies his company with a whole bunch of paper and erasers that will last for the next 40 years and thus save up to 50 % their costs, the boss decides to send him to retirement. His wife Renate and son Dieter are not overwhelmed to have him in the house now all of the time, sorting his newspaper archive. Renate is ashamed bringing her friends into their home so she takes a job of a chocolate taster, while Dieter constantly brings new girls. When Heinrich organizes a shooting of a TV episode in the house but gets accidentally arrested by the police, Renate decides not to speak with him again. They make up though on the 80th birthday of her mother.

"Papa Ante Portas" is a light and accessible, but too insignificant comedy about retirement by famous German comedian Vicco von Bulow, who already achieved a great success with "Odipussi". Here he mostly addresses the misadventures of a retired hero, Heinrich, yet specially the jokes involving senility provoke more pity and tragedy and much less true humor. For instance, the scene where he disguises himself as a writer who gets hick ups in front of the audience is rather senseless, while stiff actors and the overall stiffness of execution strut the rhythm back. Yet, even in his older age, he still manages to conjure up a few juicy jokes, like when he enters a store and announces: "I'm Mr. Lohse! I'm shopping here!" or when a waiter falls in the train in the cake with his arm. More of such inspired gags could have helped the movie to gain fans even outside German territory.


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