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Das kalte Herz

DAS KALTE HERZ is an adaptation of the fairy tale with the same title by Wilhelm Hauff. The young charcoal burner Peter Munk trades his heart for a stone in a world where a soft heart is an impediment.


Charcoal burner Peter Munk yearns for a better life in Wilhelm Hauff’s fairy tale. He wishes to be the dance hall king and to have enough money to own a glass hut and the good forest ghost grants those wishes. Stupidity and back luck leads him to lose his money and he turns to the bad “Dutch Michel” to trade his good heart with a stone. Peter achieves great wealth without a heart, but he also becomes severe, unthankful, and evil and even takes his anger out on his beloved Lisbeth.
DAS KALTE HERZ is set in a visually dark medieval world that is far from the cheerful costumes, streamers, and pourpoints that you can see in classical fairy tale films. The sepia, gray, and blue tones are more reminiscent of “Game of Thrones” though this film is far less violent. The people in this world are strictly separated by class and occupation and have a small tattoo that marks their caste on their forehead. Director Johannes Naber (ZEIT DER KANNIBALEN, DER ALBANER) is less focused on action and special effects and more on believable psychological development. Peter is quite shy, lovable, and nice at first but then everything goes wrong and Peter sells his heart and goes to the unknown. He returns as a mixture of Mephisto and Napoleon. Crafty, inconsiderate, and used to taking everything he wants – but Lisbeth rejects him. It all comes to a head and Peter number 3 rises: a real hero, confident but humble, affectionate with his family, and with a clear path in sight.
Frederick Lau as Peter Munk essentially plays three roles, that’s how extreme the transformation of the charcoal burner is. He does it with bravura, even changing his gaze which is warm and longing at first, then cold and devious, and finally clear and radiant. Other figures are also played with nuance and depth. Only Milan Peschel as the forest ghost and Moritz Bleibtreu as the “Dutch Michel” are a bit off.

Hendrike Bake

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Deutschland 2016, 119 min
Genre: Drama, Literary Film Adaptations, Märchenfilm
Director: Johannes Naber
Author: Johannes Naber, Andreas Marschall, Steffen Reuter, Christian Zipperle
DOP: Pascal Schmit
Montage: Ben von Grafenstein
Music: Oli Biehler
Distributor: Weltkino Filmverleih
Cast: Moritz Bleibtreu, Milan Peschel, Frederick Lau, Henriette Confurius, David Schütter
FSK: 12
Release: 20.10.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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