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The Bloom of Yesterday

Historian Toto Blumen and his overstrung French intern Zazi work in the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in Ludwigsburg. The two make up the most delightful screwball couple German cinema has had in years.

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Toto Blumen is a fighter for a good cause which is why he beats the crap out of his colleague Balthasar Thomas when he dares to want to get sponsors for the appetizers at the big Auschwitz Congress. Holocaust research is the focus Blumen’s life and he uncompromisingly goes by the book. Sweet revenge for Thomas. He passes off high-strung French Zazie as an intern and the most glorious screwball couple that German cinema has seen in decades is born. Toto and Zazie go head to head with their complexes and neuroses in a silly but funny way. A comedy set in the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes could easily be too heavy or too light. Chris Kraus, who dealt with German history in a sobering way in his past films, finds the perfect balance in DIE BLUMEN VON GESTERN when Zazie and Toto fight and rival each other. After an hour of lunacy the film arrives at its main storyline, a love story between the grandson of a perpetrator and the granddaughter of a victim. Kraus manages to keep the lightness throughout with help from his great actors: Lars Eidinger, who is brilliant as a frustrated, funny historian oddball, Adèle Haenel, a French up-and-comer who taught herself German in a few weeks, and Jan Josef Liefers, the sleazy Holocaust archivist searching for funding…and so it can happen that Mercedes makes a big appearance or someone is cautiously asked whether a Holocaust survivor might want to wear the star while making a speech.

Harald Mühlbeyer

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Original title: Die Blumen von gestern
Deutschland/Frankreich/Österreich 2016, 124 min
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Director: Chris Kraus
Author: Chris Kraus
DOP: Sonja Rom
Music: Annette Focks
Distributor: Piffl Medien
Cast: Hannah Herzsprung, Adèle Haenel, Lars Eidinger, Jan Josef Liefers, Rebecca Hildebrandt
FSK: 12
Release: 12.01.2017

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