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ZWEI HERREN IM ANZUG follows a Bavarian pub dynasty and in the course of the 20th century in a powerful, overstuffed, and somewhat confusing way.


This film must be Josef Bierbichler‘s passion project, since he wrote it, acts in two roles, and based it on his loosely autobiographical regional novel. Bierbichler‘s second film, 30 years after his debut TRIUMPH DER GERECHTEN which didn‘t receive much attention, is ambitious. It deals with Germany in the 20th century, no less. The time frame of the narrative stretches from 1914 to 1984: World War I, the Weimar era, the rise of Hitler, the catastrophe of World War II, the post-war years,and the economic miracle. All these events are observed from the perspective of a Bavarian pub. Pankraz grows up here, dreams of a career as a singer, but is forced to be a innkeeper after the war and his brother‘s death. He hates this confining life, despite his wife and son, whom he tells his life story to in the present-day. Long flashbacks structure the narrative, which are black and white at first and are later on in color, a pretty confusing jump which doesn‘t seem to be very well thought out like a lot of this excessive, overstuffed film. Bierbichler wants to tell everything, make a time capsule that‘s about sexual abuse in the church, incest, generational conflict, and personal disappointment. That‘s weighty and archaic, but it‘s rarely a perfect package. Bierbichler strings together a panopticon of figures and offers some surreal and fantastical moments that collide with the realism that‘s mostly on display. The result is often impressive and it was clearly made with ambition, but in the long run it‘s also erratic and tedious.

Michael Meyns

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Mittelreich
Deutschland 2018, 139 min
Genre: Drama, Historical Film, Familiy History
Director: Josef Bierbichler
Author: Josef Bierbichler
DOP: Tom Fährmann
Montage: Franziska Aigner
Music: Timo Kreuser
Distributor: X-Verleih / Warner Bros
Cast: Josef Bierbichler, Simon Donatz, Martina Gedeck, Irm Hermann, Catrin Striebeck, Margarita Broich
FSK: 12
Release: 22.03.2018


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