Sunday, December 14, 2008

Regensburg by night

The Cathedral

Ich denke oft an Piroschka (1955)

A German exchange student on his way to Hungary falls in love with a girl he meets in Budapest. Arriving at his destiny, a small Hungarian village, he falls for the station master's daughter, who takes his attention more seriously than he intends. Eventually the two girls find out about each other, and the student should make a decision...

This movie is a typical example and is considered a classic of the German genre of Heimatfilm. Therefore the story is deeply steeped in a whole world of shoddiness, false sentimenality and racial and cultural bias which has made this genre often unbearable for me to watch. The German student appears to origin from a superior culture, and the Hungarian people are colourful and lovable for all their fallacies, but are also shown as backward, unreliable and lazy, more interested in wine, drink and dance than in anything 'substantial'. Likewise, this German student is actually just having a summer affair between his studies, a forgivable 'adventure' before he becomes a full member of the hard-working German 'civilization'. All through this movie you feel the reverberations of the Nazi ideology hardly overcome just a decade before this movie was made. In several scenes I consider the student's behaviour downright despicable.

But what makes this movie not quite so unbearable as my words above make it sound is Liselotte Pulver! You quickly forget the falsehood of a Swiss woman playing a pagan Hungarian girl (with a fake accent on top of that!), cause she just radiates beauty and a personal naturalness that's all hers and kind of transcends the blunt cliches of the whole story. She's also the most complex and therefore realistic character in the movie, and all throughout you yearn to take her by the hand and free her from that Aryan imbecile...