Review: ‘The Volcano’

The Volcano" is a glossy but uninvolving meller from independent German vet Ottokar Runze, using a "Cabaret"-ish chunk of Klaus Mann's novel about young Berlin artists while exiled in pre-World War II Paris. Skedded for an October release in Germany, pic is likely to remain a domestic attraction.

The Volcano” is a glossy but uninvolving meller from independent German vet Ottokar Runze, using a “Cabaret”-ish chunk of Klaus Mann’s novel about young Berlin artists while exiled in pre-World War II Paris. Skedded for an October release in Germany, pic is likely to remain a domestic attraction.

Forced to leave Berlin for singing banned songs, strong-willed thrush Marion von Kammer (Nina Hoss, who was named best actress at Montreal) flees to Zurich, which she finds suffocating, and then to France, where the firebrand finds work at an anti-Fascist radio station. In short order she falls in with the expat community, which includes tortured young writer Martin Korella (Christian Nickel); his smoldering Brazilian lover, Kikjou (Boris Terral); the group’s mentor, Professor Abel (Udo Samel), and others, all watched over by the cheroot-puffing Mother Schwalbe (Katharina Thalbach), who opens a private pub in what looks to be the tidiest cellar in Paris. Only Samel registers among an ensemble whose chief strength is looking good in period clothing. Tech credits are clean and crisp in a pic that cries out for dirty and rumpled.

The Volcano

(DRAMA -- GERMAN)

Production

An Ottokar Runze Filmherstellung production, in association with ZDF, Mact Production, Lichtblick Filmproduktion. (International sales: BetaFilm, Ismaning, Germany.) Produced by Ottokar Runze. Directed by Ottokar Runze. Screenplay, Rebecca Hughes, Ursula Gruetzmacher-Tabori, Runze, based on the novel by Klaus Mann. Camera (color), Michael Epp; editor, Rebecca Runze; music, excerpts from works by Shostakovich, Friedrich Hollaender, Hanns Eisler, Bob Lenox; art director, Bernd Gaebler. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (competing), Aug. 29, 1999. Original title: Der Vulkan. (German and French dialogue.) Running time: 101 MIN.

With

With: Nina Hoss, Meret Becker, Christian Nickel, Udo Samel, Sylvester Groth, Katharina Thalbach, Stefan Kurt, Heinz Schubert, Rainer Strecker, Adrien de Van, Boris Terral, Elfriede Irrall.
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