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Sumo Bruno

Wrestling fable "Sumo Bruno" aims for underdog charm as a rural lad becomes a decent sumo against wildly improbable odds. Yet too-gentle fantasy is less than sum of its parts, more a series of good ideas about friendship and determination than cohesive, dramatic sports saga. Fests may enter the ring and regional theatrical matches are possible, but tube play is the more likely arena.

With:
With: Hakan Orbeyi, Oliver Korittke, Julia Richter, Martin Seifert, Thomas Drechsel, Tim Wilde.

Wrestling fable “Sumo Bruno” aims for underdog charm as a rural lad becomes a decent sumo against wildly improbable odds. Yet too-gentle fantasy is less than sum of its parts, more a series of good ideas about friendship and determination than cohesive, dramatic sports saga. Fests may enter the ring and regional theatrical matches are possible, but tube play is the more likely arena.

Fired from the railroad on his 30th birthday, easygoing 420-pound Bruno Nestroy (Hakan Orbeyi) is goaded by hustler pal Kalle (Oliver Korittke) into training for the European Sumo Union-sponsored amateur championship, actual event held in their hometown of Riesa. Under the watchful eye of trainer Akashi (Martin Seifert) and with the support of dancer Anna (Julia Richter) and her overweight son, Timo (Thomas Drechsel), Bruno perseveres against Anna’s comically hair-trigger ex-b.f., Lucky (Tim Wilde). Debut helmer Lenard Fritz Krawinkel emphasizes relationships over drama, leaching pic of tension. Tech credits are fine, highlighted by eye-catching opening and closing credits, during which Bruno flies through the air accompanied by the strains of a kiddie choir, which also provides a few minutes of exit music.

Sumo Bruno

Germany

Production: A Senator Film release (in Germany) of a Babelsberg Film production, in association with Studio Babelsberg Independents, Senator Film Production (International sales: Babelsberg Film, Berlin.) Produced by Dirk Beinhold, Friedrich-Carl Wachs. Directed by Lenard Fritz Krawinkel.

Crew: Screenplay, Marius del Mestre, Jan Berger, Krawinkel. Camera (color), Piotr Lenar; editor, Adam Boome; music, Biber Gullatz, Eckes Malz; production designer, Oliver Luer; costume designer, Monika Jacobs. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (World Cinema/Tribute to Babelsberg), Sept. 2, 2000. Running time: 99 MIN.

With: With: Hakan Orbeyi, Oliver Korittke, Julia Richter, Martin Seifert, Thomas Drechsel, Tim Wilde.

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