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Jacob’s Brother

"Jacob's Brother," is a seriocomic road trip reluctantly taken by two battling brothers and a teenage runaway.

Director/co-scribe Daniel Walta’s first feature, “Jacob’s Brother,” is a seriocomic road trip reluctantly taken by two battling brothers and a teenage runaway. All have unhappy family-related secrets that emerge gradually, right up to the end. Familiar story elements are handled in a diverting enough balance of humor and drama. Kinofest Lunen audience award-winner will appeal to fests showcasing new talent, with tube and DVD sales likely limited to German-speaking terrain.

When brash TV host Lorenz Goldt’s (Christoph Maria Herbst) on/off doctor girlfriend gives him some bad news, he forces himself to visit his estranged older brother Jakob (Klaus J. Behrendt) to tell him their mother has Alzheimer’s and it’s time for reconciliation. The ride home, however, is complicated not just by sibling strife — immature Lorenz and short-tempered Jakob are constantly at each other’s throats — but by a series of mishaps that leaves them temporarily stranded in a farm village. By then they’ve picked up underage hitcher Lara (Sophie Rogall), who’s got her own problems. Throughout, flashbacks reveal how the Goldt clan came unglued. Good perfs and a not entirely surprising but lyrically poignant final twist highlight the modest but polished production.

Jacob’s Brother

Germany

  • Production: A Thomas Schmidt Film and TV production in association with NDR. Produced by Schmidt. Directed by Daniel Walta. Screenplay, Oliver Pautsch, Walta.
  • Crew: Camera (color, 16mm-to-35mm), Robert Staffl; editor, Daniela Mussgiller; production designer, Tamo Kunz; music, Thomas Kisser. Reviewed at Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, San Francisco, Jan. 13, 2008. Running time: 96 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Klaus J. Behrendt, Christoph Maria Herbst, Sophie Rogall, Hannelore Elsner, Julia-Maria Kohler, Vassily Kazakos, Max Woelsky, Frederic Vonhof, Wolfgang Packhauser, Ole Ohlson, Luka David Knezevic.
  • Music By: