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So Long, My Heart!

Improvisationally developed by co-helmers Stefan Hillebrand and Oliver Paulus, bittersweet "So Long, My Heart!" was shot largely at a working rest home in Mannheim, Germany, with elderly residents providing much of the supporting cast. Principals, however, are youthful -- by comparison.

Improvisationally developed by co-helmers Stefan Hillebrand and Oliver Paulus, bittersweet “So Long, My Heart!” was shot largely at a working rest home in Mannheim, Germany, with elderly residents providing much of the supporting cast. Principals, however, are youthful — by comparison. Tale of three lonely, middle-aged employees reaching out for romance is an ingratiating mix of low-key comic and dramatic currents. Addition fest play and tube sales are signaled.

Though he’s not the most handsome specimen in the world, the arrival of new orderly Holger (Tom Jahn) triggers excitement at an elderly care facility where the staff is overwhelmingly female. Even head nurse Petra (Isolde Fischer), who cuts a somewhat upscale figure in these working-class environs, acts flirtatiously toward him. Surprisingly, Holger instead connects with the older Barbara (Pola Kinski), a plump kitchen maid raising a rebellious teenage daughter alone. Meanwhile, he’s secretly dealing with the addictive behaviors that made him leave Berlin, and Petra is losing faith in her cavalier longtime lover. Occasional musical sequences realize one patient’s (Lieselotte Langer) senile fantasies. It’s all deft and credible, though somewhat let down by an unsatisfying conclusion. Tech aspects are crisp.

So Long, My Heart!

Switzerland - Germany

  • Production: A Frischfilm (Switzerland)/Motorfilm (Germany) production. Produced, directed by Oliver Paulus, Stefan Hillebrand. Screenplay, Paulus, Hillebrand, in collaboration with cast.
  • Crew: Camera (color, HDV-to-35mm), Daniela Knapp; editors, Andre Bigoudi, Jens Prausnitz; music, Doc Wenz, Mardi Gras.bb; production designer, Diana Wagner. Reviewed at Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, San Francisco, Jan. 13, 2008. (Also in San Sebastian Film Festival.) Original title: Wir werden uns Wiederseh'n. German dialogue. Running time: 86 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Tom Jahn, Pola Kinski, Isolde Fischer, Lieselotte Langer, Sabine Strobach, Ralf Kaufmann, Einhardt Hondralis, Sonja Hondralis, Alice Huber, Dietrich Garbrecht.
  • Music By: