In another example of life imitating art, Schultze Gets the Blues apparently took a cue from its own slow pacing. It's been nearly two years since the film's original 2003 release in Germany, where it was a smash hit. Since then, Schultze has earned considerable acclaim, earning the Special Director's Award at the Venice Film Festival, as well as Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the Stockholm Film Festival. Not bad considering this is the first international release for 40-year-old writer/director Michael Schorr.
The movie is largely set in a small, unspecified town in the East German state of Saxon-Anhalt. Schultze (Horst Krause) has spent most of his life working in a salt mine with his lifelong friends Jürgen (Harald Warmbrunn) and Manfred (Karl-Fred Müller). It's apparently an existence based on routine, to the point where you can tell these three men in their 50s are best buddies, even though they barely share any words in the film's first 15 minutes.
Then the unthinkable happens when all three are forced into early retirement, with little more to show for it than a souvenir lamp—made of salt, no less. It's too late in life to find new fulfilling work in this modern era. What now?
With their jobs behind them, life seems to lose meaning for these three. They hang out at the local pub, do some fishing, and play the occasional game of chess. But at least Jürgen and Manfred have families to keep them occupied. Schultze, the quietest of the trio, is unmarried and seems to live in the modern equivalent of a shack. The only thing he has to look forward to outside of time with his friends is participation in the community music club, where he lives in the shadow of his late father and continues to play ...1
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Schultze Gets the Blues
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