Friday, 26 September 2014

Film #26: Wer früher stirbt ist länger tot

Directed by: Marcus H. Rosenmüller
Released: 2006
English title (IMDb): Grave Decisions 
Literal translation of title: The sooner you die, the longer you’re dead 

For a slight change, this week I watched a film that is not yet available with English subtitles. And to be honest, even if you speak German, you may still need subtitles! The Bavarian dialect in this film is so strong that the only way I could understand it was by reading the “standard German”. If you can understand it, I really think this film is worth seeking out for its mix of broad comedy and tragedy.

Upon learning that his mother died giving birth to him, young Sebastian becomes obsessed with mortality – keeping his mother’s memory alive, what will happen to him when he does die and how to become immortal. Along the way, he tries to reanimate a dead rabbit, helps an old woman to fly and casts a love spell. But the amusement is punctuated by sadness – his father’s grief, the loneliness that can develop in an unhappy marriage – and genuine peril for Sebastian himself.

The film also has a strong visual element: Sebastian begins to dream of the Last Judgement as he becomes convinced that he is a murderer and his imagination takes flight. What I really liked about the film was the way it deftly combines childhood and death with a result that is heart-warming and heart-breaking in equal measure. It’s a real shame that this has not been released with English subtitles, but hopefully that will change at some point.


  1. Glad you got around to watching this, Sarah, and hope it wasn't too impenetrable. As you say, it has a strong visual element. I have fond memories of watching this at Tacheles in Berlin.

    1. I would have been a bit lost without the subtitles, but I think this is one of the best films I've watched since I started the blog.