Director/screenwriter Franziska Buch has updated Erich KÃ¤stner's classic 1929 tale and set it in 21st century Berlin. As in each of the previous film versions (the first, in 1931, was scripted by Billy Wilder), the story remains essentially the same as KÃ¤stner's original. Young Emil Tischbein gets robbed on the train as he travels to the big city for a visit with relatives. In Berlin he enlists the help of a band of young "detectives" to track down the evil Max Grundeis (JÃ¼rgen Vogel), the man who relieved him of his money.
But in Buch's 2001 update, Emil (Tobias Retzlaff) now lives with his divorced dad, rather than his widowed mom, as in the book and the earlier films. The kids of Berlin now run around with cell phones, listen to hip-hop music, use computers, and enlist copy machines to track down bad guys. Buch's screenplay also throws in heavy doses of "Frauenpower"â€”with strong feminine roles. Pony HÃ¼tchen (Anja Sommavilla) shows Emil who's boss by knocking him flat on his back at their first meeting.
Filmed in the summer of 2000 in Berlin, EMIL UND DIE DETEKTIVE showcases the German capital in much the same way the 1931 version did. People familiar with Berlin will enjoy seeing many Berlin sights in the film. (An interesting contrast: Compare 2001 Berlin with the city 70 years earlier. All three German versions are now on DVD. The 1964 Disney version is not.) Naturally, viewers can enjoy the 2001 version in and of itself, but it's more interesting to have the perspective of history and KÃ¤stner's original story.
EMIL UND DIE DETEKTIVE is a movie that people under the age of 12 or so will like better than most people over that age. It's not a bad film, but as one German reviewer put it, there have been better German movies. Whether the skateboarding, hip-hopping, "cool" big city kids of today are an improvement over the less colorful ragamuffins of the 1930s and '50s is open to debate, but most 21st century kids will prefer this film to the older versions. Teachers will find this a good G-rated film to use in the German classroom, especially in conjunction with some creative techniques for teaching geography, culture, and language. (See links for Web materials below.) The German DVD is a bit weak in extra features, but it does have some commentary by the director and main actors, plus a short "making of" clip.
I'm sure this has already been released here??? oh well, here it is again
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