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Cannes title, Toni Erdmann, to open Munich festival

The Munich Film Festival will open with the German film by Maren Ade called Toni Erdmann, one of the most endearing films at Cannes 2016.

world cinema Updated: Jun 04, 2016 15:41 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Hindustan Times
Cannes

German film Toni Erdmann is a delightful arthouse comedy by Maren Ade.(Cannes Film Festival)

The Cannes Competition title, Maren Ade’s German-language Toni Erdmann, will open the Munich Film Festival on June 23. The festival runs till July 2.

One of the most endearing movies at Cannes 2016, Toni Erdmann -- a first from Germany in several years -- was actually a hot favourite of critics. They had given a big ranking for the film in the Screen Critics Grid, but Toni Erdmann could not grab the jury’s eyeballs.

A delightful arthouse comedy by Ade -- who won Berlin’s Silver Bear in 2009 for Everyone Else -- Toni Erdmann is an extraordinarily touching story of a father’s bid to get his grown-up daughter to loosen up and be less of a workaholic. To achieve this, the father, Winfried (played by Austrian theatre veteran Peter Simonischek), disguises himself in a variety of ways to elicit laughter from his girl, Ines (German leading lady Sandra Huller).

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At three hours, there is never a dull moment, and here are two of what this writer considers the very best scenes. At the start of the movie, we see Winfried greeting a courier as himself only to return a few minutes later as someone else, much to the amusement of the delivery boy. Later, we see Ines host a party, where she greets her guests in the buff and insists that all of them strip as well. One woman leaves disgusted at the idea of parading in a party stark naked, but returns soon after to be part of a sporting crowd. The full-frontal nudity scene is hilarious at many points, and has no trace of titillation or vulgarity.

Watch Toni Erdmann trailer here:

With charmingly refreshing performances by the two, Toni Erdmann, tells us about Winfried -- a music teacher at a provincial German town, divorced and with just a dog for company, and when his high-strung daughter comes visiting him, he can hardly get any time with her, the constant buzz of her mobile telephone from her office playing a spoilsport intruder.

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When Ines goes back to her work in Brussels, the father follows her, and through a series of intrusive appearances at her workplace and a bewildering variety of disguises (once he wears a bear’s mask), he manages to instil a sense of balance into her. There is tear-jerking poignancy when Ines runs after her father as he walks out of her flat, dejected and depressed. Papa, she calls out when she sees him sitting forlornly on a park bench, and hugs him.