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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Fame (Ruhm)

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Starts March 22

Original language: German

Identity and reality are the central themes of Fame, a bestselling episodic novel in nine stories. True to life, their characters’ fate is linked in unsuspecting ways: minor actions here, snowball into major changes elsewhere; fictional figures within this fiction depend on their writer for their destiny; and all of the above are in this aspect ‘at the mercy’ of Fame’s author Daniel Kehlmann.

Joachim (Justus von Dohnanyi) receives cell phone calls intended for actor Ralf Tanner (Heino Ferch) and soon becomes rather addicted to slipping into his identity – if only by phone. In a simultaneous ploy Ralf’s celebrity-life has been taken over by a look alike. Pushed out of the way by a double and his phone connections mysteriously lost, he is free to leave stardom behind. Why his (and many others’) phone number was assigned twice … that’s another story.

Leo (Stefan Kurt) is a famous author. While his girlfriend Elisabeth (Julia Koschitz), serves him unwillingly as model for a fictional character, internet-blogger Mollwitt (Axel Ranisch) would like nothing better. Rosalie (Senta Berger), who is aware of being a figment of Leo’s imagination, ‘decides’ to commit assisted suicide; writer-colleague Maria (Gabriele Maria Schmeide) will be sorry to have accepted a tour through a former east block country on behalf of him.

The novel with its strong pictorial style begs to be made into a film. Readers will want to watch any film version – out of curiosity how it would be artistically solved and how the challenge was met, not to lose the viewer in confusion. One can always re-read a chapter (and will be rewarded with detecting yet another angle). A film needs to help here in other ways. Interestingly this has been billed as “the first film adaptation of the book”. I hope it won’t be the last. One may argue over Isabel Kleefeld’s (script direction) choice to cut out (3) chapters and rearrange others to incorporate their thoughts. But I had hoped for some wonderful artistic ideas to mirror the inventiveness of the book and to help with a better orientation through a slightly confusing universe.

Direction & Script: Isabel Kleefeld after a book by Daniel Kehlmann with Justus von Dohnányi, Senta Berger, Heino Ferch, Julia Koschitz, Stefan Kurt, Thorsten Merten, Axel Ranisch, Gabriela Maria Schmeide
Camera: Rainer Klausmann

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