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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Ludwig II

Germany 2012
Starts 26 December 2012

Directed by: Peter Sehr and Marie Noëlle
Writing credits: Peter Sehr and Marie Noëlle    

This biographical drama centers on the life and vision of Ludwig II of Bavaria. In 1864, 18-year-old Ludwig II (Sabin Tambrea, later Sebastian Schipper) ascends the throne of Bavaria. Unlike many of his contemporary colleagues, Ludwig wants peace and happiness for his subjects. Being a major romantic, he also wants his kingdom to be the centre of beauty. Therefore, he spends large sums of public funds on his artistic vision. He begins building the now world-renown Bavarian castles of Herrenchiemsee, Königshaus am Schachen, Linderhof and Neuschwanstein. Another big passion of his is the music of the composer Richard Wagner (Edgar Selge), whom he meets and also finances. When Austria seeks an alliance with Bavaria in order to fight a war against Prussia, Ludwig reluctantly agrees to go to war. But when the war is lost, the war victims burden his conscience. Heavy hearted, Ludwig realizes that the world will never “value art more than bread”, so he decides to lead a reclusive life among the beauty he created. All the while, his conservative cabinet of ministers is not amused by the expenses for things deemed “useless” running high. And so rumors arise, that the “fairy-tale-king” is not just a romantic, but actually mad.

As far as I know, this story was told with great historical accuracy. I liked to see Sabin Tambrea playing an unusual and complicated personality with great intensity. Ludwig once said about himself that “his majesty shall be an eternal mystery”, and in that he succeeded. But besides that, there is not much happening in this movie other than Ludwig being an eccentric dandy in the beginning and a tragic eremite at the end, letting the plot drag on a bit. All in all, this is an eye-pleasing movie with depth, but not too much entertainment potential.  ()

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