Germany | Belgium 2015
Opening September 17, 2015
Directed by: Wolfgang Becker
Writing credits: Wolfgang Becker, Thomas Wendrich
Principle actors: Daniel Brühl, Jesper Christensen, Amira Casar, Denis Lavant, Geraldine Chaplin
This satirical view on ‘the art-world’ is based on David Kehlmann’s novel Me and Kaminski. ‘Me’, that’s Sebastian Zöllner, a would-be artist who turned to writing art reviews after he failed to get accepted into the art academy. He has some clear ideas how to get ahead in this line of business. One is writing favorable reviews to suck up to galleries and artists. This hasn’t really paid off yet and he has been living off his girlfriend. Nonetheless, this arrogant and rude egocentric—portrayed by Daniel Brühl in a hilarious and pitch-perfect performance—beams with self-importance and confidence. His ‘plan B’ is based on the premises that an artist is worth more dead than alive. He will write a biography on Kaminski, a painter who once was the darling of the art scene but suddenly retreated to live in a remote area, shielded by a few confidants. Zöllner’s book shall be the first out after the artist’s death, and in his estimation the death of the old man is imminent. He intrudes the artist’s household and conducts his ‘research’ rather boldly and scrupulous. Kaminski (Christensen) on the other hand might just not be as naïve or frail as expected.
The script is fun, populated with illustrious characters, and the more enjoyable if the viewer has some knowledge of art, to appreciate the name-dropping and innuendos. Zöllner is also the first-person narrator, which gives his character additional opportunities to shine with comical lines. Last but not least: great art direction and camera (Jürgen Jürges); the enjoyable closing credits are like an animated short, and not to be missed! (Carola A.)