Toni Erdmann (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
April 9, 2017 by Dennis Amith
It is very common for us cineaste to go back into the past and select films that shocked us, that surprised us and enjoing cinema that inspires us. Films that we are truly passionate for, because of the director’s vision, a film’s creativity and originality and for some auteurs that have created such films, we have regarded these films as a masterpiece. I feel that I can watch Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” over and over, enjoy it and know that I have watched a masterpiece. Each time you watch “Toni Erdmann”, you gain a deeper appreciation for the film and it’s a true feeling that makes you proud that cinema is still alive! “Toni Erdmann” is recommended!
© 2016 Komplizen Film. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Toni Erdmann
YEAR OF FILM: 2016
DURATION: 133 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, German, English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics
RATED: R (Strong Sexual Content, Graphic Nudity, Language and Brief Drug Use)
AVAILABLE ON: April 11, 2017
Directed by Maren Ade
Screenplay by Maren Ade
Produced by Maren Ade, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski, Michel Merkt
Co-Producer: David Keitsch, Sebastian Schipper, Antonin Svoboda, Bruno Wagner
Executive Produced by Ada Solomon
Line Producer: Ben von Dobeneck
Cinematography by Patrick Orth
Edited by Heike Parplies
Casting by Viorica Capdefier, Nina Haun, Amanda Tabak
Production Design by Silke Fischer
Art Direction by Malina Ionescu
Set Decoration by Katja Schlomer
Costume Design by Gitti Fuchs
Sandra Huller as Ines Conradi
Peter Simonischek as Winfried
Michael Wittenborn as Henneberg
Thomas Loibi as Gerald
Trystan Putter as tim
Ingrid Bisu as Anca
Hadewych Minis as Tatjana
Lucy Russell as Steph
Victoria Cocias as Flavia
Alexandru Papadopol as Dascalu
Victoria Malektorovych as Natalja
Winfried rarely sees Ines since she left for a high-powered corporate job. So when he drops by to visit, the two quickly find themselves at odds as his quirky antics clash with her slick lifestyle. Determined to be part of her world, Winfried reappears as alter ego “Toni Erdmann,” an outrageous life coach who turns his daughter’s career plans upside-down. In the course of all the madness, the two discover that maybe they have more in common than they imagined.
From filmmaker, writer and producer Maren Ade (“Everyone Else”, “The Forest for the Trees”) comes the German/Austrian comedy-drama “Toni Erdmann”.
The film stars Sandra Huller (“Requiem”, “Uber Uns Das All”, “Brownian Movement”), Peter Simonischek (“Oktober November”, “Geburtig”, “Saphirblau”), Michael Wittenborn (“Wir Sind Die Neuen”, “Ein Freund Von Mir”, “Yella”), Thomas Loibl (“Ende der Schonzeit”, “3096 Days”, “Like a Cast Shadow”), Trystan Putter (“Phoenix”, “War Horse”, “Passion”), Ingrid Bissu (“Outbound”, “BloodRayne”), Hadewych Minis (“Borgman”, “Bloed, Zweet & Tranen”) and Lucy Russell (“Following”, “The Lady and the Duke”).
The film has received critical acclaim and was named “Best Film of 2016” by “Sight & Sound” and won five awards at the 29th European Film Awards for “Best Film” (the first for a film directed by a woman), “Best Director”, “Best Screenwriter”, “Best Actor” and “Best Actress”. The film was also nominated for “Best Foreign Language Film” at the 89th Academy Awards.
And now “Toni Erdmann” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
The film begins with the introduction of Winfried Conradi (portrayed by Peter Simonischek), a divorced music teacher and often likes to pull pranks, take on different personas and sport fake teeth.
Since the divorce, he hasn’t had much of a relationship with his daughter Ines (portrayed by Sandra Huller), a business consultant and is currently working on an outsourcing project in the oil industry and so, she is always busy and doesn’t have much time for anyone, including her family. That even Winfried makes jokes that he wants to hire a replacement daughter to cut his nails.
After the death of his dog, Winfried decides to travel to Bucharest, Romania spontaneously without letting Ines know that he is coming.
Surprised by the visit, Ines allows her father accompany him to a reception at the American Embassy with Henneberg, a German oil company CEO and Ines is desperate in trying to secure a consulting contract with him.
While at the reception, Winfried ends up talking to Henneberg and jokes about hiring a replacement daughter to cut his nails and because of this, Henneberg ends up inviting both Ines and her father for drinks.
Winfried gets to see how life is for her daughter as she is constantly stressed out, doesn’t get much sleep and when she oversleeps one day, she gets upset and gives her father a hint that she’s too busy and they will meet up when she has the time.
After a difficult day of trying to win a contract with Henneberg, Ines goes out with her two friends for dinner but out of nowhere, a man approaches and offers them drinks. He introduces himself as Toni Erdmann and to Ines’ shock, the man is her father in another disguise. Toni tells the women that he is in Bucharest to attend the funeral of his friend’s turtle.
And this is just the beginning as Ines starts to see Toni Erdmann at major parties and also near her office but she allows her father to continue with his jokes and not acknowledging to anyone that he is her father.
But will this odd behavior from her father push her away, considering how frustrated and unfulfilled she is with work?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
It’s important to note that if you want the best picture and audio quality, a Blu-ray release of “Toni Erdmann” is available. With that being said, the film is presented in 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen and in German/English 5.1 Dolby Digital with English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.
Picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and I didn’t notice any major artifacts or problems with video. Dialogue is primarily dialogue-driven with surround channels primarily ambiance (especially during scenes with crowds).
But for the most part, picture and audio quality on DVD is very good.
“Toni Erdmann” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with actress Sandra Huller, actor Peter Simonischek and producer Janine Jackowski.
- Toni Erdmann at AFI Fest – (16:04) Featuring scenes from the red carpet and Q&A.
- Theatrical Trailer
Whenever one can watch cinema that makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you want to watch it over and over again, you know that film is truly special.
Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” is no doubt a special film free from banality, creative and original and not predictable.
It’s one thing to have a film about a father wanting to reconnect with his busy, stressed-out daughter and as the film slowly introduces us to Winnfried and Ines in the first half of the film, showing us how the father is literally a class clown but just wants to be a part of his daughters life.
While Ines is always frustrated, feels underappreciated and literally does whatever she can to win a contract, even if it means meeting a client’s wife to help her with shopping. You can literally feel the tension, the frustration that she is on a verge of a nervous breakdown.
So, when her father shows up spontaneously to Bucharest without letting her know and during a time she is trying to win a major client, it’s one thing as daughter gives her father a chance to see how her life is.
By the second half of the film, we then start to see her father taking on the persona of Toni Erdmann and somehow ending up at posh parties that she is attends and somehow seeing him continue with this a ridiculous persona but yet letting him continue.
But it’s certain scenes, while very sexual or have a lot of nudity that come out of nowhere and just shows us how Ines is dealing with her life and literally giving a message of “I don’t give a f*ck anymore!”.
And as for Winnfried, as a father knowing that despite her busy and tough nature, somewhere inside her, she still daddy’s little girl.
The performances by actress Sandra Huller and Peter Simonishchek was truly amazing. Huller gives us a performance of a lifetime and she just gets better and better with each film that she stars in.
Overall, it is very common for us cineaste to go back into the past and select films that shocked us, that surprised us and enjoing cinema that inspires us. Films that we are truly passionate for, because of the director’s vision, a film’s creativity and originality and for some auteurs that have created such films, we have regarded these films as a masterpiece. I feel that I can watch Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” over and over, enjoy it and know that I have watched a masterpiece.
Each time you watch “Toni Erdmann”, you gain a deeper appreciation for the film and it’s a true feeling that makes you proud that cinema is still alive!
“Toni Erdmann” is recommended!
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