falderal : a moving images blog
Jakob, der Lügner (Jacob the Liar) ; 1975  ·  Posted by Tallulah

Director: Frank Beyer
Actors: Vlastimil Brodský, Erwin Geschonneck, Henry Hübchen, Blanche Kommerell, Manuela Simon
Country: German Democratic Republic (East Germany)

Jakob, der Lügner is a film that I would have never expected from the GDR, but then again, my view of the GDR is completely skewed. Thank goodness I’m slowly starting to get out of my “EAST GERMANS ARE CRAZY COMMUNISTS” mindset. It’s not the story that was shocking but the way the film was shot seemed a bit experimental to me. I haven’t watched many East German films, but for some reason, the editing of this film made me think of the various European New Waves.

Most people might know this film due to the fact that it was remade into a film starring Robin Williams. I haven’t watched that version yet, but I was rather satisfied with this version. I also read the book, which I highly recommend because I think it adds more to the film and I can see why certain aspects were filmed a certain way and it just gives more depth to the scenes. I didn’t think the acting was all that great, but at the same time, it just felt right for this film. I did have a little crush on Henry Hübchen, who plays Mischa, but that’s not really relevant. I was glad that Vlastimil Brodský was chosen to play the titular character because he was PERFECT. This film was also my first film with Erwin Geschonneck, one of the biggest stars in DEFA films, except I didn’t know it was him until I watched two other films with him. Ok, I’m digressing. I really don’t know what to say because whenever I watch it, I think, “Wow, this is great! I want to post about this, and this, and this…” and then I just forget all that.

An interesting fact is that it’s the only DEFA film that was nominated for an Academy Award. Makes you think a little about why that is so.

One scene that particularly struck me was the scene of Kowalski’s (Geschonneck) suicide because of the way it was shot. Even before you see Kowalski’s body, you know that it is him. Trust me, when you see the shot, it’ll leave an impression

This film also had me thinking a lot because of how the film ends. Although ambiguous, I still think that it is quite certain that all of them are being sent to concentration camps. Whether or not the characters we saw in this film survive, they still go through something that were even more terrible than the ghettos. Then what was the point of Jakob telling all these lies? It’s as if everything was irrelevant such as the actions of the characters in this film and the film itself. Even the film starts with proclamations that imply subjectivity and the uncertainty of things. When I saw them I scoffed and said to myself witheringly, “Oh, how ~*postmodern*~”, but now that I watched it again, I think that it adds more to the film.

And I just have to add, Lina (Simon) WAS THE MOST ANNOYING THING EVER. I just wanted to smack her every time I she came on the screen. Somehow I feel like I’m the only one who thinks this.

IMDb Link: Jakob, der Lügner
Where to buy: Amazon.com, DEFA Film Library

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