Monday, September 15, 2014

Case Study No. 1575: Hans-Jorg Tschirner

Agnes und seine Bruder (2004)
Pretty obvious eh?
Tags: Agnes und seine Bruder
Added: 6 years ago
From: lapinbored
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[scene opens inside of a library, as the young male librarian (short brown hair, grey jacket, striped shirt, shoulder bag) walks past a row of computer terminals ("Katalogzentrum") and can't help noticing all of the good-looking women in revealing clothing sitting there]
[cut to a closeup of the librarian, as he nods at the women and smiles]
HANS-JORG: Hello ...
[cut to another shot of the camera panning across the young women seated at the computers, then back to the librarian]
HANS-JORG: Good day.
[none of the women smiles back, as another female patron (wearing a tight shirt and cargo jeans which reveal a tatoo on her lower back) walks in front of him]
[cut back to a shot of the librarian, as he looks away from the computer terminals long enough to notice another young woman (wearing a tight white t-shirt bearing her midriff and cutoff jeans) walking towards him and smiling ... he smiles back, but she walks right past him and hugs a younger man that was standing behind him]
[the librarian turns to look at them in disappointment ... but he continues walking forward, and ends up bumping into a male patron (nearly dropping his shoulder bag)]
PATRON: Watch where you're going!
HANS-JORG: Sorry ...
[he quickly walks away, but mumbles under his breath]
HANS-JORG: Asshole ...
[cut to another female patron (in a short white skirt) reaching for a book on the top shelf, when she looks over at something off camera and rolls her eyes]
[cut to the librarian at a nearby desk, as he quickly pretends to write something down (obviously having just been caught ogling at the woman) ... he picks up a stack of books and leans against the desk (still glancing in the direction of the woman)]
[cut back to the woman in the stacks, as the camera pans over to reveal two more scantily clad ladies in the stacks immediately behind her]
[cut to a closeup of the librarian's face (sweating profusely), as he puts the pen cap in his mouth]
[cut back to the two woman whispering to one another, as they suddenly turn and look at the librarian (snickering to each other)]
[cut back to the librarian, who quickly looks down at his books and scribbles some more notes ... but he can't help taking another quick glance in their direction (revealing even more young women sitting around in short skirts)]
[cut back to a closeup of the librarian, as he nervously clears his throat and looks at his watch]
[one of the young women gets up and starts walking in his direction, so the librarian (after taking a deep breath) gives a nervous smile as she walks past in slow motion]
HANS-JORG: Hello. Hi.
[she walks past without even acknowledging him, then cut to the librarian walking up the library staircase ... but he suddenly stops to stare up at the upper floor (as the camera cuts to three female patrons sitting with their legs spread, revealing their underwear under their skirts)]
[cut back to the librarian, who continues walking up the stairs and gives the women a quick smile and nod (but they just look at him with blank stares)]
[cut to the librarian walking through the stacks, when he notices the original blonde in the cutoff jeans sitting down and reading a book with her back to him]
[cut to a closeup of the librarian, as he pretends to be looking at one of the shelves]
[cut to the woman as she gets up and starts walking away, then takes a quick glance behind her (as the librarian quickly tries to hide behind the shelf so she doesn't notice he was staring at her)]



Agnes und seine Bruder (2004)
English title: Agnes and His Brothers

Stefan Arndt's drama focuses on three very different brothers, all searching for happiness.

Hans-Jorg Tschirner (Moritz Bleibtreu) is a sex addicted librarian, who is interested in young students.

Werner is a successful politician with a dysfunctional family.

Agnes, a transsexual, works as a table dancer in a nightclub.

The three brothers just have one thing in common: their longing for a happy life.



In writer-director Oskar Roehler's farce Agnes and His Brothers, Cologne is populated with freakishly exaggerated characters. As a horny librarian, Moritz Bleibtreu (Run Lola Run) wears unfortunate clothes and masturbates in the women's bathroom, newcomer Martin Weiss makes his screen debut as his fragile transsexual brother, and Herbert Knaup plays a conformist politician who takes dumps on his office floor and loves grilled sausages more than his tightlipped wife (Katja Rieman.)

Their stories are very loosely held together by a drunken ex-RAF father who never takes off his camoflage pants. The supporting cast consists of desperate butlers, flamboyant fashion stars, and porn actresses with hearts of gold. Roehler's parade of freaks and losers resembles the films of Todd Solondz (Happiness) or Ulrich Seidl (the Austrian director of the profoundly disturbing Hundstage), but neither Agnes nor her brothers ever feel real enough to truly shock.

There are a few moments when the peculiar combination of cliches pays off in sublime flashes of weirdness, but they are few and far between. When they're not having pitiful sex in convertibles, bleeding from botched sex-change operations, or getting chased by men with massive erections, Roehler's characters embarass themselves by vying for our sympathies. Agnes goes into the light, the librarian loser hooks up with the woman of his obscene dreams, and the suburban defacation artist finds hope in a field of mowed-down marijuana plants--in the end, every broken taboo is forgiven and melodrama wins out.



It's rarely a good idea to base a movie on a thesis instead of a story. Oskar Roehler's serio-comedy Agnes And His Brothers tries to make some incisive points about the damage wrought by society's sexual hang-ups, but though Roehler throws three different characters at the subject, only one halfway sticks. Martin Weiss fails to engage as a noble transsexual suffering bigotry, and Herbert Knaup fares little better as Weiss' older brother, an EU bureaucrat whose wife follows an elaborate bedtime ritual that doesn't include sex with her husband. Instead, Agnes And His Brothers lives and dies with Moritz Bleibtreu, the family's youngest, an archivist whose livelihood is threatened by his inability to stop spying on women in the library bathroom.

When Roehler yokes Agnes to Bleibtreu's point of view, the movie becomes as clammy and fidgety as it's intended to be. Roehler fills the frame with glimpses of women's bare hips, midriffs, and legs, and he fills the soundtrack with sensual pop music, capturing how the culture itself can drive sexually frustrated people crazy. But his insights don't dive much deeper. Aside from one well-observed scene where Knaup mistakenly thinks his wife is softening to his sexual advances because she laughs at one of his jokes, Agnes gets bogged down in silly shtick involving Knaup's son videotaping his dad defecating, and Bleibtreu trying to channel his sex addiction by becoming a porn star.

Left out of all the shenanigans? The character whose name gives the movie its title joke. Weiss gets to have a semi-sweet reunion with a former lover, but otherwise, he hangs around in the background, playing the neutered martyr. It says something about Roehler's vision for Agnes And His Brothers that he didn't think much about the movie's centerpiece character, beyond the simplistic irony of having the family transsexual be the most normal. It says that Roehler, for all his keen understanding of the dynamics of horniness, has no idea how to turn that understanding into a movie.

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