To Life!

To Life!

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Release Date: Thursday, 21 July 2016.
Starring Max Riemelt, Hannelore Elsner.
Directed by Uwe Janson.
Classification: M (Mature themes and coarse language), 90 mins.
Country: Germany .
Language: German (subtitled).

An uplifting drama-romance bringing together two disparate wounded souls, TO LIFE! is a crowd-pleasing story by screenwriter-author Stephan Glantz (Wunderkinder).

Strokes of fate have taken their toll on the ageing cabaret singer Ruth (Hannelore Elsner) and the seriously ill young Jonas (Max Riemelt). Yet despite their great age difference and their entirely opposite lifetime experiences, they form an intense bond and give each other a reason and purpose to live.

Ruth and Jonas meet on the day she is evicted from the apartment she’s lived in for decades. Jonas is one of the moving men sent to impound all her worldly possessions. When she sees Jonas, she’s taken aback by how much he resembles a man she loved in her youth. Jonas drives Ruth to her new accommodation in a sprawling, non-descript modern facility for the aged. In thanks, she gifts him a menorah. “When I was young, this country wanted to murder me by any means possible. Now that I am old, they lock me away in a room with barred windows,” she declares.

Ruth is a cabaret singer. She has no children, no family. She feels the best years of her life are behind her. Hours after her eviction, she attempts suicide by slitting her wrists in the bath. Jonas saves her life when he returns to her apartment in an act of goodwill.

Jonas sleeps in his van. He is a young man fleeing his life. Suffering from an incurable disease, he has abandoned his hometown and his girlfriend. With no place to sleep when his van is stolen outside the hospital, he returns to Ruth’s new apartment to clean the bloodied floors. There he discovers an old projector with a single film reel. It shows Ruth as a young woman singing in a club. There’s also a glimpse of Viktor, the young man whom he realizes he so closely resembles.

Now homeless, Jonas increasingly relies on Ruth. He learns more about her complex past, and the two, despite their difference in age, form a deep connection. As Ruth recovers strength and renewed purpose, Jonas’ battle with his debilitating illness becomes more apparent. With her friendship and wisdom, he learns to confront his fears, stop running and discover new meaning in life.


 

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