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  • The Farewell - Brecht's Last Summer [DVD] [2001]
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The Farewell - Brecht's Last Summer [DVD] [2001]

4 customer reviews

Price: £6.33 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Josef Bierbichler, Monica Bleibtreu, Jeanette Hain, Elfriede Irrall, Margit Rogall
  • Directors: Jan Schütte
  • Writers: Klaus Pohl
  • Producers: Jan Schütte, Gesche Carstens, Hendryk Romanovski
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Dec. 2001
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RKRQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,678 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


East Germany, 1956. The summer is drawing to a close and acclaimed playwright Bertolt Brecht (Josef Bierbichler) is preparing to leave his lakeside house, ready for the new Berlin theatre season. His wife Helene and daughter Barbara are at the house, along with his lovers Isot and Käthe. Isot's husband is the political activist Wolfgang Harich, and his presence in the house draws the interest of the secret police. An official tells Helene that Wolfgang will soon be arrested, but advises her to keep this secret. Meanwhile, Bertolt's health continues to deteriorate.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By F. Mulvaney on 21 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD
The Farewell - Brecht's Last Summer (Abschied - Brechts letzter Sommer) was released in 2000 and is a complex and aesthetically beautifully crafted tribute and criticism of the life of one of the icons of theatre - the German Socialist poet, playwright, dramaturg and theorist Bertolt Brecht. Directed by Jan chütte, the film is framed in the last days of Brecht's life after his return to East Germany after WWII. The film captures the complexity of a man who is as much criticized as he is lauded. Viewers will enjoy this film more if they know something of the period or the man himself. The cinematography is superb and reminiscent of many European film makers. The slow moving plot allows an audience to delve into the complexities of Brecht's life, sexual relationships and character. Sepp Bierbichler's portrayal of Brecht is superb as is Monica Bleibtreu's Helene Weigel but hitherto unknown actress Margit Rogall in the role of Brecht's collaborator Ruth Berlau is breathtaking. A complex and enjoyable film for the thoughtful viewers.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 30 Aug. 2004
Format: DVD
The Farewell is a dark and artistic film which is likely to be enjoyed by fans of art house European cinema. The film attempts to encapsulate Brechts life into the few days immediately preceding his death, and is to a certain extent successful. The film will in all likelihood be enjoyed more by those with some background knowledge of the man himself. The pace of the film is slow and there is little in the way of action, with the emphasis clearly placed (unsurprisingly) on the exploration of Brechts character. There is a sexual content to the film but it is not intrusive in terms of disrupting the plot.
All in all an enjoyable, interesting, if not riveting film.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A very interesting story about the latter period of Brecht's life after he returns to the DDR from his exile in the USA.
The film is set at Brecht summer residents outside of Berlin with a group including wife, lovers and daughter.
I just loved the pace of this film, I am quite familiar with this part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the film reminded me of this strange eerie area with its beautiful lakes and woods the photography is stunning. Coupling this group of very highly strung individuals with a paranoid state is what gives this film its edgy feel.
I loved this film with some stellar performances from all in involved .Highly recommended.
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By S. Davidson on 4 Aug. 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great film about the great man himself!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Bertold Brecht's Farewell to an existencial existence 12 Mar. 2008
By W. T. Hoffman - Published on
Format: DVD
First off, this is a love story, about a man who just might love his hat, more than his wife, daughter, mistress, or ex mistress/washed up actress. Of course, that's not fair, but is one of the darkly comic motifs in the film. Bertold Brecht is one half of the revolutionary team, who gave us MAHAGONY, and THREE PENNY OPERA, with his ex-partner Kurt Weil. Whereas Weil "sold out" and moved to capitalistic Hollywood, and wrote musicials like ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, Brecht stayed in Germany (only leaving during the Nazi reign), and remained true to his communist beliefs. The film takes place during one day, in the Dacha, or cabin, that the East German Government gave to Brecht, in gratitude to the "artistic integrity" he gave the oppressive dictatorship of the DDR. Altho Brecht seems to remain true to his philosophy of Communism as opposistion to the bourgeious life of money grubbing capitalists, his only REAL loyalty isnt to Politics, or Country, but rather, the artistic Expression of a truly free Human Spirit, and how great drama can allow us to realize our own spirit's corruption by materialism, and social statis greed. I liked the movie, but, if i didnt know Brecht's work, or Marxist philosophy, or German post WWII history, I'd be a little bit lost. The film shows us Brecht at the end of his life, broken by his lack of loyalty to family, questioning his art, realizing he's in league with a government that isnt what he idealizes it as, and actually being killed (spiritually, with the physical heart as metaphor) by the people he hurt during his wild days as a communist "beatnik". In this film, a reflective old man, Brecht's "existencial" views have not served him well. He has a bitter wife, who has to put up with his open womanizing, a daughter who passive aggressively hates him for his treatment of her mother, a young mistress who is using him to further her career in the Theater, an old ex-mistress who's a total nut case, and an assistant who's spying for the Stazi. (East German Secret police.) Since the film occurs in one place, this Dacha, on one day, with only a handful of actors, it can be a little bit slow, if you are used to lots of action, lots of scenery, and casts of thousands. This film is a meditation piece. What if you devote your life, to art, to philosophy, and other esoteric beliefs, only to find that you doubt the correctness of your decisions, when you are dying? Brecht wanted to be the free thinker, the intellectual, the idealist, the sexually liberated man, but paid a price in the end. If this film is about anything, it's about how each of us pay for our choices in the end. The acting is incredible, just superb. And, you do end up feeling sadness for Brecht's wretched life, as he reflects on the lost potential of the world around him. The tragidy here, is that of Post WWII Europe, and especially Germany itself. Just as the continent was divided by the Iron Curtain, so was Brecht, and just as the promise of social equality thru communism ended with dictatorships, and cruel restrictions on human relationships, so too has Brecht found himself a victum of the "Free Love" anti-middle class restrictions he had revolted against as a young writer. I found this film overflowing with weltschmertz, and a menagerie of broken spirits. A great artist's life and heart become united, so that a broken spirit IS a broken heart, and leads to the only outcome it can...death. Here's a film that unites so many universal themes: of the artist in society, of betrayed love, and of youthful dreams unrealized. Please dont think this is a dramatized biography, or a propaganda story for Marxism. ITs about a very sensitive, intelligent man evaluating his gifts, and his life, as it comes to an end. A hidden gem in world cinema, to be sure, but not for everyone.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Let the Art Be... 5 Oct. 2010
By Dragon Irish - Published on
Format: DVD
Two reviews here that praise the film also come down on moral hobnail boots. This is an excellent film. All the moral dicta mentioned are present, but the art is finally art and let the morals be. This is a strange thing to say concerning a film about Brecht who never let the socialist morals be, indeed, made them his art's core. But when this film is over, you have experienced it and taken it inside. You shouldn't feel sorry for Brecht or above him. We all owe God a life that is done with the tools we have, as we owe God a death, and we all are fairly pathetic at the end--Willy Loman, Bertholt Brecht, you and I. (God here = useful fiction.) Well, that's a bit of moralizing, too, isn't it? Moral aestheticism? Aesthetic moralism? Anyway... Acting is brilliant. Editing is good. Story is whole.
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