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Westler [DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Sigurd Rachman, Rainer Strecker, Andy Lucas, Frank Rediess, Andreas Bernhardt
  • Directors: Wieland Speck
  • Writers: Wieland Speck, Egbert Hörmann
  • Producers: Andreas Schreitmüller
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, German, Russian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Peccadillo
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Mar. 2001
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056N3X
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,406 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Compelling male romance across the challenge of the Berlin Wall with superb period Cold War detail. 15 Rated

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I was a little unsure as to what to make of the beginning of Westler. The first several minutes are shot in Los Angeles and almost led me to believe that I was watching the wrong movie! However, once the plot moved to Berlin in the early 1980's the story took off and the movie turned into both a sweet romance between two love-struck men from either side of the East/West divide and a sad indictment of the way in which the former East German state stifled the lives of its citizens.
The movie is fascinating from an historical point of view alone but the love story holds up well.
The story revolves around a young West Berliner, on a sightseeing trip with his curious American friend, having a chance meeting with a likeable East Berliner and the two instantly falling in love. The movie expertly highlights the problems associated with love across the divide in that time.
The music is dated and the film footage shot in East Berlin and Prague decidedly grainy (due to it being shot without attracting the attention of the authorities there). But both of these only add to the historical element of Westler and serve to reinforce the fact that this was life in a different time.
Very watchable.
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By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD
This film of 1985 is set in the Berlin of 1983. As its title indicates, it concerns the physical boundaries that beset those in love on each side of the wall. American Bruce is on holiday in West Berlin with his German friends. Naturally he wants to see life on the other side, so Felix takes him there on a daytrip through the gateway of the Friedrichstrasse station. But whilst there Felix meets cute Thomas: west meets east, which under the circumstances does not make for an easy relationship. So near, and yet so far. A plan is made to get Thomas out of the east ...

The film is an obvious good idea, but poorly executed. The film was shot using a hand-held camera, which is clearly problematical at times. The picture can be grainy at times too. The East Berlin exterior shots have the appearance of a home movie. They are without sound and are often out of focus. Whilst adopting contemporary 1980s electronic synthesisers, the resulting soundtrack is not inspiring. But this is to be a little unfair, for much of the faults in production were necessitated by the difficult circumstances of filming, and I would imagine that the budget was not huge. The acting is competent and indeed good in places.

There are some extras to flesh out the disc. As well as details on the cast and crew, and a text all about the Berlin Wall, the value of these extras certainly lies in the ten-minute super-8 film of East Berlin that comes with a commentary (post-1989) by the director, Wieland Speck. During the commentary, Speck tells us how the plot of `Westler' was semi-autobiographical. He also explains the difficulties he had in making it: he was not allowed to record sound whilst in the east, nor were the actors allowed to act!
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By A Customer on 6 July 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Westler is more than the upbeat positive gay love story that it is. It is an irreplaceable record of the east/west Berlin life.
Well worth a look on both counts.
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Format: VHS Tape
Westler has to be THE most depressing story about impossible gay love ever filmed. I was fascinated throughout, but the bleakness of life in Berlin in those years made me feel uneasy. This is certainly not the best gay movie ever, but it is one of the more impressive. The bad and grainy quality of the images only enhance the gritty truth. And as a time document it absolutely has its value. I would have given it 5 stars as the film really moved me, were it not for technical faults. My 4 stars are certainly well-deserved.
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Format: DVD
Westler is really a touching, poetic film in the way it shows the fairly tentative love between East Berliner Thomas and the Westler of the title, Felix - not the one shown on the box, confusingly. It took me back to that period exactly, when I was about the age of the characters and spending time in Europe, so that I had an uncanny feeling of being taken back into my own experience, and I think any child of the 60s is likely to feel the same. It's not that the emotions are any different than now, but there is a slight restraint and hesitancy which would be less the case today, and the clothes, hairstyles, and music help give a strong sense of time and place. The laid-back approach to the actual plot is also not very in tune with today's films that tend to have a tighter working out of the drama, but the gain is immeasurable in the sense that we have plenty of time to observe Berlin, the streets and bars, the way the shops were, and people's flats, in a way that often seems quite neglected or fake in modern films. In the bar they go to as a trio on the first day the boys meet, for instance, I was very struck by the wine glasses, that are so typically German with their thick ribbed stems in a different colour from the clear top part, which has a beautiful vine motif going round it ... there is time to look at this sort of thing. In the street scenes in the East there is no dialogue, emphasising this visual approach, with grainy footage, but at the same time the film is emotionally involving ... How much more than, say, The Sex Of Angels, the recently released Barcelona gay-ish drama that seems to be all about joining up dots to create an entertainment in the abstract.Read more ›
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