Glutmensch (1982)

Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature]  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - West Germany  |  
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The "Glowing Man" of the title of this biography is Christian Friedrich Hebbel (1813-1863), whose artistic inspiration "glowed" or "lit up" his being -- to such an extent that he is not only considered among Germany's greatest classical dramatists -- he was also burnt out at 50, dying thin and frail. Director Jonatan Briel who has already made three previous biographical films, focuses on Hebbel's deathbed, and films the dramaturge as he recalls the traumatic lows and inspirational highs of his life. Hebbel (Werner Brunn) remembers the years he spent growing up on the cold northern coast of Germany among stoic fishermen whose only literary possession was the Bible. Hebbel learned to read using the Good Book and learned to write based on his own life experience and the powerful landscape and figures that surrounded him. When he grew out of childhood, his first romantic relationship was with Elise Lensing (Iris Schwarzer) with whom he had two children, but never married. The next major love of his life was Christine Enghaus (Brigitte Reimers), a Viennese actress. As Hebbel lies on his deathbed, he remembers these aspects of his life, and his hallucinations introduce other great writers, and excerpts from his well-known dramas, such as "Die Nibelungen" -- completed one year before he died. As the film ends and Hebbel becomes a memory, the viewers are left with a greater appreciation of the writer, his talent, and the incredible drive to create that kept him writing exceptional things throughout a life that may have been shortened by overwork.