Seelenwanderung (1964)

Run Time - 78 min.  |   Countries - West Germany  |  
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Based on a script by German playwright Karl Wittlinger, this satirical feature follows the lives of two fellow winos. Axel and Bum one day find themselves contemplating their misery as they drink. Bum concludes that his soul is the root of all his problems and decides to find a way to rid himself of it. Axel suggests that he place it into a box and pawn it to a shop. After doing so, Bum immediately becomes a successful businessman. As he gains more wealth and prestige, he forgets his old drinking buddy. While Bum's fate is soon sealed, Axel remains his old self. Originally made for video on a budget of $75,000, the film won the Prix Italia in 1962. Director Rainer Erler had previously worked as an assistant to the prolific German director Kurt Hoffmann. Interestingly, Seelenwanderung shared many similarities with the 1958 Hoffmann film (based on a novel by Hugo Hartung) Wir Wunderkinder/Aren't We Wonderful? about two friends who part ways during WW II.