Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) - A 1979 German Film Directed by Voler Schlöndorff - 2 Hours 56 Minutes- Based on Gunter Grass's 1959 Novel

The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) - A 1979 German Film Directed by Voler Schlöndorff - 2 Hours 56 Minutes- Based on Gunter Grass's 1959 Novel

Available on YouTube, and The Criterion Channel 

I read The Tin Drum by Gunther Grass during German Literature Month November 2013.  Finding the movie online in 2023 was a marvelous surprise 

"I am very glad I have at last read The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass.   It is often listed among the 100 greatest 20th century novels. It is long sprawling account of life in Poland during the few years prior to the Nazi domination up through the war years.  The story is told through the very unreliable narration of Oskar Matzerath.  Oscar decided at age three never to get any bigger physically when he heard his father say he would be a grocer when he grew. He tells us the story partially from a mental hospital where he is confined.  Imagine a collaboration between Rabelais, Pynchon, and Hunter Thompson and you can get a feel for this book. We see how the people in the story, a motley collection of persons close to Oscar including two of his mother's lovers,  deal with and are impacted by the war.  The plot action is very imaginative.  Everyone praises the new translation of Breon Mitchell, which I read, and the quality of the prose is very high.  The novel is grand masterful account of the corruption the war brought to Poland.  Oscar has a weapon in that his voice can shatter all sorts of things.  We are always wondering how accurate are Oscar's perceptions, after all he is in a mental hospital.  I liked this book and I am glad I read it.  It is a challenging book but worth the effort.  It needs to be reread." From my post in 2013.

The Tin Drum (German: Die Blechtrommel) is a 1979 West German satirical war drama film directed by Volker Schlöndorff from a screenplay co-written with Jean-Claude Carrière and Franz Seitz, based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Günter Grass. It stars David Bennent as Oskar Matzerath, a boy born and raised in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) prior to and during World War II, who recalls the story's events as an unreliable narrator. The film also features Mario Adorf, Angela Winkler, Katharina Thalbach, Daniel Olbrychski, and Berta Drews in supporting roles.

The Tin Drum chronicles Oskar's life from his birth in 1924 to his adulthood in post-war Germany. At the age of three, Oskar falls down a flight of stairs and stops growing, both physically and mentally. He decides to remain a child and refuses to grow up in a world he sees as filled with hypocrisy and injustice. Oskar's primary weapon against the world is his tin drum, which he uses to shatter glass and make a piercing scream that can stun or even kill people.

The film's narrative is non-linear and often surreal, reflecting Oskar's childlike perspective. It jumps back and forth in time, and Oskar frequently breaks the fourth wall to address the audience directly. The film also uses a variety of visual techniques, including black and white, color, and slow motion, to create a dreamlike atmosphere.

The Tin Drum was a critical and commercial success. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 52nd Academy Awards, becoming the first German film to do so. It was also nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival. The film is considered to be one of the most important German films of all time.

Films by German directors are an important part of post World War One German Culture, from the groundbreaking silent classics of the Weimar Republic to the movies of Leni Reisenthal in celebration of Nazi rule, beloved by Goebels, to modern Oscar winners, I am pleased to see German Literature Month XIII now welcomes posts on Films by German Directors

This is a post for German Literature Month XIII 

German Literature Month is hosted by Lizzy’s Literary Life

Mel Ulm 


Marianne said...

I watched the movie half a century ago, more or less, when it first came out and read the book years later. Günter Grass is one of my favourite authors. And The Tin Drum is the first book of the Danzig trilogy. So, if you liked this one, you might also like the others.

Buried In Print said...

I remember how much you admired The Tin Drum. It's still on my TBR but I'm contemplating a mini-project of anti-war novels for next year, so perhaps I'll finally get to it.
Here's an interview with the author which I really enjoyed, in case you're in the mood: