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Narcissus and Goldmund

An opulent adaptation of Hermann Hesse‘s novel set in the Middle Ages about two boys who meet each other in monastery school. Narziss wants to join the monastery while Goldmund wants to explore the world.


Hermann Hesse‘s novel “Narziss und Goldmund“ (1930) is about the search for a full life and artistic fulfilment, using the example of two boys who are close friends while in a monastery but then have to go their separate ways. Goldmund wants to explore the world in order to find his mother and experiences love, death, and violence and ends up becoming an artist while Narziss remains in the monastery and focuses on asceticism and meditation. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky (ANATOMY, THE COUNTERFEITERS) sets the tale in the fantastical Middle Ages reminiscent of children‘s fairy tale adaptations like DREI NÜSSE FÜR ASCHENBRÖDEL which isn‘t so unfitting, strangely enough, since Hesse‘s stories are parables set in fantasy worlds. However, he makes the boys seem very contemporary. When little Goldmund is brought to the monastery by his father, the slightly older Narziss isn‘t excited about taking care of the boy, but the kind abbot wants the little ascetic to break the rules a little. When the abbot and sculptor meet each other again in the monastery as adults, they race each other like in a buddy movie. The idea that the deep love that Narziss feels for his friend could be sexual is at least set up as a possibility. At the same time, a lot of things in Hesse‘s world of ideas seem very strange in this day and age, especially when it comes to women. They don‘t appear as independent people in Hesse‘s universe, but rather as functions in the lives of our heroes: they‘re either experiences that you take with you along the way (Goldmund), something you miss at the end of your life (Narziss), or the mother that Goldmund searches for his entire life, because “without a mother you can‘t love and without a mother you can‘t die.“ It‘s a strange combination.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Narziss und Goldmund
Deutschland 2020, 110 min
Genre: Drama, Literary Film Adaptations
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Author: Stefan Ruzowitzky, Robert Gold
DOP: Benedict Neuenfels
Montage: Britta Nahler
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Cast: Emilia Schüle, Roxane Duran, Jannis Niewöhner, Kida Khodr Ramadan, Jessica Schwarz
FSK: 12
Release: 12.03.2020


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