HOW I TAUGHT MYSELF TO BE A CHILD

WIE ICH LERNTE, BEI MIR SELBST KIND ZU SEIN

By Rupert HENNING

DOR FILM PRODUKTION GES.M.B.H. - as PROD

Drama - Completed 2018

The coming of age of young Paul Silberstein who lives by the motto: The possibilities for our future are endless!

    • Year of production
    • 2018
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • AUSTRIA
    • Languages
    • GERMAN
    • Duration
    • 140 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Rupert HENNING
    • Synopsis
    • Vienna in the 1950ies. Paul Silberstein, younger son of a wealthy Jewish confectionary manufacturer who has converted to Catholicism, grows up surrounded by wealth but in a family devoid of any deep affection. His father Roman Silberstein, a strictly old school figure, is a despotic, eccentric patriarch, a monarchist watching his world break up around him. As a passionate opponent of Hitler he was openly humiliated by the Nazis and driven into exile. Since his return he has waged a relentless battle to take revenge on everyone who betrayed him. However, his justified rage has in the prevailing conditions of post-war Austria, been transformed into bitter cynicism and he fails to find any happiness in his private life. He generally vents his wrath on his wife and children – and only his younger son Paul dares oppose his father’s random, cruel bullying.
      Roman consequently banishes the 12-year-old boy to Attweg, a Jesuit boarding school where life is dominated by fear and terror of sin. At every opportunity Paul escapes from this world of prohibitions and punishments by means of his imagination, dreaming of romantic encounters with the curly-haired girl Leonore, who he has glimpsed riding her pony on a field in the next property. From the roof of the boarding school he sends love letters to her, folded into paper planes. Unfortunately some of them fall into the wrong hands. Paul is duly punished and nothing remains for him but stubborn resistance, culminating in a kind of internal emigration.
      Not until his extravagantly beautiful but naive and distant mother appears at the school one day and informs Paul that his father has met his death does young Silberstein have the opportunity to escape from the oppressive confines of the "homesick fortress" Attweg.
      At the funeral of his father Paul meets his three extremely eccentric uncles. It is from them that he gradually discovers all the dubious secrets surrounding the family history of the Silbersteins – finally getting to know his father better and learning to understand Roman to some extent.
      Paul comes to understand that despite all family legacies he has to take charge of his destiny himself – particularly when it emerges that his father has left an immense mountain of debts, and the very future of the Silbersteins is in grave doubt.
      The most useful advice is that provided by Uncle Louis: "You are born as the first draft of a human being, and you have to spend the rest of your life making yourself into a real person".
      Paul takes these words to heart. He persuades his family not to send him back to the boarding school, bravely battles the daemonic legacy of his father – which still oppresses him and his mother – and finally embarks on the biggest adventure of his life so far: he sets out to find
      Leonore, the girl with curly hair who has captured his heart.

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