THE CUCKOO AND THE DONKEY

DER KUCKUCK UND DER ESEL

By Andreas ARNSTEDT

QUESTIONMARK ENTERTAINMENT - as PROD

Black comedy - Completed 2015


Festivals
& Awards

Hofer Filmtage 2014
Förderpreis Neues Deutsches Kino
Snowdance Festival 2016
Regiepreis
    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Black comedy
    • Countries
    • GERMANY
    • Languages
    • GERMAN
    • Budget
    • 0.6 - 1 M$
    • Duration
    • 95 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Andreas ARNSTEDT
    • Producer(s)
    • Martin LEHWALD (Schiwago Filmproduktion), Andreas ARNSTEDT (Questionmark Entertainment)
    • Synopsis
    • "The Cuckoo and the Donkey" is a story about an obsessed author, the destructive influence of TV stations on cinema, finding the strength to resist it - all told with humour, rigour, and no little political punch. And it's a story about the Jewish Weitzmann family, who live in the countryside outside Berlin. Following the death of his mother ten years ago, the less than successful author Conrad Weitzmann resolved to make a film about the bond between his parents - for him the greatest love story in human history.
      So he wrote the screenplay - The Orange Grove - and got in touch with a TV station where he found the producer Stuckradt Halmer, who seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the project. But five years of email correspondence later, Conrad was forced to admit that he had not made any progress. Even though he wrote new drafts and made countless alterations at the behest of the TV station, to the extent that little remained of his original story, the producer keeps demanding new versions, until Conrad finally realized that the script would never be finished, even if he spent another five years working on it. So he made a fatal decision: together with his father Ephraim, the Jewish author Conrad Weitzmann kidnapped the German producer Stuckradt Halmer. At this point, our story begins. Stuckradt Halmer spends the next six months trapped in the Weitzmanns' cellar, refusing at first to work on Conrad's script - in fact he can't even remember it, even though he has supposedly been developing it for the past five years. But Ephraim, a survivor of the Breslau concentration camp who later fought in Gaza and deserted the Israeli army, is not squeamish about employing some brutal techniques to force the producer to cooperate. The audience gets a glimpse of the opaque world of TV broadcasters that the producer uncovers. We dive into a system where no one really has responsibility - there is always another authority to answer to. Together, the author and the producer discover the structures of the German broadcast media landscape, where generations of authors and film-makers have failed and still fail now. The two men question the competence, or rather the incompetence, of the people in charge. As the screenplay changes from one day to the next - a love story between a Jew and a German after the end of World War II becomes the story of an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man, since "the market for Jewish conflicts is not very big in Germany" - the producer becomes caught in the faultlines of German-Israeli history and has to recognize the fact that, "as a German nothing you do in this situation is right." The Israeli-Palestinian conflict also becomes woven into the narrative, and the audience is made to confront how irreconcilable the two peoples have become. By the end, Conrad has grasped that independent film-making is fundamentally impossible in Germany, and that getting your script made means stepping over corpses. But Weitzmann is ready for that too!
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