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Der Räuber Hotzenplotz
Germany/Switzerland 2022

Opening 8 Dec 2022

Directed by: Michael Krummenacher
Writing credits: Matthias Pacht, Otfried Preußler
Principal actors: Hedi Kriegeskotte, Nicholas Ofczarek, Hans Marquardt, Benedikt Jenke, Christiane Paul

Grandma (Hedi Kriegeskotte) is using her coffee grinder, which was a birthday present from Kasperl (Hans Marquardt) and Seppel (Benedikt Jenke). She sings “Alles neu macht der Mai.” This happiness is suddenly interrupted as her coffee grinder is stolen. The boys know exactly who did it: Räuber Hotzenplotz (Nicholas Ofczarck), whom they are determined to find. Unfortunately, they end up in the hands of Hotzenplotz, as well as the magician Petrosilius Zwackelmann (August Diehl), who lives in a castle on a mountaintop. Also kidnapped is the fairy Amaryllis (Luna Wedler). What to do? The policeman Dimpfelmoser (Olli Dittrich) is no help. The clairvoyant (Christiane Paul) is more engrossed in helping her dog Wasti, which has been turned into a crocodile.

“Räuber” is the German word for “thief” and that’s exactly what Hotzenplotz is. The story is hilarious; I never stopped laughing. The costumes are important, especially Hotzenplotz’s hat, as well as the boys’ caps for determining identities. Who can cook potatoes? Three wishes are more important than we realize, not to be used for anything frivolous. Young girls seem to have no role in this story, but it’s definitely not just for boys, or even for young people. It’s for the whole family. We need to know how a bird can escape from a cage, even if it’s a bad bird. Hotzenplotz first appeared as a book by Otfried Preußler in 1962 and has enjoyed immense success since then, now celebrating its 60th anniversary. This is probably the seventh film, with the first appearing in 1967, More books have been published; there have been stage as well as TV appearances; At the moment (November-January, 2022-23) Hotzenplotz is playing as a musical in Hamburg’s Schmidt Theater. (Becky Tan)

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