© Zorro Film

Germany 2006

Opening 24 May 2007

Directed by: Marco Mittelstaedt
Writing credits: Holger Nickel
Principal actors: Henning Peker, Thomas Jahn, Steffi Kühnert, Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Vilma Fischer

For 20 years Kowsky (Henning Peker) and Gero (Tom Jahn) worked together on their freighter, travelling up and down the river. The free and easy life ends with a shock when they lose their jobs. They were away so often that their family ties had suffered and are now critically severed. Both men are facing insurmountable frustrating situations on the home front.

Therefore, they decide to leave Dresden in Gero’s small sailing boat, hoping to land a new job in Hamburg. During this trip Kowsky turns out to be a restless and risk-taking character whereas Gero has a quiet, thoughtful personality. Due to Kowsky’s unreliability they lose the sailing boat and have to continue their journey with a tiny row boat. In their misery both men get to know each other’s personal anxieties and secret dreams. Gero collects postcards from Australia, hoping one time to see Ayers Rock with his own eyes. Kowsky dreams of making money. As he is about to carry off a bag full of money at the risk of his life, it is placid Gero who grows “larger than life” and comes to the rescue. At this point the action picks up speed and takes an unexpected turn.

Elbe is a slow moving river – and so is this German “road movie” by Marco Mittelstaedt. The film deals with various topics of human relationships like friendship, lost opportunities, taking responsibility, longing for family, dreaming of new beginnings. The two main actors are very well chosen and fit their respective characters perfectly, supported by Steffi Kühnert and Gabriele Maria Schmeide. The Elbe river (supposedly the main theme) was treated disappointingly. It could have been any odd river. I would have wished for more interesting visual experience and characteristic close-ups of life on the river. (Birgit Schrumpf)

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