Rosenemil is based on a novel by Georg Hermann and is set in turn-of-the-century Berlin. The film's protagonist, Emil (played by Werner Stocker) hawks paperback romances on street corners for a living. Even as a youth, Emil had an eye for the ladies, and a tendency to get into trouble because of it. We first see him as a boy, committing petty theft so that he can impress a pretty girl. Years later, we see him again as a good-looking, athletic young man, but he is still the reckless boy at heart, chasing skirts without considering the consequences.
One fateful day in 1903 he meets two attractive women, both of whom are members of the "world's oldest profession" although they operate in different social circles. The younger of the two, Lissy (played by Dana Vávrová), is a singer in a shabby dance hall. Warm, outgoing, and generous, she is beloved by all who come to know her, and Emil is no exception. He falls for Lissy at first sight, and she for him. Lissy nicknames him "Rosenemil" because he bought her a rose at their first meeting, and she introduces him by that name to her many friends at the dance hall and in the neighborhood where she lives.
Some of the dance-hall denizens are involved in shady dealings, and Emil unwisely allows himself to be drawn into a gang of thieves-for-hire. Soon Emil attracts the attention of the gang boss, who introduces him to the elegant, sophisticated Bertha (Dominique Sanda), a high-class "companion". Emil easily succumbs to the older woman's practiced charms. For her part, Bertha also finds Emil attractive, and decides to take him on as her latest boy-toy. Tarted up in the new clothes Bertha has bought for him, Emil escorts her to the races and enjoys the pleasures of her bed. Meanwhile, poor forgotten Lissy, whose health is fragile, goes into a decline and attempts suicide. Hearing of Lissy's plight, the contrite Emil rushes to her bedside, but he barely arrives in time to say a last farewell.
Rosenemil was directed by Radu Gabrea, who had previously directed Werner in Ein Mann Wie Eva, 1984. This was Werner Stocker's last film, and his third and final starring role with Dana Vávrová. It is only available as a German-language PAL format video which seems to be currently out of print. Werner shines as the skirt-chasing ne'er-do-well Emil, and it is pure pleasure to see him decked out in period clothes and turning on his considerable charm for the ladies.
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(This page last updated 05/15/2004)