princess and the warrior
Katja De Bock
Franka Potente (Sissi)
Benno Fürmann (Bodo)
Joachim Król (Walter)
Lars Rudolph (Steini)
Melchior Beslon (Otto)
Ludger Pistor (Werner)
Christa Fast (Sigrun Molke)
Sybille Jacqueline Schedwill (Maria)
mpaa rating: R
release: October 12,
release: June 22, 2001
availability: VHS -
official website 2
Franka Potente and Benno Fürmann
meet under highly charged circumstances.
princess, he's the warrior? Is this some kind of medieval thing?
Nope. The title should be taken
metaphorically. Potente is Sissi, a nurse at a mental hospital;
Fürmann is Bodo, a thief with violent tendencies. The story
unfolds in the present day. Except for intermittent poetic imagery,
there are no elements of the fantastic, much less the ancient.
makes much of the fact that this is from the director and star
Is it anything like that film?
Absolutely not; the two films
are as different as different can be. They're both equally cool
in their own ways, but TP&TW is roughly 40 minutes
longer and much more leisurely, which speaks well of director
Tom Tykwer's range. For those only familiar with the breakneck
pace of Lola, this will be a surprise; for those who enjoyed
Lola for that reason, it may be a letdown. This movie's
much closer to the work of other German directors like Wim Wenders
and Werner Herzog.
but not boring?
Unless you're watching it late
at night and happen to be sleepy anyway, you won't feel the extra
length. Something happens about half an hour into the story that
effectively calls all bets off; from there, it's pretty well
impossible to guess where Tykwer is going.
Won't tell. Suffice to say
that Sissi comes to believe that she must see more of Bodo, and
Bodo does not agree. Neither does his older brother (Joachim
Król), who looks after him in the wake of a past trauma.
Tykwer has created a tough-minded, unsentimental version of the
usual Hollywood formula wherein two lovers we want to see together
are kept apart for most of the movie. Here, it doesn't feel contrived;
it comes out of the demons and obsessions of the characters.
picture this being remade by Hollywood?
Yeah, they'd probably get Nora
Ephron to direct Meg Ryan in the Sissi role and Tom Hanks, in
to Perdition mode, in the Bodo role. It would suck.
poetic imagery -- does it ever get artsy-fartsy?
Not at all. Tykwer here shows
a talent for becalmed rapture that the pace of Lola didn't
allow him. I think of a scene wherein Sissi and Bodo are underwater,
or a bit right at the beginning where Sissi rubs an ice cube
over her skin and encourages a blind patient to touch it, to
feel what goosebumps feel like. Much of the movie is highly eroticized
in this way without being quite sexual; the closest it comes
is a quick, dispassionate hand-job scene.
cover makes it look lame.
It does. So much so that I
was moved to create a page comparing the American DVD artwork
with the original German poster art (which, predictably, was
So if we
liked Lola, we might like this one?
You might, if you have sufficient
patience for Tykwer's (literal) change of pace. I was enthralled
throughout. Tykwer can go fast or slow and keep us riveted either
way. That's no mean feat, and the only real connective tissue
between the two films (aside from Potente, who's even better
here -- less an action figure and more a vulnerable woman --
than in Lola) is Tykwer's assured mastery of his art.
He will be a persuasive reason to keep going to the movies for
years to come.