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Schultze Gets the Blues

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Germany · 2003
Rated PG · 1h 54m
Director Michael Schorr
Starring Horst Krause, Harald Warmbrunn, Karl-Fred Müller, Ursula Schucht
Genre Comedy, Drama

Schultze is a salt miner forced into retirement. He spends his days in boredom, unimpressed by his small German village, sometimes playing polka music on his accordion. But his taste in music changes — along with his life — when he hears zydeco on the radio and sets out to visit the genre’s birthplace: Louisiana.

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What are people saying?

Kelsey Thomas Profile picture for Kelsey Thomas

Ultimately a very sweet and endearing film that may have wrung a few tears out of me by the end. Between Schultze’s amiable near-silence and the zydeco-style accordion music he plays (much to the chagrin of his traditional music club), caring about Schultze and what happens to him is easy. He’s a lovable guy. Contrary to some critics, I found the slow speed appropriate and more than tolerable. “You have all the time in the world,” everyone tells Schultze after he is forced into early retirement, left with nothing but a salt lamp and a hacking cough. They mean it as a good thing, but staring all this time in the face makes its recipient uneasy. Restlessness on the viewer’s part feels pointed, purposeful — it’s built into the film itself.

What are critics saying?


L.A. Weekly by Ella Taylor

Michael Schorr's delightfully deadpan comedy debut blew away the German box office, and once you let yourself sink into its gentle rhythms, as slow and deliberate as those of its protagonist and inflected with tiny but significant shifts of pace and tone, you'll see why.


Los Angeles Times by Kevin Thomas

Simply too tedious and stretched out to be amusing. Had Schorr brought in his picture at 80 or 90 minutes Schultze might have been a different story.


The A.V. Club by Nathan Rabin

With dialogue as spare as its harsh landscapes, the film is so tonally dry that it makes Aki Kaurismäki look like the Farrelly brothers--it begins at a snail's pace before speeding up to a turtle's drowsy crawl.


The New York Times by Stephen Holden

It's a good thing the movie has so little dialogue, because when it talks, the words dilute its almost surreal visual spell, and the fructose turns to saccharine.

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