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WINTER JOURNEY (WINTERREISE)

WINTER JOURNEY
Scene from "Winter Journey" (photo © d.i.e. film gmbh/Marco Nagel)

Franz Brenninger (60) has gone far in his life. He runs his own ironware-trade, lives in a nice home together with his wife Martha (60), has two grown kids. But the impulsive Brenninger rubs everyone the wrong way: singing too loud during church service. Going to the brothel. Neglecting his sick and helpless wife. Squandering money although his company is practically broke.

Brenninger is manic-depressive, say the doctors. All doctors are assholes, says Brenninger.

He gets involved in a supposed lucrative deal with Kenya. The correspondence from Africa is translated by Leyla (18). Brenninger transfers his last money to an African bank account instead of spending it for the cost of his wife's eye operation. After a while he recognizes that the whole thing is a rip off, the money lost. The German police are powerless.

Absolutely determined to get his money back, he and Leyla – as his interpreter – go to Nairobi. In the shimmering, colorful world of Eastern Africa we suddenly find a totally different, actually fascinating Brenninger. When he plays and sings Schubert's Winter Journey, full of devotion, we find out that Brenninger actually wanted to become a singer. A secret lifetime dream never fulfilled.

But Brenninger has now nothing left to lose. It's obvious that he will not leave Africa any more. His only aim is to have his family well provided for at home. Together with Leyla, he sets out on his last journey from which he will never return.


Hans Steinbichler was born in 1969 in Solothurn/Switzerland. He studied Law in Passau and Film at the University of Television & Film in Munich. His films include: ABSTIEG (short, 1996), MONO (short, 1998), VERSPIEGELTE ZEIT - ERINNERUNGEN VON ANGELIKA SCHROBSDORFF (documentary, 1999), DIE GERMANIKER - RÖMISCH-DEUTSCHE KARRIEREN (documentary, 2000), HIERANKL (2003), DER MORALIST - VITTORIO HOESLE ENTDECKT AMERIKA (documentary, 2003), INSELN IM CHIEMSEE (documentary, 2003), WINTER JOURNEY (WINTERREISE, 2005), AUTISTIC DISCO (2007), MY MOTHER, MY BRIDE AND I (DIE ZWEITE FRAU, 2007), and PROMISING THE MOON (DAS BLAUE VOM HIMMEL, 2011).
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2005
Director Hans Steinbichler
Screenplay Martin Rauhaus
Cinematography Bella Halben
Anne Loewer
Antoni Lazarkiewicz
Cast Hanna Schygulla, Josef Bierbichler, Sibel Kekilli, André M. Hennicke
Producers Uli Aselmann, Robert Marciniak
Production Company die film gmbh/Munich, in co-production with Wega Film/Vienna, Dresbach-Schaefer-Quabeck/Munich, Bayerischer Rundfunk, ARTE
Length 95 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Karlovy Vary 2006 (In Competition), Munich 2006 (Opening Film), Toronto 2006, Nouveau Cinema Montreal 2006, Eurasia FF Antalya 2006, Feykjavik 2006, DER FILM Prague 2006, Haifa 2006, Seville 2006, Ljubljana 2006, Berlin 2007 (German Cinema)
Awards German Film Award 2007 (Best Leading Actor Josef Bierbichler)
With backing from German Federal Film Board, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, BKM, Oesterreichisches Filminstitut
German Distributor X Verleih

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