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Mahler auf der Couch
Mahler on the Couch (2010)
Movie
  • Director:
    Felix O. Adlon,Percy Adlon
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Felix O. Adlon,Percy Adlon
  • Cast:
    Johannes Silberschneider,Barbara Romaner,Karl Markovics
  • Time:
    1h 38min
  • Budget:
    €3,500,000
  • Year:
    2010
Alma Mahler's affair with the young architect Walter Gropius sets in motion a marital drama that forces her husband Gustav Mahler to seek advice from Sigmund Freud.
Casts
Cast overview, first billed only:
Johannes Silberschneider Johannes Silberschneider - Gustav Mahler
Barbara Romaner Barbara Romaner - Alma Mahler
Karl Markovics Karl Markovics - Sigmund Freud
Friedrich Mücke Friedrich Mücke - Walter Gropius
Eva Mattes Eva Mattes - Anna Sofie Schindler-Moll
Lena Stolze Lena Stolze - Justine Mahler-Rosé
Nina Berten Nina Berten - Anna von Mildenburg
Karl Fischer Karl Fischer - Carl Moll
Matthias Franz Stein Matthias Franz Stein - Alexander von Zemlinsky (as Mathias Stein)
Max Mayer Max Mayer - Max Burckhard
Michael Dangl Michael Dangl - Bruno Walter
Michael Rotschopf Michael Rotschopf - Alfred Roller
Manuel Witting Manuel Witting - Gustav Klimt
Simon Hatzl Simon Hatzl - Arnold Rosé
Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg - Berta Zuckerkandl

Mahler on the Couch (2010)

This is the second film concerning Alma Schindler and Gustav Mahler's love affair in which Johannes Silberschneider has acted in; the first was Bride of the Wind (2001), in which he portrayed Alma's music teacher and lover Alexander von Zemlinsky, who Alma would leave to marry Gustav Mahler. In this film, Silberschneider plays Mahler.

The scene in which Alma (Barbara Romaner) is moved to tears by reading a section of Mahler's music was shot in one take.

Alma Mahler and Walter Gropius, lovers in this film, are portrayed by Barbara Romaner and Friedrich Mücke, a real-life couple.

Hi_Jacker
Hi_Jacker
Father-son, writing-directing duo, Felix and Percy Adlon, create a brilliant film that depicts the relationship between Gustav Mahler and his wife, Alma, as recalled by Gustav in an entertaining therapy session with Sigmund Freud.

Barbara Romaner, a longtime actress of the stage, makes a seamless transition into her first film and gives a phenomenal performance as Alma Mahler – a gifted pianist and composer, who gives up everything to devote herself to her husband. Her affair with Walter Gropius is a manifestation of her ever-growing frustration with the life she has chosen.

Karl Markovics, in a memorable portrayal of Freud, helps Mahler deconstruct his failed relationship. Johannes Silberschneider does a magnificent job as the brokenhearted, genius composer who struggles to re-connect with his "center point."

The Adlons succeed in weaving a clever, surprisingly funny, engrossing fictional story around the factual lives of some of history's most iconic figures. Mahler's unfinished Symphony No. 10 (as marvelously performed by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra) provides a gorgeous, emotional backdrop to breathtaking cinematography.

Mahler on the Couch is a refreshing film illustrating the beauty of music, love, betrayal, and the search for truth.
Nafyn
Nafyn
Gustav & Alma Mahler have been the stars of films like 'Mahler' (Ken Russel; 1974), 'Bride Of The Wind' / 'Alma' (Bruce Beresford; 2001), and of course there is Visconti's 'Morte A Venezia' (1971), where the names are changed to Gustav and Frau von Aschenbach.

All these films are totally different from one another, and now there is 'Mahler On The Couch', which continues the tradition. A unique film, a feast for the eyes and breathtaking beautiful music.

Portraying a true but neurotic genius and a femme fatale who holds her ground next to Helena of Troy, isn't easy, and probably accounts for the diversity between all these films. It must be a marvel to play these characters, and in this Mahler On The Couch all actors are very convincing. It's hard to single out anyone, but if we should, then ... Well, Barbara Romaner is amazing as Alma Mahler. That bigger than life character is surrounded by thousands of pages of biography, even more letters, and a shipload of mystification (mainly fabricated by herself, it's true). But Barbara shows the fun side and the seducing powers of the lady as well as her intelligence and passion and wish for spiritual freedom.

All in all a wonderful, glowing film, giving us Sigmund Freud as a wonderful bonus. Brilliantly acted, also ! 9 stars, and waiting for many more Alma and Gustav films, maybe even the ultimate one...
Frosha
Frosha
MAHLER ON THE COUCH ... Viewed at Los Angeles Film Festival, June 27, 2010

PHOTO: How 'bout a little buzzmeg, mein schatz ~~ Barbara Romaner and Johannes Silberschneider in Percy Adlon's "Mahler on the Couch"

The latest offering from the highly respected elder statesman of German independent filmmaking, Percy Adlon, a glossy, heady, off-beat biopic about the famous turn of the century Viennese composer Gustav Mahler, his tumultuous affair and stormy marriage with Alma Schindler, a woman twenty years younger, and his presumed (but undoubtedly fictitious) couch sessions with Sigmund Freud to sort out his emotional problems when she throws him over, was definitely the class film of the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival.

This was a world Premiere scoop leveraged by Newsweek film critic David Ansen (the new artistic director of the fest) and was attended by many of the cast and production team including Percy and his son Felix, who co-directed. The film was shown at the vast theater number one, flagship hall of the Regal Cinemas complex, and was followed by a classy cocktail reception at Trader Vics just down the street.

As for the movie: Actress Barbara Romaner was salaciously sumptuous in the slightly vampish role of Alma Schindler and Austrian actor Johannes Silberschneider was a very close look-alike of the Historical Gustav Mahler. The scenes with Freud, with a rather comic bookish version of the Big Daddy of Psychoanalysis, were the least convincing and actually play less of a role in the overall picture than Gustav's relationship with the younger Alma — and her relationships with her various other lovers. Much of the film was shot in Vienna and at the famed Vienna Opera House, which together with Silberschneider's uncanny resemblance to Mahler lent a feel of authenticity to the whole. Brilliant cinematography set the giant Theater Number One screen aglow, and the lavish production values make this picture look like a huge Hollywood production although it was actually made on a relatively modest budget.

Early twentieth century Vienna was the cultural crossroads of Europe and many of Mahler's contemporaries became international cultural icons. Among prominent historical names and personalities featured in the film are the painter and Art Nouveau genius, Gustav Klimt (Played grotesquely a few seasons back by John Malkovich in a horrible forgettable picture entitled "Klimt"), the architect Walter Gropius, and the famous conductor Bruno Walter.

Munich stage actress Barbara Romaner makes a dazzling screen debut as the object of Mahler's obsession, Alma, and the head turner of the town's decadent elite. This is as much her film as Mahler's and she is an actress I would certainly like to see more of. The style of the film is to have many of these persons, including an actress playing the sister of Mahler, talk directly to the camera about Mahler and Alma, in sections set off from the main wide screen story as if this were a talking heads documentary, which it isn't by any means.

What MOTC is, is a highly stylized, imaginative, and decorative dissection of an improbable but actual love affair between a famous composer and a feisty ambitious woman half his age, herself talented, who finally throws the great man over because, two children down the line, she can't stand living as a footnote to his frenzied work ethic and towering ego any longer. The death of one child acts as the fulcrum for their separation, but we feel all along that Alma has Mahler by the you-know-whats, and needs more solid loving than he can dish out. The relationship with Freud is pictured as cold, formal, and confrontational, but when they end up traveling together on a train toward the end they finally do a male bonding number as Mahler offers Freud his hand and says "You can call me Gustl" (the friendly nickname for Gustav) to which the eminent founder of the science of Head-shrinking replies, "Well, then — just call me Siggy"!

This is definitely not a movie for the truck drivers out there, but it should cut a nifty arc in proper intellectual and authentic foreign film buff circles, and may even cross over to a more general audience of the kind that likes hot love stories, pomp, and … circumstances.
Warianys
Warianys
"Mahler auf der Couch" or "Mahler on the Couch" is a German/Austrian co-production from 2010, so this one is already over 5 years old. By now, it is the most recent release by known German filmmaker Percy Adlon who wrote and directed this film together with his son Felix. The film runs for slightly under 100 minutes (including credits) and is mostly about the life of the character mentioned in the title: successful composer Gustav Mahler. And as he is sitting on a couch, there is also a major reference to Sigmund Freud. These two are played by Johannes Silberschneider and Karl Markovics. And as I am a fan of the latter, the Freudian moments were the most memorable part for me here, even if he is just a supporting player. Silberschneider is the big lead here, maybe Romaner to a lesser extent too as it is really all about Gustav Mahler's love life and romance aspects and relationships, or maybe I should say Alma Mahler's. I know that she is a pretty baity character when it comes to films, but from this movie here I cannot really see the appeal and I also do not agree with the awards recognition. For the entire film, that is. Classical music lovers will probably enjoy the many music sequences, but this genre (or at least Mahler's approach) is not really too much to my liking either. And besides the solid visual side of the film I found it somewhat empty as almost none of the supporting characters were really interesting enough and Silberschneider's and Romaner's performances also did not get me on the edge of my seat, which, however, may also have had to do with the way they were written. All in all I found this 1.5 extremely forgettable hours and it is nothing that will get you interested in the lives of the Mahlers or Freud. I give it a thumbs-down. Not recommended. But maybe I am a bit biased as nothing I have seen from Adlon so far really explains to me why he is (or has been) so well-known and successful as a filmmaker in the last decades.
ZloyGenii
ZloyGenii
Mahler On The Couch is not a German gem. It is a stylistic nightmare of zooms and novelty shots that make it almost unbearable to watch. Adlon Brother's period drama focuses Gustav Mahler seeking advice from Sigmund Freud about his cheating wife.

I will admit that I was not overly exited about the content of the film. If I was more interested in Mahler or Freud I might have been able to see this film as glass half full instead of glass completely empty. I even thought that maybe I would become more interested in one of them because of the film. Unfortunately the films style was so distracting I was almost to disgusted to pay attention to the story at all.

The actors were all apparently trying to channel Klaus Kinski and in doing so give some of the most over dramatic performances I have seen. I understand that having an unfaithful wife could be frustrating but the way it comes through on the screen just made me roll my eyes. I am not saying in anyway that the actors in this film are talentless but Brother's directing misses on almost every mark.

If you love over dramatic, wordy, historical dramas you might like Mahler On The Couch, I however did not.

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