This is a movie (in French with subtitles) based on a short story by the German author Heinrich von Kleist who is one of my absolute favorite authors. Years ago I went through a period of reading German authors and von Kleist stuck with me. Of course I read Kafka, who hasn’t? But the thing about the lesser known Kleist is that Kafka himself names Kleist as an influence. And for good reason. Kleist had this wonderful way about his prose and he was a philosopher of sorts. An examiner of life; and he scrutinized very carefully the enigmas and dilemmas of living. He really explored absolutes and how they aren’t so absolute. Or maybe they are absolute. This story takes a hard look at the hero, the choices he has to make, and the price he has to pay in order to maintain truth and right.
Well, I am waxing a bit philosphical here but let me say I really loved this movie. It is a slice of life from a day gone by and a simple yet complex story of a man trying to do what he believes is the right thing.
And in typical Kleistian fashion we discover that doing the right thing has a cost. I just think it is wonderful to see a well made movie that isn’t wrapped up in a pretty bow for the viewing audience. This movie (story) ends as you think it might, yet ends in a way you don’t think. Wonderful 🙂 I so love von Kleist.
Michael Kohlhaas is a horse trader. He raises them and sells them. He is wronged by a local baron and attempts to do the right thing by following it through the court system. When that doesn’t work (because of corruption) he continues to pursue justice. It is very interesting to see what happens and how things develop.
Love medieval things? Want something different? Watch this movie.
If you are intrigued by von Kleist Here is a good introductory book on amazon: