Schultze Gets the Blues

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      I just had to see Schultze gets the Blues. How could I resist a movie made in Germany in german with subtitles that was shot on location in Louisiana! There are a few subtitles for the characters speaking Cajun as well. Schultze gets the Blues is a cute little movie. It tells the story of Schultze (Horst Krause) a retired salt miner with time on his hands. He and his two best friends, who are also retired, often meet at the local bar for a few drinks. They are all trying to develop new interests but Schultze, unlike his friends, lives alone. He plays polka on the accordian. But then late one night, he hears some strange music on the radio. The music is Zydeco. Schultze is electrified and obsessed by it. He plays the music from the radio on his accordian and dreams of traveling to Louisiana. Eventually he plays his new music in a local show and wins a trip to a German Music Festival in Texas. He tries to take part in the festival but his heart is elsewhere so he gets on a boat and travels the bayous into Lousiana looking for Zydeco.

      Schultze Gets the Blues is a very sweet movie. It is shot in an extremely idiosyncratic style by the first-time writer/director, Michael Storr. He chose to emphasize the slow natural pace of Schultze's life as well as the pace of life in the bayou by keeping the camera completely still during long shots with no cuts or zooms. Often, we see Schultze enter the frame from one side, slowly walk or bike across the scene and then go out of frame on the other side. The movie, itself, is less than 2 hours long but is is a leisurely two hours. Schultze Gets the Blues is the antithesis of some other recent movies where the movements of the camera make you seasick,i.e., The Blair Witch Project and Dancer in the Dark. The story of Schultze Gets the Blues is very simple and is told very sparingly. You could almost do without the subtitles because the dialogue is so sparse. But the acting is great, and led by Krause as Schultze, the cast are all very expressive hardly needing any words.

      Schultze Gets the Blues is fun because it shows just how exotic the culture of Louisiana really is when seen from the outside. It is also very bittersweet because it shows how our interest in life can be rekindled even as life itself is coming to an end. This movie made me think of what my "old" friends and I will be like when reach retirement age. Actually it's not that far away!