“Sophia, death and I” in the cinema: Charly Hübner challenges death in his funny directorial debut

“Sophia, death and I” in the cinema: Charly Hübner challenges death in his funny directorial debut

“Sophia, Death and I”: Everything you need to know about the novel adaptation.

“Sophia, Death and I” is the directorial debut of popular actor Charly Hübner. It tells the story of a young man who receives an unusual visitor: Death is at the door. The beginning of an absurd road trip.

That’s what “Sophia, Death and I” is about

A man in his early 30s comes home from work and it’s obvious that there’s nothing he needs at home more urgently than a little time to himself, a few cigarettes and a bottle of wine. With the wine, the postcard to his little son, which he now lovingly designs, is easier to handle. The apartment is not in good shape and his job as a geriatric nurse seems to be sapping his strength. Just as Reiner is about to dissolve the world pain he is familiar with into Riesling, the doorbell rings. Annoyed, he opens the door. There’s a pale man standing in the stairwell, dressed in black, telling him, “I’m your death and you must come with me now.”

It’s one of those moments in the cinema where you ask yourself if you really want to go along with it. Are they serious? Confronting death and death appearing in the person of an administrator going from door to door like a vacuum cleaner salesman? This will probably be the next proof that German cinema can only be funny every ten years, most recently with “Toni Erdmann” by Maren Ade.

But Marc Hosemann quickly takes the decision of whether to call or not for the viewer. Hosemann (recently fantastic in “Die Discounter” and “When are you coming to kiss my wounds”) plays death and it’s so funny from the first minute that “Sophia, death and I” can’t really put it down anymore. (Also read: Media library hit “37 seconds”: Is that rape?)

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“Sophia, Death and I” with Dimitrij Schaad, Marc Hosemann: Death loses control of his life.

© DCM / Niklas Marc Heinecke

Only death makes life worthwhile

Death introduces himself, Morten de Sarg, and explains to Reiner that he has three minutes, then off to the afterlife. Hosemann is a bit awkward in his job as Death. Hosemann’s hoarsely forced voice reinforces the impression of a clumsy official and just as one knows from the administrative apparatus, Reiner’s transport to the realm of the dead within three minutes doesn’t work either. Reiner isn’t very fit for life, but he’s not tired of life either. He doesn’t want to die now! And death loses control of his life.

With a mixture of love of life and displeasure, Dimitrij Schaad (“The Kangaroo Conspiracy”, “Kleo”) plays Reiner’s encounter with his own death in an enchantingly funny way. The horror is even clearer on his face when Sophia, his ex-girlfriend, comes through the door. Sophia is extremely exhausted, Reiner forgot his mother’s birthday, they have to get on the train immediately to go to some north German backwater. Of course she doesn’t know at this point that Reiner’s death just came through the same door she’s standing in.

So begins a road trip for Sophia, Reiner and his death. Reiner stays alive for now, but death doesn’t leave his side. Everything suddenly takes on a new meaning. The children’s room in his parents’ house, the relationship with his mother and, above all, the relationship with himself. Only death allows him to look at his life anew. (Also read: From “Silver Linings” to “Past Lives”: Romance films that do without kitsch)

“Sophia, Death & I” with Anna Maria trouble in enchanting anger

© DCM / Niklas Marc Heinecke

What “Sophia, Death and I” says about death

In addition to the great cast of the film, a language that rarely sounds from screenplays is striking. Your pun is especially Marc Hosemann’s death as written on the body. That sometimes tips into the silly, but we’re watching a film with an absurd story anyway, in which Morten de Sarg is being pursued by colleagues (Carlo Ljubek and Rocko Schamoni in guest roles) of his guild, since he obviously killed the official regulations violated.

Whether absurd or silly – what counts is the ingenuity that makes an average German life sparkle here in the face of death. All of this was thought up by the musician Thees Uhlmann, who published the novel in 2017, which the actor Charly Hübner (“Polizeiruf 110”) has now staged so successfully. For Hübner it is the first direction of a fictional subject. Previously, he had already shot a music documentary for the cinema.

Dimitrij Schaad as Reiner: battered by life, but still alive – still!

© DCM / Stephan Rabold

Don’t make fun of death, understand it

What gives depth to “Sophia, der Tod und ich” despite all the fun are the slightly battered people with whom we travel through Germany – a last journey that one has to fear again and again thanks to the presence of death. They struggle and they love, they cry and they fight, sometimes plaintively, sometimes full of courage. Hübner’s directing task is to bring an absurd story to the screen, but he doesn’t make fun of death. Rather, he deals with it without ever falling into kitsch. Instead, Hübner gives us Morten de Sarg and company. We smile at one, we fear the next. For the next, however, we gain confidence. We have no other choice. They will come for us.

Death is great, everyone knows that. So big that we oust him. But the more we repress death, as we learn in this film, the more natural our everyday life seems. But he is not. Sounds like a saying from the calendar, but it’s true: not a single day of our lives is irrelevant. Everyday life is the sum of all the days we should live like Reiner hasn’t done for far too long.

Watch the trailer “Sophia, Death and I” here:

“Sophie, Death and I” in cinemas from August 31, 2023, directed by Charly Hübner, with: Dimitrij Schaad, Anna Maria Mühe, Marc Hosemann, Johanna Gastdorf, Carlo Ljubek, Lina Beckmann, Rocko Schamoni, Josef Ostendorf and Charly Hübner

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