September 7 2015 Drama Movies Newsletter
"Michael Kohlhaas" is set in the 16th century, but Des Pallieres has told the story in a way that has resonance for contemporary audiences. Kohlhaas sets up rules of conduct for his band of guerrillas, including prohibitions against looting and rape. As Kohlhaas says in the film, "We don't take, we buy. War grants no right." But the use of violence as a means to effect political change is the main subject of the film. A character tells Kohlhaas, "No man can be the judge of his own cause." Kohlhaas disagrees, and it is up to the audience to decide whether violence committed in the name of justice and democracy is justified.
Mads Mikkelsen, who plays Kohlhaas, was an athlete and professional dancer before appearing in a film at the age of thirty. His late start as an actor seems to be one reason why his performances have a depth and maturity that is lacking in other film stars. Mikkelsen has stated in numerous interviews that he enjoys commuting between Europe and the US to work. He also seems not to privilege film work over television work.
"Hannibal", his US television series, has finished its 3 season run. Mikkelsen is currently filming "Star Wars: Rogue One". He is also in talks to play opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel's "Doctor Strange". I, however, am looking forward to his latest Danish production, a dark comedy directed by Anders Thomas Jensen titled "Men & Chicken". The film will make its North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival this month, but you can catch the trailer online.
Finally, I have to mention the fact that "Michael Kohlhaas" was retitled by its American distributor. The US title is "Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas". This is a misleading title that suggest plenty of violence and does not reflect the actual tone of the film. No doubt this is one of the reasons that Netflix viewers have given the film only two stars. I'm sure plenty of young, male fans of "Hannibal" tried watching "Michael Kohlhaas", thinking it would be more of the same. So, a note to film distributors. Do not sensationalize the titles of foreign films in an effort to attract a larger audience. Not only is it dishonest, it is also bad for business.
Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.
Michael Kohlhaas Film Review
Mads Mikkelsen stars as "Michael Kohlhaas", a 16th century horse trader who rebels against the authority of the church and state. Set in the majestic Cevenne Mountain region of France, "Michael Kohlhaas" is a cinematic feast for the eyes.
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