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Enlightenment Guaranteed (2000)

Cast: Uwe Ochsenknecht, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Anica Dobra, more...
Director: Doris Dörrie, Doris Dörrie
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Capitol Entertainment
Genre: Comedies, Foreign, Germany
Running Time: 105 min.
Languages: German
Subtitles: English
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Noted German filmmaker Doris Dorrie directs this understated comedy about two middle-aged brothers who go to study at a Zen monastery in Japan. The two brothers could not be more different. Uwe (Uwe Ochsenknecht) is a bored husband and kitchenware salesman, while Gustav (Gustav Peter Wohler) is a flighty feng shui consultant and Eastern religions devotee. Just as Gustav is preparing to leave for the land of the rising sun, Uwe, whose wife just dumped him, begs his brother to let him tag along. The first night in Tokyo proves to be a disaster. After a night of drinking, the pair get lost, spend the last of their cash on an ill-fated taxi ride, lose their credit cards, and end up sleeping in some boxes on the city streets. But this deprivation prepares them for the hard living of monastic life, including 4:30 a.m. wake up calls, elaborate dining rituals, long periods of silent mediation, and a punishing cleaning routine. As the days wear on, Gustav soon finds himself buckling under the strain while Uwe demonstrates himself to be much more adaptable to a monk's life. The experience eventually brings the night-and-day brothers closer together. This film was screened at the 2000 Rotterdam Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Interview With the Director
  • Production Notes

GreenCine Member Reviews

Angst Meets Zen by squad December 29, 2004 - 2:02 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Not being European, I have no idea why they seem to get so wound up. I can't discuss or describe the meaning of the word "angst", but the characters in "Enlightenment Guaranteed" certainly act out the meaning. It also gives a very good Japanese travelogue with great close up detail of streets and faces. The Zen monastery gets a good examination depicting a highly ritualized daily routine. The main characters (two brothers) use a palmcorder as a kind of journal throughout. Not a documentary, but with somewhat of a documentary feel, this is an interesting film on many levels, very original. Maybe think of it as John Belushi and Kelsey Grammer's big adventure, because this "Odd Couple" resembles those two (if you can imagine a neurotic Belushi). This film rates a ten for travelogue, but only a five or six for story and impact. Messed-up Europeans in a funny/sad predicament, the kindness of strangers, and some ritual-happy monks sums it.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.46)
54 Votes
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