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103 min. German.

Two broken souls meet by chance in the countryside. A man and a woman, neither of them young anymore, both saddled with great disappointments. They understand one another, even without the need for many words, each providing the other with support and solace for this brief section of life’s journey which they share.
Cinema has taken many different roads to tell stories of despair, pain, grief and loneliness. Yet this film forges its own unique path. It leads from an abandoned carpenter’s workshop via a run-down old house to a port. The pace is sedate, the whole area deserted. A bottle of schnapps, a bouquet of gladioli, a few apples and potatoes, a photograph, a suitcase and a book of Russian poems – these are the only props needed for the minimalist plot. The man constructs a wooden cross at one point and it’s just one of many scenes showing hands at work. With striking images of huge intensity and occasional bursts of percussion on the soundtrack, an intimate drama unfolds which is pared down but still full of emotion, a rumination on where we come from and where we are headed. (Birgit Kohler)

Ludwig Wüst was born in Vilseck, Germany in 1965. From 1984 to 1986, he trained as a cabinetmaker. Since 1987, Ludwig Wüst has lived in Vienna, where he trained as an actor and singer at the University of Music and Performing Arts. Since 1990, he has worked as a theatre director, writer and actor, and since 1999 as a filmmaker.

A journey to last things

‘Mono no aware’, the Japanese expression for ‘mourning over the stream of things’ inspired me to make this film, which sends us on an intense expedition – a cinematic journey to last things, some of which have already vanished and tomorrow will no longer be possible. What comes after them? (Ludwig Wüst)

Between the archaic and haiku poetry

It begins with a cry, a long, angry cry against the relentless clattering of a high-speed train. It emerges from the depths of unrestrained lungs and sets the first powerful high point of Ludwig Wüst’s new film, AUFBRUCH, which takes a 102-minute ‘cinematic journey to last things’ (Ludwig Wüst). Last things are thereby also first things: the elemental feelings of life (death, mourning, hope, love), presented in a pictorial language that builds a wonderful bridge between the archaic and haiku poetry.
After the man in blue overalls, who stands with his back to the audience, has flung his cyclone of feelings against life rolling by, his external life now also turns toward change. What led him to leave his life until now and to begin a trip through the vastness of the country with a small, droll wagon (a lovely wink toward the much more powerful equipment that otherwise drives a road movie) is deciphered near the end of the film. One allows oneself to drift with him and doesn’t dare to ask why, because the search itself is so fascinating.
Soon an older woman joins him – in her first scene – still alone – and shortly after an escape, she is seen doing something rarely depicted in cinema, namely reading and translating poems.
The two urgent movements briefly fuse in a common impetus. They form an incomparable team whose difference offers a minimalist but opulent diorama of humaneness.
AUFBRUCH is a film of unusual corporeality: one sees hands working (woodworking), arms straining (while painting a wall), shoulders rowing, lips whispering and murmuring. The gaze of the fantastic cinematographer Klemens Koscher finds closeness in distance and vice versa and captivates with his outstanding sensitivity for light and moods; with the characters and weather moods, the film’s colour palette also shifts from colder to warmer, brighter tones.
The journey of the two characters concludes in a quasi-mythical and yet absolutely existent place; it takes them across water and through passages to an end point and turning point. Their parting from one another is delicate and cruel at the same time; it takes all the time in the world, because no one is left to count. In the last (and first) things of this film, the point is to lose oneself, find oneself again and think in a new way. (Gary Vanisian)

Production Maja Savić, Ludwig Wüst. Production company film-pla.net (Wien, Austria). Written and directed by Ludwig Wüst. Director of photography Klemens Koscher. Editing Samuel Käppeli. Music Andreas Dauböck. Sound design Bernhard Maisch. Sound Tjandra Warsosumarto. Production design Ludwig Wüst. With Ludwig Wüst (Man), Claudia Martini (Woman), Suse Lichtenberger (Woman on the phone).


2002: Ägyptische Finsternis (63 min.). 2006: Zwei Frauen (58 min.). 2007: Bon Voyage (47 min.). 2009: Koma (83 min.). 2011: Tape End (60 min.). 2012: 2012: pasolinicode02112011 (15 min.). 2013: Das Haus meines Vaters (63 min.). 2014: Abschied (73 min.). 2015: (ohne titel) (63 min.). 2016: Heimatfilm (87 min.). 2018: Aufbruch / Departure.

Photo: © Klemens Koscher

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur