In summer 2010, GERMAN PREMIERES celebrated its 25th screening in New York with the German feature VINCENT WANTS TO SEA (VINCENT WILL MEER, 2009) by Ralf Huettner. Since 2004, GERMAN PREMIERES, an initiative by German Films (the national information and advisory center for the promotion of German films worldwide), has presented 25 noteworthy new German features – fiction as well as documentaries – to attract the attention of US distributors and buyers.
In the German feature, VINCENT WANTS TO SEA, twenty-something-year-old Vincent suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. His is of the verbal kind: whenever he gets nervous, he involuntary curses or shouts out obscenities. And Vincent suffers from it tremendously. Plus, he is a huge disappointment to his father – who had wished for a golden boy but instead feels like he was handed a bad card.
The film opens just as Vincent’s mother has passed away. Vincent’s father is now in charge of his son and faced with a situation he did not ask for. Right in the middle of an election campaign, and with no time nor patience to deal with his son, he decides to hand Vincent off to a clinic to take care of him – and maybe even cure him.
Dr. Rose, his new therapist, tries to explain that Tourette’s syndrome is a treatable but not curable disorder but Vincent’s father departs from the clinic as fast as he has arrived – leaving his son behind.
Settling in, Vincent meets Marie, an anorexic young woman, and Alexander, his obsessive compulsive room mate. Together, the three take off on a trip to the sea – to Italy, where Vincent’s mother was most happy, and where he wants to scatter her ashes.
“Borrowing” Dr. Rose’s car, the troubled trio sets off on a road trip which leads them to appreciate each other and themselves a little more – closely followed by Dr. Rose and Vincent’s father in a second car, both also going through their own journey of reflection and acceptance.
The three patients are well cast with Florian David Fitz as Vincent (who also makes his debut as script writer – and should be congratulated for turning in a sensitive, subtle and at the same time charming piece of work), Karoline Herfurth as Marie (internationally known for starring in PERFUME, 2006, A YEAR AGO IN WINTER, 2008, and THE READER, 2008) as well as up-and-coming Johannes Allmayer as Alexander. As for the duo on the heels of the young renegades, Vincent’s father is played by Heino Frech (known overseas for his roles in COMEDIAN HARMONISTS, 1997, RUN LOLA RUN, 1998, DOWNFALL, 2004 as well as THE BAADER MEINHOFF COMPLEX, 2008) and Dr. Rose by the well established German theater and television actress Katharina Mueller-Elmau.
Award-winning veteran filmmaker Ralf Huettner, best known for his film and TV comedies, has made an engaging and entertaining film, and has found the right balance between drama and comedy without exploiting his characters’ ticks and traumas or rendering them clichés.
Despite dealing with difficult and little known psychological disorders, the film has found its audience – or maybe better the audience has found the film. And much to the surprise of producers and filmmakers alike, the film has become a German box office success: 600,000 admissions and counting since its theatrical opening at the end of April…
For more information on VINCENT WANTS TO SEA, please visit www.vincent.film.de