© drei-freunde/Filmwelt

Falco - Verdammt, wir leben noch!
Austria/Germany 2008

Opening 5 Jun 2008

Directed by: Thomas Roth
Writing credits: Thomas Roth
Principal actors: Manuel Ruby, Christian Tramitz, Patricia Aulitzky, Susi Stach

This docudrama portrays the real life of Falco, a successful Austrian pop singer in the 1980s. Born in 1957 with the real name of Johann Hölzel, he skipped classes and listened to music on the radio. He played in a band as a teenager and realized that he was special. He reinvented himself by taking on the pseudonym Falco (which he copied from a successful East German skier), changing his wardrobe to white suits and fancy hats, and performing a kind of spoken rhythmic sing-song, which gave him the reputation of being the first white rapper. He often compared himself to Elvis, and there are parallels: he was one of triplets, the only one to survive. As an only child, he grew up poor with an overbearing mother. His marriage lasted about a year, although contrary to Elvis, he was not the biological father of his much-loved daughter. He died atjust 41 years old in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. One of his first hits was Rock Me Amadeus, which today is still the only German-language pop song to make the U.S. Billboard charts. Another successful song was Jeanny, which caused a scandal as many people interpreted it to be a description of the murder of a young woman. Falco fans will enjoy seeing their hero, although the Austrian dialect is often very difficult to understand, even if you are fluent in German. Where are the subtitles when you need them? Manuel Rubey is a sensation in the lead role; he makes the film worthwhile. He sings all the songs (no playback) as if Falco had fooled us all and risen from the dead, smiling that foolish little grin and being bratty. Directed by Thomas Roth. (Becky Tan)

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