DAY 9: LAUGH, LIVE
For the European Film Festival, Switzerland, the land that has given us good wristwatches, fine chocolates, Federer, not to mention the infamous Swiss Bank, has provided the very funny Langer Leben (To Live Longer) as its only contribution to the festival.
Max Wanner- who tells his worried son, “If I lived in America, I’d sue Pringles and buy an island” and Fritz Pollatschek are ailing elderly men, the former requires a liver to live, and the latter needs a heart. The eccentric and opera loving Dr Schoellkopf gets them, to sign an agreement that ensures one donates the relevant organ to the other depending on who dies first. The agreement also implies both are not supposed to meet, but the kleptomaniac Wanner steals the doctor’s key and locates Fritz, who was a former Olympic champion in javelin and has a habit of phoning a crime program on television to the irritation of the telephone operator. Later, Wanner steals the doctor’s phone and the aging pair are lead into a confrontation with criminals dealing in body parts.
To Live Longer explores the loneliness of growing old, showing old people happy to be in the thick of things once again. The script shows an absolute grasp of that most important thing in comedy: timing. There are some laugh-out-loud moments, but it is the overall hilarity that gives this comedy its punch.