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When Nietzsche Wept (2007) - Indie Film Directed, Produced, and Written by Pinchas Perry, Starring Armand Assante, Ben Cross, Katheryn Winnick, Michal Yannai, and Jamie Elman


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This is a difficult, 1:45, indie-minded historical drama with very little to like about it. With such elite names as Josef Breuer, Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche, how do you go wrong telling about their intersection?

The answer is: In a lot of ways. This movie is ponderous, disjoint, clearly made to "feel" intelligent (for the NPR crowd?), but there's absolutely no greatness to be found, either in the script, or in the acting.

Please, consider this a call for disagreement. I watched this film over several days, and I'll be the first to admit that I might be missing something, but all I smell is D-U-L-L.

I have written up to here so far while having watched 1:12 of the film, and having :45 to go. I cannot imagine the last 45 minutes saving this grotesque little obligation, but who knows?

With (Academy Award Winning) Ben Cross co-starring in it, I wouldn't think "When Nietzsche Wept" was part of a doctorate program (the production values seem much too costly for such a thing), so somewhere, someone considered this a worthy piece of art. (I have resisted, with all my might, looking at any reviews for "When Nietzsche Wept" until now, and will continue to do so until the end of the film - easier said than done, knowing you might be totally wrong.)

If the dialogue between Breuer and Nietzsche (or, for that matter, Breuer and Freud) was authentic, that would explain this needless, poorly written script, but we have no proof that it is, at least none that I know of.

"When Nietzsche Wept" is a film that seems like it was made by doctoral students with textbook talent, but without real-life talent, and there's just nothing to take away from it.

I learned precious little about these characters, and - sadly - precious little about their relationships with one another. If I couldn't extract that from the film, what was there to extract?

Sometimes I wonder if hyper-educated people feel a sort of "need" to watch every film like this they can get their hands on because they might "miss something important" if they don't. Well, I can save you the trouble: the only thing you'll learn from this is that Breuer was Freud's friend and mentor, and that Breuer also knew Nietzsche - this all took place in Vienna in 1882, along with a somewhat gratuitous reenactment of Nietzsche's "God is dead" lecture to a near-empty classroom. Those little tidbits are worth knowing, and I've just saved you the trouble of watching the film.

Would someone else please watch "When Nietzsche Wept" and tell me if I've gone astray? Because now it's time for me to walk out onto a limb, and say that I suspect critics didn't like this movie, for a multitude of reasons.


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