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Age of Uprising
Germany, France
Drama, History
IMDB rating:
Arnaud des Pallières
Sergi López as The Armless
Paul Bartel as Jérémie
Roxane Duran as The Princess
Amira Casar as The Abbess
Denis Lavant as The Theologist
Swann Arlaud as The Baron
Jacques Nolot as The Lawyer
David Bennent as César
Mads Mikkelsen as Michael Kohlhaas
David Kross as The Preacher
Bruno Ganz as The Governor
Storyline: In the 16th century in the Cévennes, a horse dealer by the name of Michael Kohlhaas leads a happy family life. When a lord treats him unjustly, he raises an army and puts the country to fire and sword in order to have his rights restored.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
720p 1268x544 px 1468 Mb h264 1689 Kbps mkv Download
HQ DVD-rip 720x304 px 1244 Mb mpeg4 1432 Kbps mkv Download
What is justice? (May contain spoilers)
This movie is all about the question of justice, morals, and ethics within the context of choices. Kohlhaas had many options open to him, all of which were pointed out by different people.

He was a prosperous man who could afford to lose 2 horses, yet he chose to believe that the impartiality of the court system must prevail. Influence and wealth had no place in Kohlhaas's world.

He chose, along with his wife, to believe that negotiation was also an option and instead she found death.

Even in his crusade for justice, he chose to murder one of this own men (who had stolen from villagers) to reinforce that ethics must still prevail in war.

Kohlhaas was a deeply tortured soul who loved his family, his land, cared for his servants and was passionate about his horses. This is not a man who wanted to go to war willingly.

Yet when directly confronted with the wrongs of this world, his soul could not rest. The ultimate irony is that in the end justice did prevail, however the means to that end required Kohlhaas pay with his life from the very hands of those who gave him justice.

One must not forget the underlying political theme. This is during a time when institutions were a work in progress and if one man could attract a motley band of peasants and ex-soldiers for a personal crusade who else may come along and threaten the power base of the political elite.

Justice had no choice but to been seen to prevail. Yet Kohlhaas had to die for his insolence of inciting fear of revolt against those who ruled the lands.

Kohlhaas's story did not die with him and why it still remains popular today.

The Director, Anders Thomas Jensen makes his audience work hard in this movie and it helped to do some historical research before watching it.

This is a fabulous movie, raw and authentic.
A tale of -The Principled Man
Stubborn people will love this movie! Kohlhaas is a great reinforcement for the beliefs of stubborn yet principled people. I enjoyed this movie as I enjoy the sublime acting of Mads. I think he should do more historical pieces like this one as he is very comfortable and believable in the roll.

If you enjoy historical movies you will like this one. Even more so if you speak French I'm sure.

I did not, however, feel his "righteous" indignation and could never fully get behind his rebellion. Especially when by his own words it was "Not about the horses, nor his wife's death" either of which would not have justified his bloody rampage anyway.

The movie redeems itself through Kohlhaas himself who is taught and eventually understands the purpose, reason and power of forgiveness. Although too late. His ending is sad and tragic, even pathetic as he is set up to be betrayed so obviously. You can't help but feel that he is one of those doomed souls who, if he had the chance to do it all over again differently, he would.

This movie made me sad and angry. I am like his daughter who wants to get away at the end because it's all just so stupid.
Visually stunning, but oh so slow
AGE OF UPRISING: THE LEGEND OF MICHAEL KOHLHAAS is an interesting film about a mini revolution that took place in historical France. It's often a beautifully shot film, breathtakingly so at times, and it features a typically strong performance from Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role. Mikkelsen plays a sympathetic figure, a man who becomes oppressed to the extent that he has no choice but to fight back.

The problem with AGE OF UPRISING is that it goes out of its way to be as slow and arty as is humanly possibly. There's an hour's worth of plotting and incident dragged out to two hours, and boy, does it drag. Each scene plays out for far too long, and everything seems to be deliberately subdued and painstakingly detailed. Now, I do appreciate all of the lovely scenery, and having seen this in high definition I can say it's a visually stunning film.

But movies are about more than the visuals, and in that respect AGE OF UPRISING disappoints. The traditional storyline is a familiar one and nothing much happens that hasn't been seen elsewhere. In the end you can only sit back and enjoy it to a degree - and roles for the likes of Bruno Ganz help - but without getting more fully invested in a more involving movie.
could have been great - but went artsy .... w/o any art
An uprising with out a clear idea of the bad guy....No action, the story you must figure out (umm I watch a movie to be told a story not so I can guess what the hell I just spent 90 mins. watching), and SO few details.

BUT it did have great acting - just the edit and directing was... for art school - not to escape and provide enjoyment to the viewer.

With better direction it could have been a Braveheart or even better due to the acting.

In fact.... just watch Braveheart and even if you have seen it - you will still feel better for the time spent then watching this film.
German atmosphere in the French language
French films dealing with medieval events tend to be romantic, adventurous and beautiful, with colourful costumes, picturesque landscapes and magnificent dwellings. The story around Michael Kohlhaas is originally German, so is the book, that is why it is difficult to comprehend why the French became interested in this. The result is a joint French-German drama (well, I even recognised some German actors in small roles) where the French language is aggravating rather than supplementing - at least for me. The run is slow, the environment is ugly, there are a few twists, thus I started to focus on acting very soon. Of course, Mads Mikkelsen (a Dane!) is great as usual, and as far I understood, his French was very good (true, he is often employed in foreign films, I have seen him speaking Swedish, English, German as well throughout the film). Other performances seemed a bit arid to me - apparently due to the characters - and, all in all, the film in question caused ambivalent feelings; there was a lot of inner profundity, but the course of events seemed perfunctory. But fans of Mikkelsen will not be disappointed as there are a few scenes without his presence only.
Describing the legend without any fuzz
I must admit that I hadn't heard about the legend of Michael Kohlhaas before I saw this film, but then it's not my closest history either. However, that's one thing that's great about films. It can take us to other worlds and times, and tell us stories and make legends become even greater. So this film made me check out the story.

It's in many ways an understated film. A very realistic depiction, without the Hollywood nonsense. I enjoyed the story very much, and appreciate the realism that's put into it. It's a French/German film telling a German story, with Danish top actor Mads Mikkelsen in the lead. A job he as always does great.

We're back in the 1600's in Cevennes, where the horse dealer Michael Kohlhaas experiences how the rich aristocrats are doing what they want, even when it comes to stealing and killing humans. But when the young ruthless baron kills Michael's wife when so goes to negotiate after a horse theft, the gathers a gang and starts retaliating. The baron gets away, but with Kohlhaas and his gang in his heels. This is the start of a Robin Hood- like tale, with a growing number of followers as well as a growing reputation of fairness.

The film takes us back to the 1600's with no fuzz. Very much what we would think it all could have happened back then. I like the way it's shown and told. obviously not with a big budget, but solid. Chemically free of the extravaganza Hollywood would have put into it.

What annoys is a bothering background sound, an echoing noise which should have been removed. It's not enough to ruin the film experience, though.
Visually sumptuous, thought provoking.
What would you do if the legal system didn't support you or your rights? What would you do if you tried to take someone to court for compensation for something that was taken from you, and then, because of this, your family is dealt a terrible blow? Knowing you have no way to legally seek justice, would you take matters into your own hands? And once you have taken the law into your own hands, do you simply become as bad as the original aggressor? This is not something most of us have to worry about, if we live in country where rule of law is upheld. But in 16th century Europe (and in some parts of the world even now) not everyone could rely on the law.

This movie asks us to explore these questions and more. It doesn't provide us with the passive experience of sitting there and having the story, the moralities, the emotions, fed to us, as so often happens in films. It presents the material to us, and ask us to decide on who is right or wrong, who is at fault, and maybe to ask us what we might do in the same situation.

Visually, it is sumptuous, organic, exquisitely beautiful. Rugged mountain vistas, timber, earth, stone and leather. And let's not forget that it has Mads Mikkelsen as the lead character, speaking French and riding horses. This is a combination that is hard to beat, for sensory appeal. I don't speak French so I have no idea how his Danish accent is accounted for in the film, but his steely stares to the horizon and his drive for justice, and the consequences that follow, are powerful to watch.

This film is definitely on the art-house side of film-making, and probably wont appeal to those who want everything delivered to them, but asks us powerful questions about rights and wrongs, actions and their consequences, while delivering a beautiful visual experience.
Fanatical and detached
Formerly a documentary maker, with one feature ADIEU under his belt, Arnaud des Pallières has obviously taken to heart the description of Von Kleist's 1810 novella as surprisingly modern in theme (a fanatical quest for justice) and style (existentialist detachment posing as a chronicle). Having nailed himself to the mast on these two principles as director and writer Pallières consequently has nowhere to go. The plot, transposed to France rather than Brandenburg, is still set in the 16th Century, and it follows Kleist's novella closely. The fanatical quest for justice is absolutely there but Kleist wrote MICHAEL KOHLHAAS as a novella. Pallières inflates it into a 122 minute film (feels longer) - not kind to Kleist or his actors, especially Mads Mikkelsen, who does all the heavy lifting. The emphasis on Kohlhaas as one of these new-fangled Protestants reading the Bible in the vernacular contributes to our understanding that this man is an outsider and a rebel in his heart. His isolated living conditions contribute to the sense of an outsider. His misreading of the power structure when he first tries to get justice through the courts and again when he orders his followers home again show him to be the outsider – all these things are in the book and in the film. The film lacks dramatic suspense – you are in no doubt what will happen from the opening confrontation with the Baron's men - and only becomes more tedious as we labour towards the conclusion. We crave suspense, light and shade and emotional variations. We don't get them. Many sequences in this film had beginnings and middles but no endings, for example where Kohlhaas and his wife are in bed together and the child comes in and tells them they are making a noise. Right, okay, so then... Some scenes are unnecessary, for instance, where Kohlhaas' adherents are seen learning the hard way that they mustn't loot. Much later Kohlhaas delivers a speech (important in the context of the nature of his revolt against authority) - his followers mustn't steal and mustn't take gifts but must pay for everything they take. Surely one of these two sequences is repetitive and weren't they out of order? In the attack on the Baron's stronghold, I was left very confused about the outcome for the woman and her crying baby. There were a lot of cross bows and arrows flying about. Does Kohlhaas accept killing everyone there or not? There are peculiar lapses in the script – Kohlhaas talks more than once about his children but we only meet the daughter so where are the others? Are his sons with him in the revolt? Apparently not. And who is Jérémie – nephew or neighbour? Existential detachment posing as a chronicle is not a natural fit for narrative cinema, for good reason. As a documentary maker Pallières knows how to make something out of the material available to him but as a narrative film-maker he has refused to shape his story, sticking to his existential detachment etc above. Unfortunately, he isn't Bergman or Brecht. The camera frames tightly on each character but there is never a sense of life going on outside the frame. In this world of people and horses the little daughter seems totally isolated. No other animals exist – where are the chickens, the sheep, the odd cat or mouse on this farm? Pallières is keen on big wide pans – unfortunately they don't give you much to read – men and horses, horses and men, occasionally a wagon. The opening with the long shot on the ridge against a brooding sky of the men leading their horses to market, introducing Michael Kohlhaas and his world, was striking. I accepted the low available light, slightly off-key sight lines, and lack of precision where we were in the set up. After all, we are post-Dogme now. But Pallières' refusal to give us a sense of life beyond the edges of each frame soon made the film airless, relying too much on Mads Mikkelsens' subtle face to keep us emotionally involved. The other actors seemed happy to convey little with their faces – but I sense he and Bruno Ganz who smuggled in a few twitches of the mouth were struggling. And it implies that the director cast for faces rather than performance qualifications. There were some sequences to enjoy – Michael Kohlhaas' dirty bare feet as he walked about the farm; unrolling the bolt of fabric to reveal the dress for his wife after his successful sale of the horses; and the attack by the rebels on the convoy supposedly taking the Baron away, shot from up high on a hill top and watched with detachment. But in the scene where the mother's body is returned home and the little daughter runs and runs and runs it would normally carry a weight of emotion – fear, suspense, horror – but here it's just a lot of running. The editing is chaotic, the flow fractured, and we never know where we are in the story. If this is the fruit of existentialist detachment give me old-fashioned narrative. In judgement – I think the film long, confused and emotionally neutered – but faithful in intent to the novella. But why should books and films be a pure reflection of the other? Maybe Pallières is saying that anyone who isn't familiar with the novella isn't worth the trouble of an explanation about anyone or anything that happens. If he is holding two fingers up to most of his potential audience it's not much of a career move. And he has certainly queered the pitch for the next enterprising but unknown filmmaker who wants Mads Mikkelsen to come work with him. I look forward to Mads Mikkelsens' THE SALVATION for his own take on man against the powers that be. It will be interesting.
I do agree with one of the reviewers that this movie is not meant for a general audience. It avoids all the blockbuster clichés in order to focus on the essential - the story. It seems in fact to follow the style of Kleist's original novel - dry, understated. I find this approach very modern, it makes you think and feel instead of giving you pre-chewed material. And feel you do. I think the use of contrast between the action that is shown and how this action is performed is exceptional. When Kohlhaas's household goes on its first revenge campaign to the baron's house the killings take place in an absolutely silent, matter-of-fact manner, as if they did this every day (similar to the hangman at the end, except he DID do this every day, so to speak). And so it is with most of the movie. I think this also reflects the atmosphere of the middle ages - life was rougher, death, especially violent death, was more present. Children watched animals being slaughtered (well, there is only a mare giving birth in the movie). Life (and death) was more direct, more present. And although there is a lot of violence, it is off-screen. It is hinted at. The worst you will see is blood on hands and on a sword, that's all. I think this was a very judicious choice, if you think that violence has become commonplace in movies, almost banal. Mads Mikkelsen does speak with an accent, but it is an exaggeration to say that one doesn't understand a word. French is by far not my first language, but I did understand the dialogues. And then the director covered himself for this - Kohlhaas speaks with Jeremie in German, which shows that he is not French (so does his name). When the Princess comes to his house, she didn't come to apologize to the little girl. Rather, she came to see with her own eyes who this daring man was (she did come accompanied by a small army, so it wasn't a courtesy visit), and perhaps also to warn him that he might not be over it yet. This is quite clear if you listen carefully to her monologue, where she explains that a person of power (i.e. her) cannot afford to be either too forgiving or too cruel, so as not to come across to her subjects as either mellow or tyrannical. And then she materializes this philosophy of hers at the end: she renders justice to Kohlhaas in all respects - gives him money for the wrongs suffered, imprisons the baron for the wrongs done, shows the horses in question healed, and punishes the rebel, i.e. Kohlhaas. He does cry at the end. I think this is a quite realistic performance, even from such an emotionless character as Kohlhaas, because, I think, no matter how tough you are, I don't see how one can remain calm knowing that one will be decapitated in the following minutes. And although the film does not show emotions in characters, it builds emotion in the viewer - just think of the long preparation before the beheading. This scene made my blood freeze. So, this is not an action movie, but it works your adrenaline up by letting you interpret the understatements. It is not a bildungsroman either, so don't expect much character development. It simply describes a situation. You would say it is almost a story from the New Yorker. A quick hint for the end - if you liked Kubrick's Barry Lindon, you will adore Micheal Kohlhaas. I think the two films display the same sort of sensibility.
I had to search to find a summary for this movie and the word cryptic says it all.

Mainly the story has a aim of getting back two horses in good shape.

Certainly not something to start a war over!!!! A lawyer or such tells Kohlhaas that the court was corrupt after he made a legitimate complaint for redress of the horses and mutilation of his friend.

There was a aristocratic bias that changed owing to the death of an elder nobleman at the beginning.

The princess and baron were in cahoots and both were criminals.

Both should have been exiled or put in prison for what they did to Kohlhaas.

The initial incident at the bridge was hard to understand.

Why didn't Kohlhaas pay the permit fee outright instead of using the horses for collateral?? Were they so sophisticated that money was considered an affront?? The Priest at the end convinces Kohlhaas not to go forward with his revolt and that was a huge mistake.

His wife gets murdered for which there is no retribution or explanation.

His horses nearly are murdered as well.

His best friend is killed in battle after being mutilated by the barons vicious dogs.

The entire population was up in arms supporting Kohlhass.

This type of loyalty or support doesn't just happen.

They all had an ax to grind.

Its inexplicable why Kohlhaas desisted in his attempt to overthrow the ruling class there.

He certainly had plenty of reason to die in the attempt.

It doesn't add up that he should die at the behest of two criminals to play by someone else's crooked rules.

All the pieces do not fit.

However it is a well acted,photographed and intriguing movie.
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