Tour de Force

Tuesday



Christian Zübert’s drama Tour de Force (Hin und Weg) opened the KINO! 2015 festival of German films in New York City. Each year, Hannes, Kiki and their friends get together to bike cross-country, sharing laughter and adventures along the way. It’s now the couple’s turn to host the trip and having anticipated a more exotic location, the group is underwhelmed to discover that the pair (played by Florian David Fitz and Julia Koschitz) have chosen Belgium.

Early on in the film, Hannes reveals the real reason behind going to Belgium. Rapidly succumbing to an incurable illness, he wants to die. Instead of suffering through the indignities of completely losing his physical and mental capacities, and causing his family distress with a drawn-out death, Hannes’ final wish is to celebrate one last time with Kiki, his younger brother and their friends, ending their trip in Ostend, a city with legalized assisted euthanasia. Hannes’ companions must decide whether they will support him and celebrate life to the fullest, or submit to their own feelings of anger and sorrow.
Doctor-assisted suicide has been controversial in the US for a long time with cases making headlines around the country. Tour de Force humanizes the issue, posing the question of whether to support someone’s right to die while witnessing the devastating effects firsthand. Filled with common cinematic tropes, Ariane Schröder’s screenplay, however, makes powerful use of the cliché, like the best pop songs about love. Death, like love, is a universal theme and a visceral experience that draws people together.

 

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