- Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
- Writer: Stefan Ruzowitzky; Hermann Hesse; Robert Gold
- Producer: Christoph Muller; Peter Wirthensohn; Thomas Pridnig
Just like Süskind's Perfume, Hesse's Narziss und Goldmund is a monumentally difficult task to transfer onto the big screen...without prior knowledge of either book, their respective films do - indeed - fare better.
So...for the purpose of this review, the book has been [for all intent and purpose] ignored! Impossible...once read, never forgotten! Goldmund is such a ravishing character - in the mind's eye - that comparisons have to be made...and this is what Stefan Ruzowitzky got absolutely right...with the casting of Jannis Niewöhner.
He is perfect. Utterly perfect. His beauty and libido are extreme. His kindness and generosity overflows...his playfulness and charm make women [instantly] weak at the knees - even the cloistered monks remark on his beauty and [his] inherent danger...to their chastity, piety and decency!
Goldmund embraces life and those around him. Narziss keeps everyone at a distance...apart from God...and, Goldmund. This is neither the consecration of forbidden love nor the dereliction of duty. This is existential love...and that really is as complex as it sounds!
Narziss und Goldmund is not a complex film...but, it is a beautiful one, the cinematography is glorious. The dichotomies are - in the book - endless...on film, they are interpreted with great swathes of sunlight and contrasted with pallid shadows that lead into a temporal darkness.
The worlds of the sacred and of the secular can be bridged, Hesse imagined it through friendship and art, Stefan Ruzowitzky - thankfully - stayed true to that sensibility. It would seem that the budget was the only constraint on the vision...but, that's the book's influence on this imagination!
Where Perfume made you want to smell [beauty], Narziss und Goldmund makes you want to feel [beauty] - now, go and read the books!
The young Goldmund is to study in the monastery Mariabronn. There he meets the Narcissus, who has dedicated himself with heart and soul to the ascetic and austere life in the monastery. An intimate friendship soon develops between the two, but the boisterous and fun-loving Goldmund soon realizes that the life the convent offers does not match his ideas of freedom and, emboldened by Narcissus, embarks on a journey full of adventure. But years later, Narcissus and Goldmund meet again under dramatic circumstances.