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May 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Going into the homestretch at the Cannes Film Festival, which ends on Saturday, the clear leader for the top Palme d’Or award, at least among the critics here, is Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann. All the more remarkable is the fact that it is a German comedy, more or less a rarity in the land of the Teutons. Indeed London Telegraph critic Robbie Collin commented in his review, “Not only does German humor exist, it might just save your life. That’s one of many horizon-altering takeaways from the exquisite Toni Erdmann.” Not a single critic faulted the film’s two-hour-and-forty-two-minute length. Leslie Felperin marveled in the Hollywood Reporter: “Here is the world’s first genuinely funny, 162-minute German comedy of embarrassment.” And in Variety, critic Guy Lodge remarked: “The film takes precisely as much time as it needs.” The film’s principal characters are a more-or-less estranged bipolar father and daughter, played by Sandra Hüller and Peter Simonischek seeking to bridge their differences. But the film has plenty of time to explore other matters, such as ethical behavior in modern business, the demands of Internet communication, and sexism in the workplace. During its press screening the audience sometimes whooped in approval of some of scenes and at one point even burst into sustained applause. Virtually every major critic attending the festival gave the film a four-star review. The Irish Times‘s Donald Clarke summed up: “What a delightful surprise [Toni Erdmann] has turned out to be.”