Buddenbrooks + The Godfather


Double feature: Goodness knows, “The Godfather” doesn’t need anything else written about it. And, of course, the natural, undeniable impulse is to follow any viewing of it with its own sequel/prequel. But for something less conventional and equally evocative, try double-featuring it with the 1970’s German TV production of Thomas Mann’s “Buddenbrooks” – another multi-generational saga with literary roots.

You want family drama writ large?  The kind arising from the effort of establishing and maintaining a “business” dynasty and enriched by the twin obsessions of image and duty? The kind epic enough to take you out of your own while simultaneously pointing to the universality of both? You’ll find it in “Buddenbrooks” just as much as in “The Godfather.”

Interested in watching three generations struggle with the burden of their family name – either trying to legitimize it or struggling to hold onto its already established respectability? Again, you’ll see it in both, in equal measure.

Both satisfy a viewer’s appetite for layers – of interior design, of history, of betrayal and loyalty, of the safety and danger of padding one’s home and one’s life with a cushion of minions.

And both are rich enough to do the rest of the speaking for themselves.

(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “chotda” and “ninacoco” at Flickr)

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