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The Farewell (2000)

Abschied - Brechts letzter Sommer (original title)
It is one of the last days of an exceptionally hot summer in 1956. Bertolt Brecht (Bierbichler) is about to leave his lakeside house among the tall birches in Brandenburg to return to ... See full summary »


Jan Schütte


Klaus Pohl
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Josef Bierbichler ... Bertolt Brecht
Monica Bleibtreu Monica Bleibtreu ... Helene Weigel
Jeanette Hain ... Käthe Reichel
Elfriede Irrall Elfriede Irrall ... Elisabeth Hauptmann
Margit Rogall Margit Rogall ... Ruth Berlau
Samuel Finzi ... Wolfgang Harich
Rena Dumont Rena Dumont ... Isot Kilian (as Rena Zednikova)
Birgit Minichmayr ... Barbara Brecht
Tilman Günther ... Offizier der Staatssicherheit
Paul Herwig ... Manfred Wekwerth
Claudius Freyer Claudius Freyer ... Peter Palitzsch
Emanuel Spitzy Emanuel Spitzy ... Jungpionier
Slawomir Holland ... Offizier der Staatssicherheit
Piotr Kryska Piotr Kryska ... Fahrer der Staatssicherheit
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ulrich Matthes ... Wolfgang Harig


It is one of the last days of an exceptionally hot summer in 1956. Bertolt Brecht (Bierbichler) is about to leave his lakeside house among the tall birches in Brandenburg to return to Berlin for the upcoming theater season. Most of the women in his life are there: his wife, Helene Weigel (Bleibtreu); his daughter, Barbara; his old lover Ruth Berlau; his latest flame, the actress Käthe Reichel; and sensuous Isot Kilian, whose affections and body he shares with the rebel political activist Wolfgang Harich. The friends and lovers swim, write, eat, drink, and philosophize about art, politics, and life as the Stasi lurks all the while on the sidelines, waiting. The serenity of the country on this summer day stands in marked contrast to the storm of jealousy and egomania, betrayal and dashed hopes at whose center Brecht is trapped, struggling to make plans for a future that fate will end only days later. A brilliant ensemble cast and music by John Cale complement this fascinating portrait ... Written by Harvard Film Archive

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Germany | Poland



Release Date:

14 September 2000 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Farewell See more »

Filming Locations:

Poland See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,741, 20 January 2002

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

An interesting family
5 August 2004 | by TomlonsoSee all my reviews

I saw this movie as part of a series of films dealing with The Family. No, it wasn't sponsored by "Focus on The Family"! In that context it was a standout. Most of the audience (including myself) were less concerned about the film's historic accuracy than its portrayal of Brecht's "hareem" and the tensions that seem to always accompany such an arrangement. Brecht's poetry plays a role, but the politics seemed to be there just to set up tension between the two male leads. I thought the periodic shots of different members of the family swimming was an interesting way of showing escape. The device of setting the movie in a single day with the chiming clock to mark time was also effective. The violent end of the story, which you are set up for in the first few minutes, was very jarring nonetheless.

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