Director: Pinchas Perry.
Screenwriter: Pinchas Perry.
Adapted from the novel by Irvin D. Yalom.
Cinematographer: Georgi Nikolov.
Production: Millennium Films.
Plot: Viennese doctor Josef Breuer and
Friedrich Nietzsche swap therapies to
treat their maladies.
Armand Assante ... Friedrich Nietzsche.
Ben Cross ... Josef Breuer.
Joanna Pacula ... Mathilda Breuer.
Jamie Elman ... Sigmund Freud.
Rachel O'Meara ... Frau Becker.
Katheryn Winnick ... Lou Salomé.
Michal Yannai ... Bertha.
If you can make it through the first 25 minutes without lacing your popcorn with arsenic — where Nietzsche is depicted as a migraine-ridden, slovenly whoremonger, and Katheryn Winnick tackles her role of Lou Salomé with dee vurst komeekal Roosian accent since Natasha's confrontations with Rocky and Bullwinkle — you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.
Returning from hospital, stomach freshly-pumped, we grit our teeth, plop in the DVD, and return to the spectacle. At first glance, what is striking about this attempt to highlight Nietzsche is the spaghetti against the wall tactic: let's throw into the plot every personal fact we think we know about him and hope that something "telling" sticks. Thus we get the headaches, whores and psychedelic dreams, all more apropos to an 80s' punk video than anything remotely resembling a veiled biopic. There is also a smattering of favorite catchphrases when Pinchas Perry deems it appropriate to move the story along. However, to be fair, we really don't know that much about Nietzsche's personal life other than what he wished to reveal. Still, a cursory dip into Curt Paul Janz's crushingly epic biography shows us a fastidious man trapped in a decaying body, a perfumed philosopher crammed into the decrepit surroundings of a pensionnaire. It would be more fitting, not to mention more fun, to portray this mask of perceived nobility slowly melting away under the heat of failing health and poverty than what we get here, which is more of an ode to a conversationalist on the road to catatonia.
Armand Assante (Nietzsche) plays an off-putting character, everything slightly askew — from his attire to the requisite 'stache — but the material he has to work with inhibits any tension on screen, i.e., that of a man breaking down and breaking apart while still producing astounding philosophical works. Assante once pulled this off perfectly years ago, with his portrayal of the cuckolded conductor in the remake of Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours, but never really gets the chance to fulfill that promise. Instead, he is limited to carrying around some mangy burden that can only be lifted by interacting with his doctor, Joseph Breuer (Ben Cross), a peevish, bourgeois Viennese physiologist with a failing marriage and an obsession for a female patient. Breuer suggests a Swiss spa for the philosopher's stress and offers to treat him gratis, which only arouses Nietzsche's suspicions about the doctor's motives. Breuer then discloses his need for treatment of his own mental despair, and the two finally agree to attempt a mutual healing process.
The doctor's subsequent discussions with his young friend Sigmund Freud (Jamie Elman) — who with a display of pleasant equanimity, comes off as the only genuine person in the entire movie — center around integrating Nietzsche's conscious and unconscious drives to alleviate his suffering. At the Lauzon Clinic, Breuer reveals his past affair with his patient Bertha (Michal Yannai), and Nietzsche submits that this despair hinges on her power over him. He then suggests that the doctor lie down on the couch for an effective way of recalling memories, and as Breuer later relates the story to his friend Freud, we see the alleged birth of psychoanalysis.
Meanwhile, Nietzsche soon discovers that something is rotten in the state of Breuer-land, as the affluent yet dissatisfied doctor laments his bourgeois malaise, lust, as well as the ultimate obsession that drives all men to despair. Bertha's parting words "you will always be the only man in my life" worm their way into him, and he resorts to turning the tables and delving into Nietzsche's own failures at love. At this point, nothing could be more risible than Assante responding meekly like a church mouse, getting in touch with his feminine side, as it were. Acknowledging it, surely, overcoming it, certainly, but puhlease ... He then recovers and likewise does his worst, exposing Breuer's own sugar-coated obsession in the harshest light.
The movie wanders around this theme of emotional one-upmanship all in the service of that psychological panacea called friendship, as you wonder if you forgot to let the dog out and stare longingly at the arsenic on the counter. But with a sigh and a self-reprimand, let us say that, at its core, When Nietzsche Wept isn't really about the philosopher at all. It could have been entitled "When Joe Shlabotnik Wept," but no one outside of a few devotees of Charles Schultz would get the reference, or even care. It's really a paean to psychoanalysis and the so-called "talking cure": the fact that Nietzsche participates in the conversation is mere window-dressing. Witness the opening university "lecture" in which he espouses opinions he would only express many years after he retired from teaching due to ill health. When Nietzsche Wept doesn't confuse us with the facts — for they would just get in the way of the fiction, and a poor interpretation at that.Dias de
Nietzsche em Turim
"Nietzsche's Days in
Director: Júlio Bressane.
Screenwriters: Júlio Bressane and Rosa
Cinematographer: José Tadeu Ribeiro.
Production: Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV.
Plot: Traces Nietzsche's final working
days before his collapse in Turin.
Fernando Eiras ... Friedrich Nietzsche.
Premiered at 2001 Venice Film Festival.
Watch Movie (Youtube).
Unfortunately, this movie and the one below are infamous in one respect: with deft manipulation and reconstruction of Hans Olde's still photos from 1889, they created another internet legend about Nietzsche.
It's not actual film footage of the incapacitated philosopher.
Elisabeths Wille 
Weimar 2000: Video-Presentation.
Production: Stiftung Weimar Klassik — Besucherfilm.
Script: Sabine Schirdewahn.
Special effects: Lutz Garmsen.
Hand-crank camera: Jürgen Rumbuchner.
Director: Sabine Schirdewahn, Sven Hain.
Friedrich Nietzsche ... Alfred Hartung.
Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche ... Helga K. Männche-Kolb.
Special effects film based on Hans Olde's 1899 photography. See Renate Reschke, "Vom Schein der Authentizität. Elisabeths Wille von Sabine Schirdewahn im Kontext früher Nietzsche-Fotografien." In: Nietzsche im Film: Projektionen und Götzendämmerungen. Volker Gerhardt, Renate Reschke. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2009: 79-100. [Series: Nietzscheforschung. Band 16.]
Watch Movie (wmv).
A film by Stephen Blauweis and
Language: English-version narrated by
Premiered in Sils-Maria, Switzerland in
Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil
Part of the series Human,
All Too Human:
Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre.
Director: Simon Chu.
Originally produced for television
broadcast (BBC) in 1999.
This video can be found at many
Also ripped on YouTube.
Part of the series Great
Discussion between Bryan Magee and J. P.
Originally produced for television
broadcast (BBC) in 1987.
This video can be found at many
Also ripped on YouTube.
Al di là
del bene e del male
Also Known As:
Oltre il Bene e il Male (Italy).
Au-delà du bien et du mal (France).
Beyond Good and Evil (USA).
Jenseits von Gut und Böse (Germany).
Seeds of Evil (Australia: video title).
Director: Liliana Cavani.
Screenwriters: Franco Arcalli, Liliana
Cavani, Italo Moscati.
Cinematographer: Armando Nannuzzi.
Production: Clesi Cinematografica.
Dominique Sanda ... Lou Andreas-Salomé.
Erland Josephson ... Friedrich Nietzsche.
Robert Powell ... Paul Rée.
Virna Lisi ... Elisabeth Nietzsche.
Michael Degen ... Karl Andreas.
Elisa Cegani ... Franziska Nietzsche.
Umberto Orsini ... Bernard Förster.
Philippe Leroy-Beaulieu ... Peter Gast.
Carmen Scarpitta ... Malvida.
Nicoletta Machiavelli ... Amando.
Amedeo Amodio ... Dott. Dulcaman.
Watch Movie (Youtube, with — ugh — Spanish subtitles).
A Disciple of Nietzsche
Scenario: Philip Lonergan.
Production: Thanhouser Film Corporation.
Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc.
Marshall Welch ... The Professor
Lorraine Huling ... The Professor's Daughter
Florence LaBadie ... The Factory Girl
Harris Gordon ... The Gangster
Boyd Marshall ... The Factory Foreman
This anti-eugenic drama, released in September 1915, was inspired
by H. L. Mencken's 1908 book, The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, from which Lonergan quotes verbatim in his scenario. Unfortunately, no copies of the film survived.
A detailed plot summary is in the newspaper, "The Moving
Picture World," 1915:2246-47 (click below), while a more recent but brief synopsis appears in Martin S. Pernick, The Black Stork. Eugenics and the Death of "Defective" Babies in
American Medicine and Motion Pictures Since 1915. Oxford
University Press: New York, 1996:131. Both sources fail to attribute the purported Nietzschean text in the scenario to Mencken. For more reviews of the film from 1915, see Q. David Bowers, Thanhouser Films: An Encyclopedia and History, available on CD-ROM.
OTHER SITES OF INTEREST:
in Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice