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Jonathan’s Liebe

Jonathan’s Liebe

By Patrick Samuel • November 21st, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 5/5

Air date: November 13th, 2001
Station: Sat1
Running time: 90 minutes

Director: Zoltan Spirandelli

Country of origin: Germany
Original language: German

Cast: Benjamin Sadler, Maria Simon, Thomas Scharff, Robin Grubert

It was 10 years ago in Berlin but I still remember the experience of having my stomach pumped and answering questions from police and medics.

Pills, sharp objects and anything else I could harm myself with were removed from the apartment and as I rested in bed the next day I caught this German made-for-television film on Sat1.

Jonathan's Liebe

Although my German language skills were not very good, I somehow managed to follow this one very well. It was a story about two brothers, Jonathan (Benjamin Sadler) and Christoph (Thomas Scharff) who couldn’t be more different from each other. Christoph is charming, sly and superficial. He’s trendy, likes expensive things, works for a record company and is more busy with what he can get from others than what he can give.

Jonathan is much quieter, more intelligent and has a creative side. He spends his time designing websites and doesn’t get out very much. A childhood illness left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life and he also suffers from a speech impediment, both contribute to his low self esteem although he gets on very well with his elderly housekeeper, Bertchen (Christel Peters), and a young boy who lives nearby.

Jonathan's Liebe

When Bertchen has to go into hospital, she arranges for Christoph to stay with Jonathan and look after him. Jonathan is absolutely horrified at the idea knowing that Christoph is completely incapable of caring for anyone but himself but they decide to give it a go. At the same time, a young woman, Nina (Maria Simon) moves in next door and catches both Jonathan and Christoph’s attention.

Jonathan's Liebe

Christoph tries desperately to impress her with his charms but he’s in for a surprise when she starts work at his record company – as his boss. Jonathan forms a friendship with her and although he likes her very much he thinks he will never have a chance to be close with to her or anyone else because of his condition.

As the story is told, Christoph ends up betraying his brother in some of the worst possible ways, not because he intended to, but because he just didn’t consider how much his selfishness and thoughtlessness could hurt others.

Jonathan is left humiliated, hurt and heartbroken, first after a disastrous birthday when Christoph pays a woman to sleep with him and then later on when he discovers he’s taken Nina to a lakeside cabin for a romantic getaway.

Jonathan's Liebe

As Jonathan makes his way home alone, Laura Pausini’s tearful ballad “One More Time” plays and I don’t know what affected me more; the words written by Richard Marx and David Foster, Jonathan’s heartbreak, or my own, but it suddenly made me feel not so alone anymore. I began to regret my own foolishness.

Jonathan's Liebe

Attempting suicide was the worst mistake I have ever made in my life. Looking back on it 10 years later I still remember the feelings that lead me there and they were not unlike those that Jonathan was experiencing in this film. Hurt, betrayal, loneliness, despair, anger and an overwhelming feeling of being unloved and the sadness that can bring. I remember in the days leading up to it I felt as if the ground was spinning and most days I would just hold onto it until I felt like not holding on anymore.

Something changed on the night of November 13th 2001. While it was a year long struggle to get to a point where I was really living life for the first time and not just going through the motions, Jonathan’s Liebe, with its touching story and performance by Benjamin Sadler as Jonathan, couldn’t have come at a better time. Watching him filled me with hope that things could get better and inspired me to be better.

A friend saw how much the film meant to me and got me a copy from Sat1 and I still have it. There are times when I like to remember how far I’ve come from those days and how grateful and lucky I am for those interventions. In the end nothing helps more than the will to help yourself and Jonathan’s Liebe played a part in getting me there.

“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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