Till Eulenspiegel is the protagonist of a Germ…

Till Eulenspiegel is the protagonist of a German chapbook from 1515 (a first edition of circa 1510/12 is preserved fragmentarily) with a possible background in earlier Middle Low German folklore.

Eulenspiegel is a native of Braunschweig (Brunswick) whose picaresque career takes him to many places throughout the Holy Roman Empire. He plays practical jokes on his contemporaries, especially scatological in nature, exposing vices at every turn. His life is set in the first half of the 14th century, and the final chapters of the chapbook describe his death from the plague of 1350. His name translates to “owl mirror”, and the frontispiece of the 1515 chapbook, as well as his alleged tombstone in Mölln, Schleswig-Holstein, display the name in rebus writing, by an owl and a hand mirror. Retellings of the Eulenspiegel tradition have been published in modern literature, since the later 19th century. Notably, The Legend of Thyl Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak by Charles De Coster (1867) transfers the character to the context of the Protestant Reformation and the Dutch Revolt. The Ulenspiegel (modern Dutch: Tijl Uilenspiegel) from this novel became a symbol of Flemish independence. Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Till_Eulenspiegel

Momo (1986) In German with English subtitles…

Momo (1986)

In German with English subtitles. 1 hour 40 minutes. Momo is a 1986 children’s/fantasy film directed by German film maker Johannes Schaaf and based on the classic 1973 novel „Momo“ by the famous German writer Michael Ende. It is about the concept of time and how it is used by humans in modern societies.

Synopsis: In the ruins of an amphitheatre just outside an unnamed Italian city lives Momo, a little girl of mysterious origin. She is remarkable in the neighbourhood as she has the extraordinary ability to listen — really listen. By simply being with people and listening to them, she can help them find answers to their problems, make up with each other, and think of fun games. This pleasant atmosphere is spoiled by the arrival of the Men in Grey. These strange individuals represent the Timesavings Bank and promote the idea of timesaving among the population, time which can be deposited to the Bank and returned to the client later with interest. In reality, the more time people save, the less they have. The time they save is actually lost to them, consumed by the Men in Grey. Momo, however, is a wrench in the plans of the Timesaving Bank thanks to her special personality.

The film is a German/Italian co-production in which author Michael Ende himself played the role of the passenger in the train (who is told the story by Master Hora and writes it down). It seems that Ende, unhappy with how the previous film based on his „Die Unendliche Geschichte“ (The Neverending Story) did not follow the spirit of the book faithfully enough, requested that he was involved more directly in filming „Momo“.

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Favorite German Words

Der Dreckspatz = literally, “dirt sparrow”. As in grubby kid, mucky pup, filthy cutie, little piggie, usually used lovingly in the context of children when about to clean them up. Related: Der Schmutzfink, same concept, but somewhat more “grown-up”. This may be someone who really isn’t a fan of cleaning up spaces, or themselves. A slob.