Enlightenment Guaranteed | Chicago Reader

Enlightenment Guaranteed

Germany's auteur of angst, Doris Dörrie (Am I Beautiful?, Men . . . ), directed this poignant 2000 social comedy about two frustrated middle-aged brothers from Munich who embark on a pilgrimage to a Buddhist monastery near Tokyo. One is a selfish appliance salesman whose wife has deserted him (Uwe Ochsenknecht), the other a meek feng shui consultant aspiring to a Zen serenity (Gustav Peter Wöhler), and they're slowly stripped of their worldly belongings as they journey through the electronic chaos of Tokyo to the calm oasis of the monastery. As usual, Dörrie mocks the male gender, but this time her exasperation with the characters is tempered by love and sympathy. The story's cross-cultural misunderstandings are sharp and funny; more than any other foreign director I know, Dörrie has captured the maddening contradictions of Japanese life. In German with subtitles. 105 min.

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