THE WEDDING COW
STREIFFSCHUSS FILMS AG
124 E. Broadway, New York, NY 10002 U. S. A.
Tel. & Fax 001 -212-349-8747
Blasiring 133,4057 Basel, Switzerland
Luxury Hotel Concierge...............................Maria Schrader
Fleabag Hotel Concierge......................................Dani Levy
"THE WEDDING COW"
"DIE HOCHZEITSKUH" "LA VACA NUPCIAL" "UN AMOUR DE VACHE"
Flora, an irresistibly quirky young lady, sets off on a long journey to her
new job as a librarian. While still on the Island of Riigen, her train fare
gets stolen and she has to hitchhike for the first time in her life. Tim, a
simple plumber, is on his way home to the Black Forest. With him travels
the cow Hannah. Tim is a softhearted man, so he stops his pink truck and
picks up Flora. But as soon as Flora puts her "best intentions" into action,
Tim's scheduled arrival starts to evaporate. When she picks up 14-year old
runaway Jo, these incompatible companions find themselves on a journey
full of surprises, strange events and awkward love. The cow is the only one
to remain unchanged by the events. But cows don't need to change -
they're fine to start with.
Isabella Parkinson, Oliver Reinhard and the cow Hannah in the main roles.
Special guests: Maria Schrader and Dani Levy. Directed by Tomi Streiff,
produced as part of the series "Debiit im Dritten" by SWR, Germany, in
co-production with FSDRS, Switzerland and ARTE, Germany/France.
Felix and Oscar ("The Odd Couple") will always be Felix and Oscar. They are
lovable for being forever contrary to one another. Tim and Flora don't have it
as easy. They are challenged with a profound discovery: that they are not
really who they say they are. Tim may drink beer and play poker, yet he
rushes to marry a woman he doesn't love because he is afraid that his mother
will laugh at him if he doesn't. Tim in fact is not much of a macho at all, he is
a cowardly people-pleaser, caught between having to obey his mother, and
answer to the ever-crying, always-in-need-of-help, Flora. She likewise is
revealed to be too comfortable in her discomfort. Flora emerges throughout
the story as someone other than just a helpless misfit, that always lived in the
shadow of her heroic sister. Flora is in fact a calculating, manipulative person
with powers beyond what she reveals.
While in many love stories, the couple struggles against forces that pull them
apart, odd couples are invariably stuck together against their will. On the
surface, a series of circumstances keep Tim and Flora together and prolong
their journey. On a deeper level however, the true conflict lies in their own
fear of intimacy. The roles they have learned to take on through the course of
their lives, bring them safety at the price of never being truly close to anyone
-- even themselves. Whether clumsy like Flora or reserved like Tim, the
disguise hides the same thing: the fear of being exposed as anything other than
"normal". "THE WEDDING COW" is a story about finding friendship as the
arena in which to abandon the mask.
The images of the film function on several levels, the most obvious one being
the cow. It is an aesthetically comical image (as she peacefully sleeps on the
carpet of a five star hotel room), but it is also a vehicle for the theme. Hannah
(a cow with a "normal person's" name) is a stoic mountain of serenity and
acceptance in the stormy sea of events. The cow is confident, self-content, and
unpretentious. She doesn't long for acceptance. She is being rather than
wanting. Her tranquillity and compliance is a comic commentary on our
characters' rushing, worrying, hoping, crying, demanding, crashing, pleading,
kissing... Hannah is a satirical parody of both characters: Tim is too much like
a cow, while Flora is not enough of one.
At first, it looks like a conventional road movie, laden with gas stations,
landscapes, motels and road-side restaurants, and a truck, etc.:
"Wirtschaftswunder" Germany of the fifties -- or better, what's left of it
today. While the myth remains, the objects themselves have long faded and
deteriorated. Like the protagonists, they strive but are unable to live up to
"THE WEDDING COW" is a German film - but definitely with an American
touch. The story is told by blending the conventions of Hollywood's golden
days with the aesthetics of modern (European) cinema. The classical elements
of this dialogue driven situation comedy are it's snappy talk, and it's moments
of slapstick. Likewise, intrinsic to this comedy, are its slow, quiet, and tender
moments. In its modern approach to storytelling, it relies heavily on
atmosphere. Its texture involves wide landscapes and bright colors (The black
and white spotted cow, on a green meadow, in front of a blue sky for
example.). Ironically, this modern view of old fashioned Germany plays off
the bittersweet vision of Hopper's paintings which were created back in the
"Bringing Up Baby" meets "Baghdad Cafe".
Like coal condensed into a diamond, the story has been consciously reduced to
two and a half characters (all others are more or less one-line roles). The plot
is clear and clean, avoiding intricate subplots and distracting complications,
leaving the floor to the situations themselves and the characters in all their
The wacky, quirky characters are directed as if they were playing a
naturalistic role in a psychological film like "Who's Afraid of Virginia
Woolf". Their needs and deep motivations shall be as real to them as ours are
to us. The situations are humorous, but the acting is clean, dry, and realistic.
In "THE WEDDING COW" the limits of reality and its possibilities, even
where stretched to their utmost, never get really violated.
"THE WEDDING COW" should appeal to a wide range of audiences. On one
hand, it can be broadly enjoyed for its mere comic entertainment values. On
the other, a more intellectual audience should also be able to appreciate its
aesthetic and psychological components and their role in molding and carrying
the theme. But more importantly, it is meant to appeal to a wide range of
spectators because its theme is universal. Whether we belong to the outcasts or
to the popular bunch, we all have something to hide - and to overcome.
THE WEDDING COW
Interview with Tomi Streiff Writer and Director of THE WEDDING COW (Die Hochzeitskuh)
Won the Bronze Award for Comedy at the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival 2000
by Theresa Hyde
April 7, 2000
Tomi Streiff (with a five pointed star over the i in Tomi) received a BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Since 1981, he has directed and written numerous shorts, features and television segments, including AnnAgram, which received Switzerland's Division of Film Prize of the Federal Department of Culture. Tomi was assistant director for several features including I WAS ON MARS and ROBBYKALLEPAUL. In addition he has worked on a variety of projects as a Cinematographer. Tomi is a member of The Directors Guild of Switzerland and is fluent in German, English and French.
Theresa: Tell us about the movie
Tomi: Its a comedy, but its not like a hard comedy, its more like a sweet comedy.
Theresa: What inspired you to do this film?
Tomi: Probably because Im Swiss originally, so I have an affectionate relationship to cows. The cow is kind of a symbol in the whole thing. I came from Switzerland and now I live in New York. New York is a very hectic place, its very tough, everybodys running crazy, everybody is into computers, mobile phones, everybodys modern. And so, we tried to make a film with people that are un-modern. People in films, they are on top of things, they know how to use a mobile phone, they know how to go into the internet and even change programs.
The characters in my movie are totally out of touch with this technology. But its today. I see that in New York, often I see a lady that looks like shes from the 50s or the 30s, like how shes inconsistent with the times. But it seems like everybodys modern in the modern times. And every one of us has a part of us thats not modern, a part of us that is desperately trying to catch up with the modern times. My film talks to this side in us that are old-fashioned. Like a jet lag of times in us. Its not very abstract or complicated, smoke and mirrors. Its a very light and sweet movie.
Theresa: How long have you lived in New York?
Tomi: For quite a few years, I went to NYU at New York, I went to Film School there. I went back to Switzerland, which is a small country, we have like 6 million people. We have 4 languages, and so then I try to make my films there. My projects are always too big for what was possible there. And so I went back to New York, and have been out there for 9 years.
Theresa: Where was your movie made?
Tomi: It was made in Germany, a little bit of it in France, with some German and some French money.
Theresa: Have you directed films here in the U.S.?
Tomi: I have directed only during my school time in New York, but not in the free market. This film originally we were gonna make in the United States. Funny enough, it was written for Texas, and for about 3 years, I tried to get funding from here. I saw many executives, many distribution companies, many production companies. They all said, We love your movie, lets get together, lets have lunch. And at the end, there was always one element missing, We need a star and we had a star. Then, We need a second star .we need to change this .we need the contract re-done. Then, I met with a production company in Germany, then for a while, I was with an English production company. And then with a Belgian, and then for a while it was supposed to be shot in South Africa, and then in Spain, it went on and on and on. It was up and down, up and down.
And after 2 years of this, Ive had enough. And my roots are in Europe, so I decided to go back there, since I have some connections. And then I found some money in Europe, and then we had to translate it to another language, and country-wise I went back to Germany.
Theresa: Wow, thats hard
Tomi: If you stop complaining, you can succeed. Its not a lot of fun, its hard work.
UPCOMING FESTIVALS: TAOS, MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL, SAN DIEGO
"THE WEDDING COW"
"DIE HOCHZEITSKUH" "LA VACA NUPCIAL" "UN AMOUR DE VACHE"
After a successfull festival tour through Europe:
"Fresh and carefreely directed road movie with heart and a cow ****" -----TV neu
"Odd dialogue, eccentric humor, and great music - in any case, not a "German comedy" -
worth seeing" -----Emder Zeitung
"There is a lot of tenderness in this little masterpiece" -----L 'Aisne Nouvelle
"Splendid fun" -----Norderneyer Badezeitung
A stop-over in Shanghai & Mar del Plata, and a great North American
premiere at SXSW, Austin, TX:
"Quirky "Wedding Cow" brings udder bliss to SXSW", -----The Daily Texan
"Encounter love, redemption, and a runaway Holstein in this charmingly surrealistic moo-
vie", -----The Austin Chronicle
"Genial and light-hearted fable", -----The Austin Chronicle
"The Wedding Cow" (formerly: "Good Cows Are Hard to Find") just got
named: Winner Best Feature of the Emerging Directors Competition
Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival
Your next chance to see the cow grazing on a festival screen are:
WorldFest, Houston Int'l Film Festival: Sat. the 08th of April at 5:00 PM
Taos Talking Picture Festival:
Fri. the 14th of April at 1: 15 PM at the TCA
Sat. the 15th of April at 12:45 PM at the Storyteller Theater
Sun. the 16th of April at 2:45 PM at the Storyteller Theater
Minneapolis / St. Paul Int'l Film Festival:
Sun. the 23rd of April at 9:30 PM at the Oak St. Cinema
San Diego Int'l Film Festival:
Tue. the 02nd of May at 7:00 PM