Archive for March 5th, 2014

March 5, 2014

Dror Zahavi: “The Hunt for Troy”

The Hunt for Troy  The Hunt for Troy

TV Movie
Original Title: Der geheimnisvolle Schatz von Troja
First Released: 2007
Run Time: 180 minutes
Starring: Heino Ferch (Heinrich Schliemann), Mélanie Doutey (Sophia), Kostja Ullmann (Demetrios)

Synopsis: True story about how famous German businessman and archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann located the ruins of the mythical ancient city of Troy in Turkey in 1868.

My Thoughts: To best understand my feelings about this movie (or maybe it is a two-part miniseries, I’m not even sure), you perhaps have to know how I was introduced to it. I was scanning the adventure movies shelf of the rental shop in the tiny city just north of the tiny town where I lived in northern Japan when I caught sight of the word トロイ (Troy) on a DVD spine. Looking at the cover (included above on the right), I was amazed both because I had never heard of the movie before and also because look at that cover. It is majestic. An awkwardly Photoshopped Indiana Jones-type hero posing in front of what may well be the horse from Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy. I would like to believe this cover is the reason photo editing was invented. Obviously I took the DVD home, expecting a cheap rip-off of Indiana Jones that was sure to be both hilarious and terrible.

I should probably insert a disclaimer here letting you know that the DVD I rented offered audio in the original German or the Japanese dub. I chose the latter and understood, I would say, about 85%; I must admit there was an entire subplot where I pretty much just had to guess what was going on. However, what I did understand was much less cheap, terrible, or Indiana Jones-y than I had been anticipating. In all honesty, I actually found it to be a fairly compelling mix of adventure story and love story and a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

It … was still kind of hilarious, though. Where IMDb gets off calling it a “true story,” I have no idea. Only in the most general details does this movie bear any resemblance to the historical Heinrich Schliemann’s search for Troy; it has no compunctions about adding chase scenes, gunfights or love triangles anywhere it feels they are necessary. (I never ever in my whole life thought I would ever watch a movie featuring a Heinrich Schliemann/Sophia Schliemann ~fade to black~ implied sex scene. I suppose we never can predict where life will take us.) Some of the artifacts they find at Troy are pretty fantastic as well, to the point that I would not have been surprised if the characters had unearthed an autographed photo of Achilles. And the last few scenes are way more dramatic than they have any right to be, especially when a lot of people believe that the real Heinrich Schliemann’s reports on Troy involved a not small amount of lying.

I have no idea how to end this post except to say that although I continue to be baffled that this movie exists, I really enjoyed it. If you get the chance you should totally watch it.

Watch: the trailer (in English), the garden scene (in German), the wedding scene (in German)

Buy it at: The existence of an English trailer might lead you to believe that an English language release exists, but so far I have not found that to be the case. In the meantime, those with the ability to watch Region 2 DVDs can order the German release from or the Japanese release from, noting, of course, that neither release includes English subtitles.