Schultze Gets the Blues is a sweet German movie by first-time writer-director Michael Schorr, who I bet is more than a little familiar with the early work of Jim Jarmusch or just about any Aki KaurismÃki film. The movie ' half of which is a road trip ' is marked by its deadpan humor, slow pace and a storyline that places a foreigner in a new world, all of which evoke Stranger Than Paradise and Down by Law.
We first encounter Schultze (Horst Krause), a miner, at his retirement. The dowdy retiree fills his days with music (he plays the accordion), fishing and hanging out at the pub. Schorr films the movie in long takes that accentuate the plodding nature of his life. Schultze is neither happy nor unhappy; he just exists. Then one night he hears a snatch of zydeco music on his radio and seems intrigued by the alien sound.
Schultze's music group sends him as a representative to a polka festival in New Braunfels, Texas. Once there, he listens to a couple of acts and then hurries away, finds a ratty houseboat and points it toward Louisiana ' land of zydeco.
The film's sparseness is offputting, but Schultze Gets the Blues is still a charming reminder that change is possible at any age.