Long Live the Queen (2020)

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Original title Long live the Queen
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 2020
length 90 minutes
Director Richard Huber
script Gerlinde Wolf
production Boris Schönfelder
music Dürbeck & Dohmen
camera Robert Berghoff
cut Knut Hake

Long live the queen is a German tragic comedy by Richard Huber from 2020 , which was produced on behalf of and for Das Erste . It is the last film by "the great actress Hannelore Elsner ". In supporting roles are Marlene Morreis , Günther Maria Halmer , Matthias Kelle and Ole doll occupied.

Elsner's colleagues Gisela Schneeberger , Judy Winter , Iris Berben , Eva Matthes and Hannelore Hoger took over the scenes that the seriously ill actress could no longer shoot herself to finish the film.


The young channel presenter Nina Just does not get the recognition from her mother Rose, who lives with her partner Werner Wittich in a farmhouse, which is so important to her and for which she has fought for as long as she can remember. The young woman's life turns upside down when her mother falls ill with cancer again and needs a kidney donor to survive. Werner tells Nina that Rose has already lost one of her kidneys due to the disease and that the second kidney is now infected with cancer. Since Nina is overwhelmed at the moment when a kidney donation is an issue, she invents a pregnancy. She later pretends to be the father of the alleged child to her mother, the auto mechanic Mike, with whom she has since entered a relationship.

Rose receives a donor kidney from Werner, who would do anything for her. The operation, which Werner survived well despite his advanced age, can initially be described as a success. In the period that followed, Rose kept talking to her daughter about her pregnancy, even though she knew that it was invented. Then comes the call that Rose's body is rejecting the kidney due to an infection. Dialysis and chemotherapy are the consequences that Rose now has to live with. When she has to be hospitalized again, she asks Nina to stop the increase in the morphine dose on the device she is connected to as high as possible in order to end her life. When Nina says she can't, her mother replies, but she can, she can do everything. With the words: "The queen is dead, long live the queen" and with a hug she says goodbye to her daughter.

To match the green dress Rose chose for her death, Nina paints her toenails and fingernails according to her mother's request. Since Werner didn't want to be there when she was lying in the coffin, Nina also scattered her mother's ashes, standing alone on a bridge, in the river, as she wished.


Production notes, background

Long live the queen was filmed under the working title Love is a river in Prussia from March 12th until the shooting was canceled on April 12th, 2019 in Munich and the surrounding area. Claudia Simionescu ( BR ), Christine Strobl ( ARD Degeto ) and Klaus Lintschinger ( ORF ) were responsible for editing the film produced by Neue Schönhauser Filmproduktion GmbH .

The main actress Hannelore Elsner , who plays the role of the stubborn and seriously ill mother Rose, could not complete the filming because she succumbed to breast cancer on April 21, 2019. At the end of August 2019 it was announced that the five actresses Iris Berben , Hannelore Hoger , Eva Mattes , Gisela Schneeberger and Judy Winter had finished their role and the film would thus be completed. The actresses viewed it as a tribute to their great colleague.

Hannelore Elsner's son Dominik said that his mother wanted to feel life and work until the end. She never wanted to know anything about death. Whenever the subject was raised, she reacted gruffly, even when she was already feeling very badly. Like her role Rose, she never lost the unshakable belief that everything would be fine. Not even when I had to go to the hospital. "Without play, life is just too serious for me," wrote Elsner in her biography. Dominik Elsner describes what he has lost in the following words: "Christmas, Easter, my birthday - all these occasions have become very colorless since they are no longer there."


The idea of ​​casting a film role by several actors or actresses after the death of the main cast was already implemented in the film The Cabinet of Doctor Parnassus after the death of Heath Ledger .

Iris Berben said that Hannelore Elsner loved her job very much and she loved her job too. The fact that she took over a scene in this film that Elsner could no longer play is a final bow to her. So she could thank her again for her friendship and for her films.

Eva Mattes said that when she was asked whether she would take on a scene for Hannelore Elsner, she didn't have to think about it. She accepted blindly without knowing what she was going to play. The idea of ​​bringing Elsner's last film to an end with the help of five colleagues is wonderful. Hannelore Elsner, who she has known since she was 13, has always been a very special one for her, to whom she bows tenderly with her little appearance.

Gisela Schneeberger said that when she heard about the concept, she was interested. When she found out the names of her fellow campaigners, a lot more. Only good things could be heard about the director Richard Huber. And after working together, she was a fan of Gerlinde Wolf anyway. That was the best prerequisite for daring the project. So it was also a very enjoyable day of shooting, at the end of which she met Judy Winter. She made one of her first films with her - "in deep awe" - decades ago. "What a day!"

Judy Winter explained that when she received the request to step in for Hannelore Elsner, she was already wondering whether it was fair at all. It was her film! But then she was convinced by the idea that four other good and serious colleagues would like to pay tribute to Hannelore Elsner with their appearance. So you could show how much they all appreciated her as an actress.

Marlene Morreis, who plays Rose Just's daughter, said it was a gradual process until the shooting was stopped. Nobody expected it. First Hannelore did not come one day, then he was also canceled the next day. One always hoped that she would be back the next day. It was then canceled four days before the end of shooting. Only five scenes, all with Hannelore Elsner, would have been missing. It was a shock. The film was on hold, nobody knew how it would go on. The team then disbanded. Two and a half weeks later they received the sad news of Elsner's death. In retrospect, one was aware of how bad the actress must have been while shooting. When re-shooting in August, almost the entire original team got back together. The shooting was so special, sad and absurd. Before shooting began, she asked Hannelore Elsner if she wasn't uncomfortable dying in the film. She laughed and replied that she had died so often in front of the camera that it wasn't unusual for her. Of course, this sentence has a completely different meaning today. The fact that someone other than Hannelore Elsner suddenly played her mother was difficult for her at first, she was afraid of it.

Günther Maria Halmer, who plays Rose's good-natured partner Werner, said it was never thought that Hannelore Elsner actually suffered from a serious illness. When shooting, she was actually like always. It looked like she was looking into the future. Her death was a shock for everyone.

Ole Doll, who can be seen as Rose Just's son Leon, said that, to his great regret, he no longer had a direct scene with Hannelore Elsner, which he had wanted since his youth. But he will never forget the greeting and the reading sample, how she took his hand and looked him deeply and long in the eye. He sat opposite her for two hours and was fascinated by this tremendous tenderness, fragility paired with her energy and her energetic struggle for sentences, for words, for the shape of the figure, tirelessly, over and over again, until she was satisfied. An unbelievable flame blazed from this almost transparent person - he will never remember this moment forever.

Conversation with the makers

The special thing about Gerlinde Wolf's story are the characters who would fall back into their usual role models even in the greatest crises. That has a lot of truth and also a lot of funny things. And this combination of highly emotional, but at the same time unsentimental and also absurd situations characterizes this very realistic story by Gerlinde Wolf. When asked, Gerlinde Wolf said that grief is a complex phenomenon that everyone experiences differently. Mordillo put it this way: “Humor is the tenderness of fear.” The tragic elements in the story are that mother and daughter cannot decide whether to love or hate each other. When asked to Claudia Simionescu whether the role of the mother had been ascribed to Hannelore Elsner and whether the actress had campaigned for the project, the editor replied that the role was not ascribed to Elsner, but that she was everyone's favorite very early on been involved in the project. Hannelore Elsner herself also showed great interest in the role very early on and maintained this throughout the entire project development phase. The producer Boris Schönfelder responded to the question of whether it was already known at the beginning of the shooting how serious the main actress' illness had been. It was assumed that Hannelore Elsner was healthy. The challenges of resuming filming after a four-month break were varied. All actors have been brought under one roof, as well as the team, the motives, the appointments, when and where to do what. The house had to be restored to its original condition, to name just one example of many. And of course it also took an idea how to finish the film without Hannelore Elsner. The five actresses who were to stand in for them should have been selected and won. Simionescu stated that canceling the film was not an option, but “replacing” the missing scenes with a single colleague did not seem right to all - how could one of them have fulfilled this legacy. Author Gerlinde Wolf then made the proposal to complete with five colleagues. We are very grateful to these five actresses. Boris Schönfelder said one sees this stepping in as a homage for Hannelore Elsner, which means that she cannot be replaced. Director Richard Huber said that reality would break into fiction so massively was unthinkable. That is associated with sadness and sadness. Today he is grateful to Hannelore Elsner for sharing this moment with the team.


The film was first broadcast on April 29, 2020 as part of FilmWittwoch on the first at prime time .


Audience rating

With 6.01 million viewers and a market share of 18.1 percent, the tragic comedy Long Live the Queen won the day.


Peter Claus spoke to Dieter Kassel about the film on Deutschlandradio Deutschlandfunk Kultur . But this is not a film about dying or illness, even if both play a role, said Claus. Rather, it reflects on "the complicated relationship a daughter has with her mother" - "'really a tragic comedy'". In fact, even death has "something funny in this film". As a result, "all sentimentality to which a viewer might want to tend" disappears. Yes, you have "an occasional tear in your buttonhole". Yes, "of course you think about Hannelore Elsner and regret the loss of this great actress". But you don't get lost "in emotional drudgery".

Claudia Tieschky said in the Süddeutsche Zeitung Hannelore Elsner's last legacy was "a feather-light, malicious, life-wise film". The “courage” of the actress “to choose this role” is “admirable”. Elsner played her character as only she could. The daughter Nina is "wonderfully played by Marlene Morreis". Because Hannelore Elsner died before the film was finished, it was "a bit shocking" now that it was finished and can be seen. He is too real. He has “a weight that cannot be explained by art and fiction”. That is because "that Elsner, when she played that, was terminally ill herself". Her courage can only be “admired” that she has nevertheless “accepted this role of all people”, “playing her last, and Rose Just as a cruel, knowing and sometimes amused person” in a way that only she could have played such women . And so “with the worst intentions this film doesn't want to clump into kitsch”, it just becomes “just the quieter the worse it gets”. [...] "Who the queen is" is "of course no question".

Tilmann P. Gangloff wrote about Elsner's last film in the Frankfurter Rundschau : “The first shows a film from the never-ending story 'Mother is to blame for everything'. Five colleagues play the role of the late Hannelore Elsner there to the end. The decision was, so to speak, a flight forward: With a double, the re-shoot would not have worked. If only one colleague had stepped in, it would probably have looked very strange. Films are not shot chronologically, it would have been a constant back and forth. Of course it is, too, but just demonstrative. ”Hannelore Elsner has“ such supermothers, on which the daughters work all their lives, often played in the last few years. The same constellation every time and yet worth seeing anew every time; also and precisely because of her. ”In 'Long Live the Queen' ,“ the shared scenes with Morreis are also a great spectacle ”. The additions made later revealed that “in fact no one other than Elsner could have played the role of this everyday sadist”, who “happily sprinkles salt into her daughter's wounds; at least not with this confusing mixture of attractiveness, charm and toxicity ”. [...] "She was a rare bitch," said Roses, who was played by Günther Maria Halmer, towards the end, with full respect. The performances of the colleagues also lack “an element that is almost a bit macabre: During the shooting, Elsner was already marked by the illness, which not only fits the role perfectly; the mixture of visible fragility and unbroken representational intensity make the film a special attraction ”. Apart from that , 'Long live the queen' - the title itself is a 'homage to the main actress - a great tribute to this last German diva'; her final scene "would have been a very touching moment even without her death".

Heike Hupertz wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine : “Schneeberger, Winter, Berben, Hoger and Mattes appear out of nowhere, alienate the image, play their scene and disappear without a comment, never to be seen again. It has never been seen before, and it doesn't work properly either. In one respect, however: as a visible bow to a great actress. ”[…]“ The screenplay by Gerlinde Wolf and the direction by Richard Huber are ruthless in this respect, which now includes the knowledge of the Mimin's death. And Elsner plays it, as shown by Robert Berghoff's camera, just as relentlessly, with irony and chutzpah. The appearance can be seen as a legacy of self-determined death in two respects. ”[…] 'Long live the queen' will be“ regardless of whether you consider it to be an Elsner masterpiece or see the usual Wednesday problem film entertainment in it as a last performance of a great actress held a special place in her oeuvre, but also in the history of German-language television fiction ”.

On the RND side , Hannah Scheiwe stated that the film was "a touching mother-daughter story, precisely because these two women fight for themselves, punish each other with rejection and yet cannot do without each other". “Elsner's last appearance” was “a strong one”. And that, "although you see her fragile and weak as rarely" - she plays a terminally ill. And even “when the whole world is now looking at Elsner's last appearance”, this film mainly tells the story of the daughter Nina, who tries to break away from her mother, who she can never please and who always prefers her brother to go their own way. Scheiwe praised the way Marlene Morreis embodied her role.

Christian Buß wrote in Spiegel Kultur : “A moving film about the last truths and last laughs.” In 'Long live the queen' , Hannelore Elsner shows how to show “presence when disappearing”, “instead of closing the last few meters through the back door saying goodbye". Neil Young once sang it like this: “It's better to burn out than to fade away. Better to burn out than to fade away. ”And Elsner had“ apparently burned for the cause every day of the shoot - even if it didn't quite reach the finish line ”.

Zeit Online said that the re-shot scenes with the five fellow actors also showed “what Germany has lost with Elsner”. "As outstanding as the five are sure of in their own roles" - "Elsner plays them as Rose, a torn personality between lust for life and merciless toughness, all posthumously on the wall". As Elsner's side, “Günther Maria Halmer shines as an unconditionally loving partner Werner”. It was supposed to be a tragic comedy, "whose tragedy also superimposed the comedic because every viewer [must] be aware that Elsner anticipated her own fate, her own death, in her role". In her “last scene of her last film, she lies in the coffin. An almost unimaginable effort. What cultural Germany has lost with Elsner is shown in her last film ”.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Hannelore Elsner's last film is completed on the website of Das Erste
  2. a b Your last film “Long live the queen”: Hannelore Elsner's legacy In: Zeit Online , April 20, 2020. Accessed on August 20, 2020.
  3. Iris Berben as Rose Just see page daserste.de
  4. Eva Mattes as Rose Just see page daserste.de
  5. Gisela Schneeberger as Rose Just see page daserste.de
  6. Judy Winter as Rose Just see the first page
  7. Marlene Morreis is Nina Just see page daserste.de
  8. a b For the actors and their roles see page daserste.de
  9. ↑ For a conversation with the makers, see page daserste.de
  10. Long live the queen, TV film, 2019–2020, BR, Degeto, ORF, tragic comedy, Germany | Crew United
  11. The first: "Long live the queen": Triumph of a great diva 6.01 million see the last film with Hannelore Elsner in the first
    see page presseportal.de
  12. Peter Claus: Hannelore Elsner's last film "Long live the queen". A highly refined joke without sentimentalism
    see page deutschlandfunkkultur.de, April 29, 2020. Accessed on August 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Claudia Tieschky: ARD film with Hannelore Elsner. Farewell with grandeur
    In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . April 29, 2020. Accessed August 20, 2020.
  14. Tilmann P. Gangloff : "Long live the queen". Last film by Hannelore Elsner on TV: She was a rare bitch
    In: Frankfurter Rundschau , July 6, 2020. Accessed on August 20, 2020.
  15. Heike Hupertz: TV film "Long live the queen". One for all, all for one
    In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , April 29, 2020. Retrieved on August 20, 2020.
  16. Hannah Scheiwe: Last film with Hannelore Elsner: "Long live the queen!"
    In editorial network Germany . April 29, 2020. Accessed August 20, 2020.
  17. ^ Christian Buß : Last film by Hannelore Elsner. Farewell Gala
    In: Spiegel Kultur, April 23, 2020. Accessed on August 20, 2020.