Erleuchtung garantiert (Enlightenment Guaranteed) (1999)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Noted German filmmaker Doris Dorrie directs this understated comedy about two middle-aged brothers who go to study at a Zen monastery in Japan. The two brothers could not be more different. Uwe (Uwe Ochsenknecht) is a bored husband and kitchenware salesman, while Gustav (Gustav Peter Wohler) is a flighty feng shui consultant and Eastern religions devotee. Just as Gustav is preparing to leave for the land of the rising sun, Uwe, whose wife just dumped him, begs his brother to let him tag along. The first night in Tokyo proves to be a disaster. After a night of drinking, the pair get lost, spend the last of their cash on an ill-fated taxi ride, lose their credit cards, and end up sleeping in some boxes on the city streets. But this deprivation prepares them for the hard living of monastic life, including 4:30 a.m. wake up calls, elaborate dining rituals, long periods of silent mediation, and a punishing cleaning routine. As the days wear on, Gustav soon finds himself buckling under the strain while Uwe demonstrates himself to be much more adaptable to a monk's life. The experience eventually brings the night-and-day brothers closer together. This film was screened at the 2000 Rotterdam Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi
NR (not Rated)
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Universal Studios Home Video


Critic Reviews for Erleuchtung garantiert (Enlightenment Guaranteed)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3)

Dorrie manages to keep the film, and her characters, on track.

Full Review… | May 25, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

With its lack of visual artistry and its overabundance of expository dialogue, I was bored not long after it began.

April 12, 2003
Apollo Guide

Doris Dorrie obviously loves these guys, not in spite of their foibles and failings, but, oddly, because of them.

Full Review… | April 5, 2003
Killer Movie Reviews

Sometimes movies transcend their descriptions. Who would want to see a German film about a couple of brothers heading for Japan to visit a Zen monastery?

Full Review… | December 4, 2001
Internet Reviews

Its coda--set in that remote monastery--shows signs that enlightenment, if not actually guaranteed, might still be possible for a couple of cranky Europeans.

Full Review… | June 25, 2001
Film Journal International

You'll be every bit as satisfied for savoring its comic wit, subtle story, and fine cast.

Full Review… | March 17, 2001
Nitrate Online

Audience Reviews for Erleuchtung garantiert (Enlightenment Guaranteed)

A wonderful little comedy/drama. Very true to life, amusing, and even moving -- a genuine little Zen tale!

Kyle Meisch
Kyle Meisch

Super Reviewer


This movie is charming on the whole, but even if it doesn't catch your fancy, it's worth sitting through just for the scene where "I Will Survive" is sung in drunk, slurred German. A man, distraught over being dumped by his wife, follows his brother on a pilgrimage to a Buddhist monstery in Tibet.

Emily Armstrong
Emily Armstrong

Super Reviewer

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