Ribbeck Von Ribbeck
A rhyming, lyrical fable about an aging squire who teaches us how to cultivate a legacy: by passing-on the things most important to us.
Germany. A country that has a fascinating, yet bitterly haunting history. The literary past of the country does not stray from this statement: from the cautionary fairy tales of the Grimm brothers to the vindictive characters omnipresent in Sturm and Drang stories, it appears that the prominent German novels, short stories, and even films all have a very sinister coating around the meat of the story.
Which is why you’ll be cheered up by Dane Whipple’s adaptation of Herr von Ribbeck auf Ribbeck im Havelland, a 19th century traditional Teutonic Poem with a brighter touch, although still jam-packed with meaning. So much of it, in fact, that the poem is still taught in German schools today.
The poem is about a simple concept: Ribbeck is an old, well respected man who owns a pear tree, and he interacts with the young children of his village, Havelland by generously donating the offspring of his pride and joy. But when he passes away, the connection between the succulent pears and the appreciative children appears to have been severed…or has it?
Thankfully, Whipple has truncated the lengthy title to just “Ribbeck von Ribbeck”, and while the screenplay itself may seem similarly austere at just 4 pages, the expertly crafted interlocking of narration of the poem verbatim (don’t worry, it’s been translated to English) and action means you get a lot of plot for your page; every line adds new understanding to the story, as it should always be.
Despite the deceptively straightforward story, choosing to take on the task of directing this European classic will be a challenge, albeit an enjoyable one. A narrator with (or who can put on) a suitably powerful, yet tender German voice (and no, Arnie is Austrian) would be the icing on the cake. Actually, it’d be the fruit on the branches.
A faithful yet unique adaptation of a German classic, this short and delicate script is a must have for anyone looking to add some international flavour to their filmography. Capture the spirit of Ribbeck, and your film will stand out at festivals – far and wide!
And of course, there’s one question that needs to be answered: Does the dying man have one final trick up his sleeve to ensure fruity prosperity continues after he’s gone or will it all go pear-shaped for the kids of Havelland?
Budget: A tranquil and beautiful location is best for this one. But is that a bank buster? In no way. Just a matter of cinematic taste.
About the reviewer: Hamish Porter is a writer who, if he was granted one wish, would ask for the skill of being able to write dialogue like Tarantino. Or maybe the ability to teleport. Nah, that’s nothing compared to the former. A lover of philosophy, he’s working on several shorts and a sporting comedy that can only be described as “quintessentially British”. If you want to contact him, he can be emailed: hamishdonaldp “AT” gmail.com. If you’d like to contact him and be subjected to incoherent ramblings, follow him on Twitter @HamishP95.
About the writer: Dane Whipple is a highly-successful legal drafter, currently working as a senior construction defects attorney for a billion-dollar skyscraper and concert hall in Hamburg, Germany. As an award-winning author, he has written and produced several shorts, done punch-up work for various television projects, and is in the process of finishing his first feature: The Wild Age. A culmination of a full year of primary document research, the script is a music bio-pic with a kick. Think Ed Wood meets Eraserhead…with music. Dane is open to criticism (positive and negative) and collaboration. Contact him at dane.whipple (AT) live.com
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