The Legend of Timm Thaler (or The Boy Who Sold His Laughter)


In our Monthly Film Series, we will show a variety of GERMAN or GERMAN language films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. On the 2nd Wednesday of each month, audiences will now have a chance to see these films on a regular basis at the CLINTON STREET THEATER. (Children movies will be playing on Sunday afternoons – please check our website.) All films are with English subtitles.

The Legend of Timm Thaler (or The Boy Who Sold His Laughter)


the legend of timm thaler still

THE LEGEND OF TIMM THALER OR THE BOY WHO SOLD HIS LAUGHTER is based on the children’s book of the same name written by James Krüss in 1962. An immediate best seller, it was successfully adapted as a TV series in 1979. In German literature, the basic motif – the selling of one’s soul to the Devil – has a long tradition, from Goethe’s “Faust” to Adelbert von Chamisso’s “Peter Schlemihl’s Miraculous Story” (in which the title character sells his shadow) to Thomas Mann’s “Doctor Faustus”. The motif also turns up often in German silent films, such as in the various versions of THE STUDENT OF PRAGUE (in which the object of the Devil’s desire is the poor student’s reflection in the mirror).

Director Andreas Dresen was born in 1963 in Gera. After completing his secondary education, he worked as a sound engineer at the state theater in Schwerin and completed an internship at the DEFA studio for feature films. From 1986 to 1991, he studied directing at the Film University Babelsberg “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam-Babelsberg. Since 1992, he has worked as freelance author and director. He feature-film debut, SILENT COUNTRY (1992), already brought him the Hessian Film Award and the German Film Critics Association’s Award. He achieved his breakthrough at the 1999 Berlinale with his multi-character movie, NIGHTSHAPES. Two years later, GRILL POINT became a major success, for which he was also awarded the Silver Bear at the Berlinale as well as the German Film Award (Silver). Dresen enjoyed his largest public success to date in 2006 with SUMMER IN BERLIN. Dresen also makes documentary films, such as VOTE FOR HENRYK!, and returns regularly to the theater, among other places in Leipzig and Berlin. At the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, in the “Un Certain Regard” section. Dresen introduced his drama STOPPED ON TRACK, which observes how the diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor affects a man and his family. From 2016 to 2017, Dresen directed his first feature film for children and youngsters, TIMM THALER OR THE BOY WHO SOLD HIS LAUGHTER (2017). Dresen is a member of the Academy of the Arts Berlin-Brandenburg, the European Film Academy, and a founding member of the German Film Academy. He lives in Potsdam.

German Film Awards 2017: Outstanding Children or Youth Film (Bester Kinder- und Jugendfilm).

The Legend of Timm Thaler (or The Boy Who Sold His Laughter) movie poster
The Legend of Timm Thaler (or The Boy Who Sold His Laughter)
Andreas Dresen
102 minutes

Timm Thaler is poor, but he laughs a lot, and often. His laughter is so charming and contagious that a diabolical Baron wants, at all costs, to have it for himself. And so the world’s richest man makes the boy a dubious offer: if Timm agrees to sell him his laugh, he’ll win every bet he ever makes in the future. After hesitating at first, Timm signs the contract. But though he can now seemingly fulfill his every wish, without his laugh, he is a different person. Only Timm’s friends can save him now.

Special Admission

General admission $7; children under 12 FREE!!!