Dunlevy Maren Ade”s humour has bite

    It all started with a promotional set of fake teeth, given out at an Austin Powers première a couple decades back. Maren Ade didn’t know it then, but she had in her hands the seed of inspiration for what would turn out to be her third feature film —the unlikely hit comedy Toni Erdmann.

    Initially slotted to première in Cannes’ Un certain regard section last May, the German writer-director’s new movie was upgraded to the official competition, where it reportedly elicited a spontaneous outburst of applause at a festival press screening during a delectably absurd climactic scene (two words: Whitney Houston); and where many surmised it would bring home some serious hardware (it was shut out by the jury, but ended up winning the FIPRESCI prize, given by the international film critics association for what it deems the best film in the competition).

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