Schumann's Bar Talks
M/A/D | Music/Art/Design
Munich’s Charles Schumann, now 76 years old, is to bartenders what Barcelona’s Ferran Adrià is to chefs—a bigger-than-life legend who singlehandedly re-wrote the rules of his artistic calling. Marieke Schroeder’s very entertaining documentary odyssey follows Schumann, who resembles a cross between Max von Sydow, Humphrey Bogart and Bruno Ganz, as he travels the world seeking out the best cocktail bars and expounding on the art of bartending. His seemingly endless itinerary features stops at classic drinking establishments in Munich, Berlin, Vienna, New York, Havana, Tokyo and Paris.
Reticent and complicated, but exuding a palpable warmth, the snappily dressed Schumann (one of the quiet joys of the film is seeing just what colour his next linen suit will be: powder blue, ivory, gun-metal grey, sober navy, blood red—but never black) is a solitary wanderer, a patient listener (what good bartender isn’t?) and a genial guru whose last wish is not to end up like French chef Paul Bocuse—being rolled out in a wheelchair and put on display as "the master."
Well-shot (the Tokyo and Havana sequences are particularly ethereal) and spiked with Zen-like aphorisms—"The drink is perfect when nothing else can be removed." "The most important patron is the one you lost."—this is a fun and rewarding film for anyone with even a smattering of interest in the art of the cocktail. A Sazerac, anyone?