Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Princess and the Warrior
The Princess and the Warrior (German title Der Krieger und die Kaiserin lit. "The Warrior and the Empress") is a 2000 film written and directed by Tom Tykwer with Franka Potente, star of his previous movie Run Lola Run (Lola rennt), in a leading role. It follows the life of Sissi, a psychiatric hospital nurse and Bodo, a average man who lapses into criminality, but allows other characters (such as Bodo's brother Walter and select patients from the hospital) equal time for development. We see how Sissi's routine life is skewed by a near-death experience and her subsequent relationship with Bodo.
The film, like Run Lola Run, places great empathsis on fate and decisions. It is centered around three central events: the accident that brings Bodo and Sissi together, the intense bank robbery and the final scene.
The film begins with the mailing of a letter destined to Sissi, a nurse in a psychiatric hospital. Sissi cares for her patients to the effect that they are her extended family (in fact, it she states that her own father is detained in the hospital). As such, she is oblivious to how life functions outside the hospital. Meanwhile, Bodo, living with his brother, applies for a funerary job and is quickly dismissed because of his inability to control his emotions. This spurs him to rob a grocery store and the during the ensuing chase, Bodo causes a truck to avoid him, but hit Sissi. Just as he is about to flee, Bodo realizes that he is the only person who has noticed Sissi is hidden by the truck. Using using an emergency tracheotomy, Bodo saves her life. This event prevents Sissi from psychologically readjusting to her mundane world at the hospital, making her obsessed with tracking down her saviour. Her patient friends, concerned with her decline, help her do so. Bodo, however, refuses to start any relationship with women, as his wife "accidentally" (this is somewhat unclear in the movie) killed herself by igiting her car's fuel tank immediately after an argument. For the majority of the movie, Bodo is unable to free himself of the guilt of her death. Upon Walter relating this story to her, Sissi, deflated, seemingly accepts her fate.
Meanwhile, Walter, employed as a security guard at a local bank, suggests a plan to Bodo for robbery. As they are carrying out the act, Sissi visits the bank upon advice from the letter she received (show at the beginning of the film) but also notices that Walter is employed at the bank. The alarm is tripped, Walter is shot and in a life-altering decision, she distracts the guard to allow all three of them to escape (albeit Walter's serious gunshot wound). Walter's last words to his brother are "forget the gas station Bodo". Due to his criminal status, Bodo seeks refuge in the hospital and fittingly suffers a violent breakdown upon learning of his brother's death. Sissi and Bodo explicitly make a final decision to flee - together. The final scene (taking place at the scene of Bodo's wife's accident) offers an unconventional image: Bodo's past personality, unkempt and emerging from the gas station restroom, takes a backseat in the car with corporeal Bodo and Sissi. As they drive off, Sissi touches Bodo's hand, prompting him to cry. This visibly stirs Bodo, who suddenly brakes the car, forces his "old self" out the back and drives off, permanently wiping the tears from his eyes.
- Franka Potente: Simone (Sissi)
- Benno Fürman : Bodo
- Joachim Król : Walter
- Lars Rudolph : Steini
- Melchior Beslon : Otto
- Ludger Pistor : Werner
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