Josef Michael Kreutzer (JOMI) became deaf by meningitis as a child. During his life, he became a famous pantomime under his mentor Marcel Marceau and began an impressive international career. But after a tour of Russia, he is financially exhausted. He is cheated by a manager from Moscow about the income from his performances and workshops. His longtime technician and organizer Bruce must be dismissed. It becomes clear that JOMI must continue to work harder – so he tries to make a fresh start at the age of 65. The film was designed to be easily understood by deaf and blind people without disturbing the narrative flow. The well-known sign language interpreter Isabelle Ridder interprets the spoken content of the film for the hearing impaired in German Sign Language.
The mime JOMI has been on the stages of the world for 40 years, as in South America, Africa, Russia or Japan. But who hides behind the artist with the white face, the black-rimmed eyes and the red-painted mouth? He is not a Clown and slapstick is not his goal. He shows without words as a “poet of silence” the feelings of the people, bringing suffering and dying to the stage or enchanted the audience with his versatile body language and facial expressions.
He became deaf shortly after birth due to meningitis – a difficult life is imminent. His father insists on a “proper” job, so Josef Michael Kreutzer becomes a dental technician. But after attending a performance of the world-famous mime Marcel Marceau, he puts his secret wish into action. JOMI succeeds in studying at the “Ecole Internationale de Mimodrame” in Paris and becomes a master student of Marcel Marceau, from whom, incidentally, Michael Jackson also learned the floating dance step “Moonwalk” and made it world-famous.
The film crew of “LichtenSTERN.tv” around Sebastian Voltmer shows JOMI as an artist in the preparation of his performances as well as during his captivating performances. We get to know from different perspectives as a teacher and from his human side.
But after a week-long tour of Russia JOMI is financially exhausted. He is cheated by a manager from Moscow about the total income from his performances and workshops of around 50,000 €. His longtime technician and organizer Bruce must be dismissed.
It comes to a crisis-meeting with the people who help him honorary. It quickly becomes clear that JOMI must continue to work harder – even beyond his 65th birthday. In addition to his still sought-after national stage appearances, he must continue to teach at schools, at special schools for disabled children and at his workshops and courses at home and abroad. This is the only way for him to survive. There he teaches theater work, body and sign language. JOMI has always been important in terms of inclusion in education and culture.
In the 105-minute documentary, which was funded by “Saarland Media”, we get a deep insight into the world of a deaf person who has to find his way around the world of the hearing. However, the difficulties of communicating the art of body language to blind people are also evident in the documentary. Viewers experience through JOMI that listening is not the same as understanding. “I communicate by eyes,” says JOMI. He reads from the lips of other people what they say.
On the occasion of his 40th anniversary on the stage, JOMI is trying to make a fresh start at the age of 65 in order to move on from the disaster of his trip to Russia. He gets professional help from people around him like the young director Jenny. He adds to his repertoire of around 100 program numbers some current topics such as “Generation Smartphone”.