The Donald Duck Principle

Produced by: Edda Baumann-von Broen
Directed by: Edda Baumann-von Broen | Hasko Baumann
Released: 2014
Runtime: 90 Minutes

Are the comics about the drake Donald Duck just for kids? Certainly not! This film gives prominent fans a chance to tell how the small duck in its sailor suit changed their lives and shows why we’re all sometimes a bit like him. The documentary tells why Donald Duck hit Europe like a bomb after the Second World War, creates a loving psychogram of the drake who’d love to be successful and eventually examines the question how our on self-optimization focused society deals with failure.

 

For Americans the meaning of the Donald Duck comics in Europe is hardly conceivable. For a whole generation the stories by the outstanding comic illustrator Carl Barks were the first contact with comics, with the USA and with a daring idea: It doesn’t matter how often you fall – essential is that you stand up again. In Donald Duck we recognize our fears, our insecurities and failures, our vanities and our grief, but also our persistence that helps us standing up after every defeat to start over again.

„Donald Duck saved my life“, says the Austrian painter Gottfried Helnwein. The French cartoonist Jean-Pierre Dionnet explains that even the inventors of the legendary comic »Métal Hurlant« admired the small duck. “Donald was my access to the world” realizes the Norwegian poet Oyvind Holen.

Hardly any comic figure has such passionate fans in Europe like Donald Duck. Lots of them are famous artists themselves. Some of them dealt so seriously with the inner life of Donald Duck as if he was a real character. Who thought that uncle Dagobert is a cheapskate is proved wrong in this movie: Even the eager capitalist would like to be a bit more like his nephew.

But does Donald Duck still fit into our time? What is the role of jinx’ and losers in contemporary culture in which more and more people are concerned with optimizing their productivity and attractiveness? The film seeks answers with the help of sociologists, school losers, the founder of the French website “Vie de Merde”, in the Silicon Valley – where a loser with a crazy idea might become the winner of tomorrow and in Hollywood – where losers as are currently very present characters.

Donald Duck shows us like no other what it means to be human. Failure is over and over part of it.