Project Description

He can’t be stopped. And he was Napoleon.

Napoleon for a While

He is creative and full of ideas and can’t be stopped. He has been unemployed for 15 years… And he was Napoleon.

The documentary chronicles the epic attempts of an individual to solve life’s problems by becoming famous. 20 years ago, when Wolfgang Krone worked in a German lorry factory, he embarked on a project to produce a feature film epic about Napoleon’s campaign in Russia. Krone realized his cinematographic dreams on super-8; horses gallopping, mock-up cannons smoking – Krone himself playing Napoleon. Slowly, Krone became a local hero. Afterwards, no one wanted to see the film. But for Krone one thing remained clear; he would become an artist. Wolfgang Krone tried his luck as a playwright, a garden architect, a musical producer and as a Schlager singer. While all his projects failed, this didn’t stop him. The motto of this modern Don Quixote is: He who fights won’t sink. “Napoleon for a While” is about modern man’s thirst for celebrity. About the loneliness, the simple need to be loved, that feeds the thirst.

director: Bart van Esch
genre: theatrical documentary
duration: 90 min.
format: HDCAM | 35 mm

original title Für kurze Zeit Napoleon
year 2004
writer & director Bart van Esch
director of photography Adri Schrover
camera assistant Matthias Kind
sound Bert van den Dungen | Boris Jöns | Andreas Ruft
music Wolfgang Krone
editing Katja Dringenberg
editing assistant Manfred Hielscher
production manager Michael Krause
production manager assistant Andrea Kuserau
location manager Karsten Fecht
poster artwork tho Aspern . design
commissioning editor NDR Edith Beßling
production Peter Roloff – maxim film Bremen/Berlin | George Weiss – Metropolitan Pictures, Amsterdam
production fund nordmedia Fonds GmbH in Lower Saxony/Bremen in association with NDR | Stichting Nederlands Fonds voor de Film
The 55 year-old Wolfgang Krone stands in a field and reminisces about the production period of a one of a kind project. Twenty years ago, the then warehouse laborer made a film about Napoleon’s campaign in Russia. With the help of several younger friends, Krone created the feature length film “The Memories of Grenadier Rousseau”. The film was shot on the amateur film format, Super-8. Wolfgang Krone himself played the role of the Corsican captain. The shoot, which took many years, was a great challenge for the young filmmakers. Two decades after the Napoleon film, the group of friends reunites at the Waterloo-Säule (a monument to the Battle of Waterloo) in Hanover, to reflect on the high and low points of the shooting. Even today, Wolfgang Krone is respected by his former colleagues. They speak of their experiences with Krone – interviews in which the reactions vary from distance to open declarations of friendship.

Wolfgang Krone still dreams of a carrier as an artist. He is in the
process of trying to produce a musical that he created for himself and other unemployed people. His title: “Unemployed Without a Woman”. He doggedly looks for members for his ensemble; has even gone so far as to speak before the mayor of Hanover and ask him for his support. Parallel to the musical, he wants to start a career as a pop-folk singer. He produces his own songs, in his one-room apartment, which he later presents to professional artists. One of whom was Helge Schneider, who he later met on his tour. The reactions have been reserved.

Wolfgang Krone lived with his mother well into his 50‘s, until she went into a home and died shortly later. Krone: “Living without my mother was the first major step in my life.”

Krone sings of his dream of happiness for two in his songs. For years, he has sought a partner in personal ads in newspapers and on the radio. As the initiator of singles night, he has brought many a pair together. But he has not yet been able to find a love for himself.

After he lost a talent show on a television breakfast show by being
voted out by the audience, he returns, defeated, to Hanover. Here, his neighbor and friend Vladimir‘s encouraging words help him. Shortly thereafter, bad news reaches him regarding his musical…

His drive remains untiring. At his concert, Wolfgang Krone impresses his audience. ‘Veterans’ of the Napoleon film and friends come to the performance, in which Krone captivates his audience with his ironic self-reflecting performance. He formulates his attitude best himself:“…if it isn’t a success, you have to learn from the failures. Napoleon would have seen it the same way.”

World Premiere
Filmfestival Max Opüls Preis Saarbrücken, Germany
January 18, 2005

International Premiere
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto
in competition ‘International Showcase’
April 23, 2005

Dutch Premiere
25. Netherlands Film Festival, Utrecht, 2005

1. Filmtage Havelland, Rathenow – Germany, 2005

Theatrical Release in Germany
May 19, 2005
Edition Salzgeber

TV Premiere
NDR – Germany, January 15, 2007

HDTV Broadcast
EinsFestival – Germany, September 3, 2008
EinsFestival – Germany, September 4, 2009

Video on Demand:
Streaming & Download

Nederlandse versie / Dutch Version

German language

World Sales
Illumina Films | Robin Brinster
Leidsestraat 106 | 1017 PG Amsterdam | The Netherlands
tel. +31 (20) 624 83 95 | fax +31 (20) 330 81 55