Mahler on the Couch
Mahler auf der Couch

Austria/Germany, 2010, 97 minutes, German with English subtitles

A Film By Percy Adlon and Felix Adlon

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Public Exhibition Formats: 35mm, DCP, Digibeta, BluRay, DVD


NYC Theatrical Run Extended by Popular Demand!

“Very witty and erotic…Percy Adlon is up to old tricks in this, delightful, artistically vigorous and occasionally loony fantasia about Vienna's cultural elite 100 years ago.” The Hollywood Reporter | Read Full Review

“The scenes with Karl Markovics, as Freud, are the lingering appeal of this artfully composed film, framed with aesthetic care and scored with Mahler’s music, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen (working with the Swedish Radio Symphonic Orchestra). Freud’s presence in the film springs from a playful premise: What happened when Mahler, a sufferer of migraines tortured by his wife’s infidelity, turned to Freud for relief?” The New York Times | Read Full Review

"During the late summer of 1910, a distraught Gustav Mahler journeyed to Holland to spend a single afternoon with a vacationing Sigmund Freud, and their onetime encounter serves as the departure point for this eccentric and expressionistic reverie on love, loss, and the birth of modern marriage."
The Village Voice
| Read Full Review

'Mahler' Conducts a Witty FantasiaChicago Sun-Times | Read Full Review

Mahler Biopic Hits Right Notes Chicago Tribune | Read Full Review

'Percy and Felix Adlon tease out the famous counseling session in Mahler on the Couch.The Jewish Week | Read Full Review

'Alma, Gustav and Sigmund: Mahler on the Couch' Classical TV | Read Full Review

'Mahler on the Couch' Recounts Fateful Therapy Session' WQXR New York Public Radio | Read Full Review | Read Full Review

Austria • Germany • Japan

North American Festival ScreeningsLINE

• Los Angeles Film Festival

• New York Jewish Film Festival 2011

Farthest North Jewish FIlm Festival (2016)
New York Jewish Film Festival (2016) - Special Screening
Washington Jewish Film Festival (2015)
Columbus GA Jewish Film Festival (2015)
Budapest Jewish Film Festival (2014)
Museum of Fine Arts Houston/ Houston Symphony Orchestra (2014)
Maine Jewish Film Festival (2013)
Florida Atlantic University Kultur Festival (2013)
Columbus Symphony Orchestra/ Drexel Theater (2013)
Rio de Janeiro Jewish Film Festival (2012)
Sao Paolo Jewish Film Festival (2012)
Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival (2012)
B Orange County Jewish Film Festvial (2012)
B East Bay International Jewish Film Festival (2012)
B Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival (2012)
B Denver Jewish Film Festival (2012)
B East Bay International Jewish Film Festival (2012)
B UK Jewish Film Festival (2011)
B Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival (2011)
German Currents, Museum of Photographic Arts; San Diego, CA (2011)
B Colonial Theater New Hampshire (2011)
B Goethe Institute; Washington, DC (2011)
B Washington DC Jewish Film Festival (2011)

North American Theatrical Runs

Theatrical Run: Living Room Theaters; Boca Raton, FL (March, 2013)
Theatrical Run: Living Room Theaters; Portland, OR (January, 2013)
Theatrical Run: Savoy Theater; Montpelier, VT (January, 2013)
Theatrical Run: The ShowRoom Cinema; Asbury Park, NJ (2012)
Theatrical Run: Coolidge Corner Theater; Brookline, MA (2012)
Theatrical Run: Cinema du Parc; Montreal, Quebec (2012)
Theatrical Run: Real Art Ways; Hartford, CT (2012)
Theatrical Run: Movies of Delray; Delray Beach, FL (2012)
Theatrical Run: Movies of Lake Worth; Lake Worth, FL (2012)
Theatrical Run: The Ryder; Bloomington, ID (2012)
Theatrical Run: Sag Harbor Cinema; Sag Harbor, NY (2012)
Theatrical Run: The Tower Theater; Miami, FL (2012)
Theatrical Run: Film Society of Lincoln Center; New York, NY (2012)
Theatrical Run: Gene Siskel Film Center; Chicago, IL (2012)

B Berkshire Jewish Film Festival (2011)
B Birmingham and Midland Institute (2017)


This exuberant imagining of the real-life marriage of Gustav Mahler (Johannes Silberschneider) and his tempestuous wife Alma Schindler Mahler (the luminous Barbara Romaner) is a sensory feast of art, sex and celebrity in fin-de-siècle Vienna. Chafing under her agreement to give up her own musical ambitions, Alma seeks passion in the arms of the young, dashing architect Walter Gropius, which sends a tormented Mahler to Sigmund Freud for consultation. “Cameos” by Gustav Klimt and Max Burckhard. Moving and funny (the sessions with Freud are sly gems) the film is filled with Mahler’s sublime music conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Beautifully written and directed by Percy Adlon (Bagdad Café) and his son Felix Adlon.

That it happened is fact. How it happened is fiction." - Percy & Felix Adlon

Based on a true story. August 1910. Devastated and confused by the discovery that his beloved wife Alma is having an affair with Gropius, Mahler travels to Holland to consult with Sigmund Freud, who is on vacation in Leiden. Feeling humiliated and betrayed, Mahler initially refuses the couch, but when Freud wheels a camp bed into the room, he relents. Their encounter stretches into the night as Mahler vividly recounts his seduction of Alma, the beautiful darling of Vienna’s arts scene, their unexpected but passionate love affair and their eventual marital troubles. The next day, the two great men go their separate ways. Overjoyed with what he sees as his cure, Mahler travels to rejoin Alma.

David Ansen of Newsweek on Mahler on the Couch

“Percy Adlon, who delighted audiences with Bagdad Cafe and Sugarbaby, is back in rare form with Mahler on the Couch. Mahler is none other than the great turn-of-the-century composer Gustav Mahler; the couch belongs to no less than Sigmund Freud, whom the freaked-out maestro, desperate for help, tracks down in Holland after discovering that his beloved wife Alma has had an affair with the young architect Walter Gropius. Adlon's passionate and witty film, which he co-wrote and directed with his son Felix, is a portrait of the fascinating, fevered, and doomed marriage between these two powerful partners. The headstrong Alma—played by the fiercely sensual Barbara Romaner—both worships her much older lover and chafes under his domination. Avoiding stuffy biopic conventions, Mahler on the Couch honors the complexity and humanity of both of its tormented lovers, keeping our sympathies in a constant state of flux.”

VIDEO: Behind the scenes with the filmmakers

Huffington Post | Interview with the filmmakers & star by Michael Kurchfeld


Jewish Daily Forward | Interview with Percy Adlon at the New York Jewish Film Festival


B Press Kit
A Film Website (English)
ASD Film Website (German)
LIN Percy Adlon filmography
B Original Press Kit

Media Links — Reviews

Review: "Eccentric and expressionistic..." | The Village Voice
A Father and Son Team Take On Freud and Mahler | NY Jewish Week
‘Mahler’ Conducts a Witty Fantasia | Chicago Sun-Times
“Mahler on the Couch" hit of the German Film Festival | San Diego News
Review: " Esta filme es sublime" | El Nuevo Herald (US Spanish-language newspaper)
Review: "Opening a window to the world of cinema" | Montreal Gazette
Review: "Mahler au bord du gouffre" | Le Devoir (French-language newspaper)

Media Links — NYJFF Screening

Tell Me About Your Childhood, Mr. Mahler The Composer’s Visit With Freud Opens the New York Jewish Film Festival | Jewish Daily Forward
"Mahler on the Couch" To Open 20th Annual New York Jewish Film Festival | Indiewire
Feminists in Focus: "Mahler on the Couch" Without Jewish Guilt at the New York Jewish Film Festival | Lilith
NYJFF: The Adlons' "Mahler on the Couch" Pairs the Composer with Alma and Freud | TrustMovies

Media Links — Freud & Mahler

A Lively Musical Corpus Gustav Mahler, Almost a Century Dead and Still Kicking | Jewish Daily Forward
Measuring Mahler, in Search of a Jewish Temperament | Jewish Daily Forward
When Mahler Took Manhattan | New York Times
Gustav Mahler and the Art of Alienation | Center for Jewish History
The Persecution of Creativity: Jews, Music and Vienna | Center for Jewish History
Is Gustav Mahler's Music Inherently Jewish? | Jewish Voice & Herald
Mahler: Music & the Language of Antisemitism in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna | Book Review
Mahler Gets Sanitized Celebration, Erasing Nazi Cruelty | Bloomberg News
Reading Mahler: German Culture and Jewish Identity in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna | Book Review
Smart Jews in Fin-de-siècle Vienna: "Hybrids" and the Anxiety about Jewish Superior Intelligence | Sander Gillman essay
Psychotherapy's Jewish Roots The Author of 'American Therapy' Discusses Freud | Jewish Daily Forward
Mahler's Loves, Rivals, Baton Captivate in Paris Show: Review | Bloomberg News
Interviews (video & transcripts) about Mahler (including the "Jewish Question") with conductors -- Alan Gilbert, Herbert Blomstdt, Simon Rattle, Riccardo Chailly, Manfred Honeck, Antonio Pappano, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Michael Tilson Thomas, Pierre Boulez, Franz Welser-Most, Pierre Boulez, Michael Gielen, David Zinman | Mahler Universal Edition


Johannes Silberschneider GUSTAV MAHLER (see Where to and Back trilogy)
Barbara Romaner ALMA MAHLER
Karl Markovics SIGMUND FREUD
Eva Mattes ANNA MOLL
Friedrich Mücke WALTER GROPIUS
Lena Stolze JUSTINE MAHLER-ROSE (see The White Rose)
Manuel Witting GUSTAV KLIMT
Michael Dangl BRUNO WALTER
Karl Fischer CARL MOLL
Michael Rotschopf ALFRED ROLLER
Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg BERTA ZUCKERKANDL
Daniel Keberle FRANZ HIR


Written & Directed by Percy Adlon and Felix Adlon
Produced by Eleonore Adlon, Burkhard Ernst, Konstantin Seitz
Original Music by Gustav Mahler
Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen Conducting The Swedish Radio Symphonic Orchestra
Director of Photography Benedict Neuenfels

Behind the Scenes Documentary - Also Available

Music Making with Esa-Pekka Salonen: Scoring “Mahler On The Couch”
Germany | 2010 | 43 Min | English and German with English Subtitles | Read More (PDF)

Go behind the scenes with filmmakers Percy and Felix Adlon and acclaimed conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen as they conceive and record the soundtrack for the Adlons’ stirring feature film Mahler on the Couch. Salonen conducts the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Gustav Mahler’s Adagio, the first movement, of the unfinished 10th symphony. The Adlons make the unusual request to record, in addition to the full symphony, isolated moments with single instruments, “moments” they weave into the film’s narrative. The documentary includes scenes from the film, married to the music being recorded.

Home Use DVD: $29.95

Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information

Home Use Blu-Ray: $34.95

Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information


Classroom/Library Use DVD: $295

Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information

Classroom/Library Use Blu-Ray: $295

Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information

Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us

Step down pricing for K-12 & public libraries may be available - Contact us

Arrange a screening - Contact us


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