AS VARIED AS LIFE ITSELF
This year's "New German TV Movies"
A bavarian satire: RUDOLPH, THE GREAT
In 2018, the themes in the #ffmuc film series "New German TV Movies" are as varied and antithetical as life itself: home and faraway places, youth and death, current and historical themes, family and those in one's chosen circle all play a major part in the German TV productions.
The #MeToo phenomenon that has roused the world's attention has been taken up by German filmmakers. An idealistic teacher, Luisa Jobst (Rosalie Thomass), becomes a victim of DEFAMATION when nude photos of her are posted on the school's website. A real-life tragedy inspired Christian Görlitz's drama SEVEN HOURS, a portrayal of the agony that psychologist Hanna Rautenberg (Bibiana Beglau) endures when she is taken hostage by a sexual predator in a maximum-security prison.
#MeeToo is also affecting German filmmakers
Even in puberty, there is no ISY WAY OUT. Overcome by lovesickness and jealousy, intoxicating substances and hammering beats, teenage Isy passes out in Mark Monheim's film. Unable to remember how she was raped, she is doomed to find out what happens when nothing happens. By contrast, a lot happens to aid worker Emma (Anna Herrmann) when she disappears in Syria. Her father, Benno Winkler (Dietmar Bär), journeys there FOR MY DAUGHTER to free her from the clutches of geopolitical developments and get her home. In the age of marriage equality, rainbow families are being considered normal — except when a delayed adoption request and the sudden death of Katharina (Britta Hammelstein) force her wife and co-mother Ellen (Susanne Wolff) to fight for OUR CHILD.
As HANNE (Iris Berben) enters her twilight years, anxiety over a finding during a routine physical examination overshadows her hard-earned retirement. Dominik Graf's film tells of an adventuresome rejection of life-or-death uncertainty — a topic dealt with in a number of this year's TV productions. Niki Stein's THE RESURRECTION, based on a novel by Karl-Heinz Ott, is a comedically acrimonious story of four siblings concerned with securing an inheritance from their unloved father. For Georg Weiser (Joachim Król), the death of his wife is not an occasion for mourning; instead, he's happy to have PEACE AND QUIET and enjoy a refrigerator full of beer and a lack of commitments — before meeting the love of his life, that is. Brothers SCHWARTZ & SCHWARTZ are unlikely partners: Mads (Golo Euler), a career-driven police officer, and Andi (Devid Striesow), a shady detective, investigate, each in their own way, the murder of the wife of a celebrity physician.
Christiane Balthasar's BEER ROYAL offers a Bavarian take on a dispute over an inheritance: When brewery magnate Franz-Xaver Hofstetter (Andreas Giebel) dies, his widow (Gisela Schneeberger) and his daughter from a previous marriage (Lisa Maria Potthoff) each fight for control of the enterprise against the ups and downs of the stock market and misplaced licenses for the Oktoberfest. Munich ambience permeates Alexander Adolph's film RUDOLPH, THE GREAT (Thomas Schmauser), which uses the story of eccentric fashion designer Rudolph Moshammer as a vehicle for a vicious satire of Munich society.
Historical material also inspired the makers of the films in the series "New German TV Movies" in 2018. On the island of Hiddensee, KRUSO and his friends, an odd assortment of intellectuals, contrarians and social dropouts scarred by life in East Germany, dream up an island utopia that in 1989 is becoming reality on the mainland. In a society undergoing seismic change after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ulrich Tukur plays the not-so-fictitious head of a privatization authority whose work is impacted by an THE ASSASSINATION.
The German reunification in focus: KRUSO and ATTEMPTED MURDER
Petra K. Wagner connects two narrative threads in FRANKFURT, DECEMBER 17. While having sex in a car with married head physician Carl (Barnaby Metschurat), nurse Irina (Lana Cooper) witnesses a brawl; Lennard (Christoph Luser) rescues Sam (Ada Philine Stappenbeck) from the streets and is beaten up. What's the connection? Rainer Kaufmann's ONE MAN´S HAPPINESS tells the story of a man who will do anything in order not to lose anything. Village policeman Martin Manz (Albrecht Schuch) runs over the daughter (Lilli Biedermann) of his friend Frank (Johannes Allmayer) and won't reveal his guilt, even to his pregnant wife Anja (Aylin Tezel). A tragicomic take on SPEED is found in Wolfgang Murnberger's NOTHING TO LOSE, in which two scatterbrained thieves (Georg Friedrich, Christopher Schärf) hijack a bus full of mourners.
The themes in the #ffmuc film series "New German TV Movies" are somewhat antithetical, but they fit together, just as they do in real life. As Goethe put it: "In every breath we breathe, two graces share: the indraught and the outflow of the air. That is a toil, but this refreshment brings. So marvelous are our life's comminglings."