Tuesday, 5/9/2017

More than Crime

20 German TV Movies in Competition

More than Crime


German primetime has a soft spot for police procedurals and social dramas – often both at the same time. So nothing but clichés? No way! Mothers and fathers, culprits and victims, kids and crimes, friend and foe, love and loss play the leads – yet the 20 choice movies-of-the-week tell unique stories of pain and humor, from the tragic to the bizarre, with the A-list of German actors as well as rising stars, hot-button issues and historical settings.

LONELY KNIGHTS go shopping for brides in Eastern Europe – and are ultimately confronted with themselves instead. A LOVERBOY seduces a fifteen-year-old girl and makes her turn tricks – for which she has to pay dearly in the end. A seventeen-year-old comes back from her exchange in France knocked up in ELLA'S BABY, while a village conspires to collect retirement for the deceased in PLUG NICKELS.

Money makes the world go round in Paul Harather's send-up of corporate-speak and consultant culture in WITH COMPLIMENTS FROM THE COMPANY. Greed and negligence in a lake district clinic in GODS IN WHITE, too. THE KING OF BERLIN fights a rat infestation with over-the-top humor and biting satire. The top German cop show goes Gothic in "Scene of the Crime" episode BE AFRAID, Hammer-style: Lightning flashes, fog wafts all the way into hospital restrooms and there's no way out for our heroes.

Teens aren't always victims


Life only seems to take a slower pace in Lower Germany's Harz hills, where a village cop has his work cut out for him protecting a witness in LAST COP STANDING. The cops fail to protect a witness in TRAITOR – LIESARE THE ONLY WAY OUT, where the East German Stasi secret police disguises a woman's death as a failed escape attempt to the West. And SUGAR SAND takes place in the days when East Germany was still bursting with revolutionary optimism – and two boys decide to dig a tunnel to Australia.

Boys will be boys, even in 1944, when five kids are drafted into the Waffen-SS for the suicidal final battle in SUMMER OF '44 – THE LOST GENERATION – only three will survive.  Reaching even farther back in history, THE PUPPETEERS is the story of a novice out for vengeance on the Inquisitor who condemned his mother to be burned at the stake.

Violence against teens in the present day, as well: THE GOOD COP does battle with a cunning kidnapper to rescue a series of kidnapped girls. A single mom loses her daughter to the sea and has to struggle to still be A GOOD MOTHER. In THE LIFE AFTER, an aging punk and guitar teacher tries to be a good dad to his daughter, who survived the catastrophe of the Duisburg Love Parade 2010.

Family is not a static entity


Boys have a hard time, too: In BENEDE , an eleven-year-old has to witness his father killing his mother. In ONE IN EVERY FAMILY, a dad is confronted with some uncomfortable truths by his son after ten years of estrangement. Kids are not only victims, though: In THE SON, a mom harbors a terrible suspicion against her son. Even as a grown-up, you're not safe from crisis: When a religious couple takes in a young junkie, the husband discovers his homoerotic side in YOUR WILL BE DONE.


As the German TV movies play to conventions and genre expectations, they also subvert them and push the envelope. Surprising truths and true surprises in 20 films in competition for the Bernd Burgemeister TV Movie Award and a purse of €25,000, awarded by VFF producer's rights society.