Thursday, 5/23/2019

Initial Highlights

Choice Films from the 2019 Program

Initial Highlights

The Bavarian band down memory lane: SPIDER MURPHY GANG – GLORY DAYS OF ROCK 'N‘ ROLL

Summer is around the corner, and the 37th FILMFEST MÜNCHEN is drawing ever closer. As excitement builds in anticipation of our films and guests, we're announcing some initial tidbits from this year's lineup.

Award-winning performances

British actor and director Ralph Fiennes will be honored with the CineMerit Award this summer. FILMFEST MÜNCHEN will personally welcome the "Dark Lord" to Munich. His third film as director, THE WHITE CROW, will be shown at the CineMerit gala. In this film, Fiennes looks at the life of world-famous ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (portrayed by Ukrainian ballet star Oleg Ivenko), who toured Europe in the 1960s with Leningrad's Kirov Ballet. Life in freedom-loving Paris makes the world behind the Iron Curtain seem very distant, and Nureyev's decision not to return to his home country results in serious consequences. Ralph Fiennes himself appears in this multifaceted portrait as Nureyev's mentor, the calm, stoic ballet master Alexander Ivanovich Pushkin.


Louis Garrel in A FAITHFUL MAN and Ralph Fiennes in THE WHITE CROW


A further award will be presented this year to French actor, director, and scriptwriter Louis Garrel: the Margot Hielscher Award. Presented in 2019 for the first time, this award is for outstanding artistic personalities who have distinguished themselves in their youth through their versatility and achievements in multiple cultural disciplines. Garrel will accept his award in person at the Filmfest. In 2017, Filmfest audiences admired him as Jean-Luc Godard in LE REDOUTABLE; now he's back to introduce his latest film. In A FAITHFUL MAN, he's cast himself, his wife Laetitia Casta, and Johnny Depp's daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, in a love triangle. Garrel approaches these romantic entanglements and communication issues with a competent eye toward French New Wave nonchalance.

Music is in the air

Other films with musical themes pervade our highlights. PRÉLUDE by Sabrina Sarabi charts the career of David, a young concert pianist who's been accepted to a conservatory, but realizes that his talent is not as extraordinary as he'd thought. Only Marie, a self-confident voice major, can prevent him from cracking under the pressure of competition. Not only are Louis Hofmann, from the Netflix series DARK, and Liv Lisa Fries from BABYLON BERLIN the stars of the film; they and the crew will also present PRÉLUDE at the festival.

CRESCENDO #MAKEMUSICNOTWAR bears witness to an extraordinary project. During peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, young Israeli and Palestinian musicians launch a concert project in Israel. It soon becomes clear to the participants that music can help people understand each other better, not just within their small circle, but also internationally. In YESTERDAY, the new film by TRAINSPOTTING director Danny Boyle, a power outage removes all of the Beatles' songs from everyone's memory, just like that. Only Jack, a struggling singer, remembers the band from Liverpool. He doesn't quite know whether these memories are real or only part of his imagination, but one thing is certain: songs like "Yesterday" and "Let It Be" soon make him internationally famous.




A real summer in the city of Munich just wouldn't be the same without a very specific soundtrack — one by a very specific Bavarian cult band: the Spider Murphy Gang. In the documentary GLORY DAYS OF ROCK ’N’ ROLL – THE STORY OF THE SPIDER MURPHY GANG, all of the present and former members of the Bavarian cult band have their say. The film looks back at the band's early days, its major achievements, and its hard times, and celebrates Bavarian rock ’n’ roll with unreleased demo tapes and collages of old and more recent concert footage. All members of the Gang will attend the world premiere at the Filmfest.

Series of past events

The landmark series BAUHAUS: A NEW ERA also features a lineup of German stars. August Diehl as Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius is confronted by a young journalist who claims that his academy constrained female artists. Gropius reminisces about Dörte Helm (Anna Maria Mühe), an artist who resisted all constraints, and whom he helped to realize her dreams. To mark 100 years of the Bauhaus, the festival will be showing all six parts of the series as a "binge event" on a single evening.




The historical drama VITA & VIRGINIA also takes us back to the early 20th century. Chanya Button's film tells the story of a romance between modernist author Virginia Woolf and author Vita Sackville-West, who is said to be Woolf's inspiration for "Orlando". Elizabeth Debicki and Gemma Arterton shine as two women who were, in literature and in society, far ahead of their time.

Long and unconventional journeys

Stepping outside the usual boundaries of society is a theme in THE DAY I LOST MY SHADOW, in which Syrian director Soudade Kaadan comes to terms with experiences lived in her war-torn country. In a film characterized by magical realism, a woman notices that her brother has lost his shadow. War has robbed its victims of a part of themselves. How are the survivors to deal with this?




Just as far from the world of movie stars and large-scale productions is the work of Mariano Llinás and El Pampero Cine. This Argentinian collective will bring a 14-hour film project to Munich. Showing at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN in three parts, LA FLOR is comprised of six different episodes. In the style of a B-movie horror film, then a musical comedy, then a thriller, intricate and ludicrous stories are brought to the screen. The collective has been working on this milestone since 2009, completely without subsidies or outside help. The result is a cinematic project of a kind that hasn't been seen before, but that definitely must be seen.