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Friday, 5/24/2019

MUNICH, Baby!

Eight subjective views of the Bavarian capital

Bavarian fantasies in THE CAT HAS NINE LIVES

Sometimes comical, sometimes serious, sometimes beguiling, sometimes critical — but always typical of Munich. Munich is both a backdrop and a protagonist in eight works by prominent filmmakers from the Bavarian city. It doesn't matter whether the films are set in the 1960s or today: Munich has never been afraid of contrasting its metropolitan vibes and village gossip, its conservatism and cosmopolitan attitude, its clichés and subculture.

The program includes films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Helmut Dietl as well as by such prominent female directors as May Spils, Ula Stöckl, and Gabriela Zerhau — we'll meet Zerhau again in the New German TV Movies section with her latest work, SECRET IN THE MOUNTAIN. FILMFEST MÜNCHEN is especially proud to celebrate a world premiere in the Open Air section: SCHMUCKLOS by Thomas Schwendemann. This comedy paints a convivial portrait of Munich, or of a very particular part of town, to be more precise: In Giesing, an old pub is reopening and is expected to become an in locale. Some very familiar faces are on board: Marianne Sägebrecht, Eisi Gulp, Günther Maria Halmer, and Uschi Glas, among others.

In GO FOR IT, BABY! (1968) by May Spils, one of Germany's first female directors, we see a Munich that was never more laid-back than this. Good-for-nothing Martin and snazzy Barbara epitomize a completely new generation. It's no longer necessary to fit in; it's better to be able to say something cool and to reject the norms of society. Deliberately apolitical in its approach, a comedy unwinds that simply takes the summer one day at a time. Slightly more critical is Ula Stöckl's feminist film THE CAT HAS NINE LIVES, produced that same year. In episodes arranged like an essay, two young women meet, while out and about in Munich day and night, other women who each follow their own path through life. In doing so, the two women get to know not only Munich and its surroundings, but themselves as well.

 

GO FOR IT, BABY! and DIE HAUSMEISTERIN

 

Self-determination is also the subject of the Bayerischer Rundfunk series DIE HAUSMEISTERIN from the 1980s, which rapidly became one of the most popular series of its time. The charming and humorous juxtaposition of independent Martha and her ex-husband Josef, who is dependent on both her and his new girlfriend, appealed to a broad viewership. This was also partly thanks to the series' celebrity cast, which included Veronika Fitz, Helmut Fischer, Ottfried Fischer, and Hans Brenner. FILMFEST MÜNCHEN will be showing the first episode of each of the first two seasons.

 

SCHMUCKLOS and MASTER EDER AND HIS PUMUCKL

 

Another notable local celebrity, now restored to his former brilliance, will be projected onto the big Open Air screen: the most famous goblin in Germany! The festival will present the first five episodes of the legendary children's series MASTER EDER AND HIS PUMUCKL, which for many an adult will be a journey down memory lane.

A film section titled "MINGA, Baby!" simply must include two cinema icons: Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Helmut Dietl. In the tradition of critical community theater, Fassbinder's milieu drama KATZELMACHER (1969) deals with such themes as marginalization and the narrow-mindedness of the boredom-driven desires of the suburban bourgeois. Helmut Dietl's ROSSINI (1997), whose German title continues as "The Murderous Question of Who Slept with Whom", is a biting satire of filmmaking which at the same time pays homage to Schwabing's vivacious high society.

 

KEEP SURFING and ROSSINI

 

Another typical Munich phenomenon are, of course, the Eisbach surfers, to whom KEEP SURFING by Björn Richie Lob, which celebrated its world premiere at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN in 2009, is dedicated. This documentary reveals an unexpectedly anarchist side to Bavaria's largest city, in which free spirits and individualists have created their own little world.

All film screenings in the Open Air section are free of charge and will start at 10 p.m.