News

Thursday, 6/6/2019

New German Cinema

Obstacle Courses

A moment between reality and vision in RELATIVITY

 

With an ode to a bar with a lot of local character, a fairy tale about a big, bad wolf, and stories about meritocracy and the struggle to establish oneself, the young German filmmakers at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN are once again demonstrating their versatility. A total of 18 German productions will have their world premiere this year in the festival's New German Cinema section.

German cinema is taking a notably introspective turn this year. Several films deal with the unnatural quality of the art world and show business. The two directors of ALL I NEVER WANTED, for example, basically portray themselves: two film students who are making a documentary about a young model and an aging actress. All four artists experience the painful discovery of how difficult it is to establish oneself in show business, particularly as a woman. In contrast, LEIF IN CONCERT takes a rather romantic and nostalgic approach to show business. Waiting in vain for a musician named Leif to perform, the patrons of a popular pub come up with their own entertainment. David, a music student in PRÉLUDE, dreams of a career as a concert pianist on the world stage, but the competition and the pressure at the conservatory might just be too much for him.

 

LEIF IN CONCERT and ALL I NEVER WANTED

 

Viktor, on the other hand, already has it made: he's a piano soloist about to give the biggest concert of his life. He's invited everyone in his family — except his mother. LARA, however, procures her own ticket to the concert and has her own plans for the evening. Relationships between mothers and their offspring are a defining theme in New German Cinema, and one that has many facets. While Ava in GOLDEN TWENTIES reluctantly moves back in with her mother after graduation, Ben in STARS ABOVE US wants to stay with his mom no matter what happens, even if it means being homeless.

The fact that families, and particularly relationships between brothers and sisters, function according to their own rules is illustrated in DARLING.SISTER. Franz and Lilly jointly manage the cattle farm they've inherited, but the two have very different ideas about what the future holds. Julie and Agnes in STAY STILL are another odd couple: one is quick-witted and headstrong, while the other always tries to do everything properly. In spire of these enormous differences, the two of them enjoy a remarkable friendship.



LARA, STARS ABOVE US and GOLDEN TWENTIES

 

Relationships and the obstacles that get in their way are another recurring theme in New German Cinema. In I WAS, I AM, I WILL BE., Marion agrees to a marriage of convenience so that Kurdish immigrant Baran can have a future in Europe. However, their agreement is complicated by fears and emotions. Truth or fiction is a question that's also addressed in RELATIVITY, in which Nora's boyfriend is killed in an accident, leaving her shaken and alone. She finds comfort with someone new who at once seems strangely familiar. Is it déjà vu or just a product of her imagination? Astrid and Julius, at any rate, didn't simply imagine their brief but passionate relationship in WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN, which years later threatens Astrid's current romance. Meanwhile, Nina and Karl are LONELY TOGETHER when they are suddenly separated. What started out as a crisis soon leads to a new outlook. That's also what the couple in REST IN GREECE hope to get out of their vacation together. However, a huge surprise awaits them in their vacation home.

 

I WAS, I AM, I WILL BE., WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN and REST IN GREECE

 

German cinema isn't just full of emotions; the mystical also plays a part. In MÄR, journalist Leo Bernstein travels across a dystopian Germany to investigate the reappearance of wolves and increasingly loses touch with reality.

This year's program includes two documentaries that are very different from each other. While GLORY DAYS OF ROCK ’N’ ROLL – THE STORY OF THE SPIDER MURPHY GANG loudly celebrates the cult band from Munich, RESCUE THE FIRE strikes a quieter tone. This film paints a portrait of photographer and artist Jürgen Baldiga, who died of HIV in 1993, and along with it a portrait of some of the history of West Berlin.

 

GLORY DAYS OF ROCK ’N’ ROLL – THE STORY OF THE SPIDER MURPHY GANG,
MÄR and RESCUE THE FIRE

 

There's also a special screening of two films as a double feature. The 3-D short film A NEW NORMAL by Luzie Loose follows a young man who works through an identity crisis. Jan Bonny's satire JUPP, WHAT HAVE WE DONE? tells of the rise and fall of art consultant Helge Achenbach as it depicts greed, money, and fraud. What both directors have in common is the will to create cinema that departs from the beaten path. After the screening, they'll talk about their vision in a Q&A.

As diverse as the New German Cinema films are this year, they are always about obstacles of one kind or another. Yet meeting the filmmakers, actors, and actresses hardly involves negotiating obstacles. At FILMMAKERS LIVE! discussions, a number of the biggest directors and performers will be happy to take questions from the audience.