Be Alive! — TV Series at the 37th FILMFEST MÜNCHEN
Sometimes day-to-day life isn't enough. It's a great relief, then, that more and more series are being made that offer us viewers an escape for a few minutes in a variety of ways — be it in classical television with its linear storytelling, in streaming services, or in media libraries. Once again, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN has teamed up with the Seriencamp Festival to present exciting new international series in our Series Spotlight section. In addition, the New German TV Series section offers a selection of the most innovative German series among current productions.
There's always something alluring about a life of excess, and Virginie Despentes' bestselling series of novels is no exception. They're about a burned-out man named Vernon who used to own a record store. Without a place to live, he wanders from couch to couch, unable to escape a vicious cycle of partying. FILMFEST MÜNCHEN is showing the first two episodes of the picturesque adaptation of "Vernon Subutex".
Jaksch is another person who likes to let himself go. This guy from Munich in his late 20s doesn't quite know what to do with himself. All he knows is that he seeks adventure. In doing so, he meets some bizarre characters, some splendid individuals, and some pitiful figures. The German Web series "Fat and Fat" is an intelligent study of society.
Ana Mari and Manolo meet again in the shadow of such people with a zest for life. Ana Mari, loyal to the regime, and Manolo, a good-for-nothing colleague, get themselves hired by American actress Ava Gardner so that they can spy on her. It's 1961, and the Franco regime isn't at all pleased with her extravagant lifestyle. Ana Mari and Manolo take on the role of a housekeeper and a chauffeur as well as that of a married couple. The Spanish comedy-drama series "Arde Madrid" gives an entertaining twist to the Franco regime's desire to control people's lives.
Like Ana Mari, viewers of the documentary series "Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men" are allowed to peek into a different world. Director Sacha Jenkins follows the legendary Wu-Tang Clan on a journey through its past. This band revolutionized hip-hop in the early 1990s, not only with experimental beats and idiosyncratic lyrics, but also with fashion, making its members artists and businessmen at the same time.
Family man Manny in "Dark Money" is a businessman in the negative sense of the word. His family's lives are shattered when his son Isaac admits to having been abused by a Hollywood director. Unwilling to report the offender, Manny instead accepts a large sum of hush money. The family needs the money to pay its debts, but the consequences are demoralizing. This topical subject is given both thrilling and sensitive treatment in this British series.
How much is a life actually worth? This question preoccupies criminal defense lawyer Friedrich Kronberg in the third season of Ferdinand von Schirach's "Shades of Guilt". He stands by a woman accused of killing a child. He's also reacquainted with an old friend whose depression leads Kronberg to take a critical look at his own life. FILMFEST MÜNCHEN is showing three episodes from the new season: "The Friend", "The Small Man", and "Lonely".
Protecting lives is something that Dr. Nancy Jaax and her team in "The Hot Zone" try to do. When the Ebola virus is diagnosed in chimpanzees in Washington, DC, quick action is called for. With Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife") as a fearless military scientist alongside Liam Cunningham (Davos from "Game of Thrones") and Robert Sean Leonard (familiar from "Dead Poets' Society" and "Dr. House"), this thrilling series has a stellar cast.
After so much excitement, it's important to relax — to find a peaceful oasis, as it were, to which one can withdraw. Such a place can sometimes be found within another culture, but not always, as the second season of "The Institute – Oasis of Failure" shows. The employees of a German language and cultural institute in the fictitious country of Kisbekistan want to convince the residents of Kallalabad of how great Germany is, but their success is rather mediocre. This workplace sitcom is a politically incorrect satire of the Arab-European culture clash. It earned the 2018 German Comedy Award in the category of most innovative series.
This year, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN is presenting two exclusive binge-watching events: "Bauhaus: A New Era" by Lars Kraume and "West of Liberty" by Barbara Eder are each being shown in one piece. In the former, August Diehl as architect Walter Gropius defends himself against a journalist's accusation that he suppressed women at the Bauhaus, such as artist Dörte Helm (Anna Maria Mühe). In the latter, former Stasi informant and double agent Ludwig Licht prefers to spend his days in a pub in Berlin's Kreuzberg district — until his former CIA colleague GT has a new job for him. This four-part thriller series, which relates to current events, is based on Thomas Engström's novel of the same title. Wotan Wilke Möhring stars as Ludwig Licht and Lars Eidinger as Lucien Gell.