FILMFEST MÜNCHEN will be showing 14 German productions as world premieres in its New German Cinema section. Multifaceted themes center around the history of divided Germany, whether they are explored in tragicomedy, biopic, or drama. Other works explore the friction between the individual and society in depth.
These films explore the possibility of the here and now, even if they do sometimes have a historical underpinning. We are pleased to be able to demonstrate to audiences in such a concentrated way that there are very powerful signs of life in German cinema — whether they’re socially realist, absurd or even quite poetic.
It's crowded in the past
“What I have, I don’t want to lose, but / Where I am, I don’t want to stay, but /” begins one of the most famous poems by Thomas Brasch, who explored the intricate circumstances in both East and West Germany. The artful black-and-white film DEAR THOMAS by Andreas Kleinert offers an associative portrayal of the rebellious writer (Albrecht Schuch), collaged with excerpts from his works. It will open the New German Cinema section.
In THE LAST EXECUTION by Franziska Stünkel, Lars Eidinger plays East German careerist Franz Walter, a character inspired by Werner Teske, who climbs to higher and higher positions within the Stasi, but soon begins to regret his actions. As Walter, Lars Eidinger dances, howls, and screams — most definitely another highlight in his acting career. In THE GIRL WITH THE GOLDEN HANDS, a woman would really rather prefer the tranquil East German past she once knew. In her directorial debut, Katharina Marie Schubert sketches an indomitable female character, cast with Corinna Harfouch, and in so doing misses the rift between East and West.
THE SHADOW HOUR reaches further back into German history. In his intense chamber play, director Benjamin Martins shows us the despair felt by poet Jochen Klepper (Christoph Kaiser), who sees only one way out for himself, his wife, and his stepdaughter — both Jewish — in Germany under National Socialism.
Naturally, the topics of diversity and identity are also front and center in the New German Cinema section in 2021. Sarah Blasskiewitz takes a light-hearted look at everyday racism and identity crises in PRECIOUS IVIE, her debut feature: Ivie (Haley Louise Jones) suddenly discovers she has a (half-)sister, which really shakes her up. She feels like a stranger within her own circle of friends as well as in her own life. The relationship between the friends in VIVA FOREVER is also not what it used to be. In her feature-film debut, for which she also wrote the screenplay, director Sinje Köhler takes us to sunny Lake Garda in northern Italy, where a clique of women in their late twenties come to realize that they have all changed. COMMITMENT PHOBIA, the second film by Helena Hufnagel (after EINMAL BITTE ALLES), is dedicated to the Tinder generation, inspired by the bestselling non-fiction book of the same title — with Luise Heyer and Frederik Lau as an “odd couple” who play off each other with a lot of verbal wittiness.
Two documentaries explore the question of gender identity directly and sensitively at the same time. TRANS – I GOT LIFE by directors Imogen Kimmel and Doris Metz accompanies trans people on their path to finding their true selves and shows the high and low points involved in the process of gender reassignment. THE STRONG SEX takes on those who ostensibly feel secure in their sexuality: heterosexual men. Director Jonas Rothlaender upsets the protagonists with fantasies that other men have expressed in writing and gets them talking about their own insecurities and experiences.
Anke Engelke is embarking on a new journey showing a new side of herself. In the drama MY SON, she shines as a desperate mother who is slightly set in her ways. Lena Stahl sends her protagonist on a road trip across an unfamiliar Germany with her son (Jonas Dassler, familiar from LOMO), who is badly injured following an accident.
A "NOPE" to boredom
and being stuck in life
Other films in this section explore bourgeois narrow-mindedness and take the mickey out of it. NÖ by Dietrich Brüggemann drily portrays the travails of a couple in sophisticated tableaux and one-shot scenes: a darkly humorous portrait of a generation unable to achieve the utopia of a perfect life. Helga (Ulrike Willenbacher) in MONDAY UM ZEHN has also slipped through the cracks. She’s crashed through the floor of her living room and is now stuck: a wonderful metaphor for her life, which has gotten stuck. Director Mareille Klein looks behind the façade of the German bourgeoisie in every ironic line of the script.
Director Nikias Chryssos takes a particularly expressionistic approach to German myths of cleanliness: instead of wanting to indulge in “dirty thoughts”, the cult members in A PURE PLACE are interested in absolute purity. Siblings Irina and Paul want to break free of the cult — and Belgian star Sam Louwyck is impressive as cult leader Fust. With patina and a cultish attitude toward life, HEIKO'S WORLD by Dominik Galizia is captivating, having its protagonist hop from bar to bar, playing darts. He’s only really good at it when he’s had a few beers and “Futschis”, but he needs the prize money for his mother’s eye operation. So it’s drink up for Mom!