Established and up-and-coming filmmakers introduce us to individuals rebelling against abuse and assault, expressing their longing for a utopia that seems attainable, and trying to liberate themselves from their own inhibitions and complexes. The artists also give free rein to their stories and their imagery: sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes overwrought, though often lighthearted and always beyond a dull representation of everyday life. Hybrid forms, a delight in the performative, and the contrasting of alternative realities attest to this.
The two entries that will open this section on June 24 are representative of the current selection: GOD IS A BEETLE is a carefully directed feature film that weaves documentary elements into its fictional narrative about deep matters of faith, while SOLASTALGIA’s artful visual design captures the mood of an entire generation that is activist on the one hand and powerless on the other. Both films are graduation projects by students at the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF) — Felix Herrmann and Marina Hufnagel — who experiment effortlessly with formal aspects in order to express themselves in an original way, thus allowing young German film to leave a lasting impression.
God is a beetle
EVERYbody WANTS TO BE LOVEd
In EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE LOVED by Katharina Woll, Filmfest all-star Anne Ratte-Polle plays a therapist wife and mother who aims to please everyone but risks forgetting about her own needs in the process. Subtle tension pervades this incisive psychological profile, yet the film never loses its lightness and delicateness. Related in its theme, yet completely different in its approach, is MOTHER by Carolin Schmitz, in which eight authentic recordings of conversations about motherhood are assembled in an amazing way into a gigantic mosaic — by none other than Anke Engelke!
This year’s films place a strong emphasis on the performative. In SO LONG DADDY, SEE YOU IN HELL by Christopher Roth, postmodernism meets punk. This film tells an authentic story about breaking free, in which excesses and escalation result in a power struggle between a guru who runs a commune (Clemens Schick) and a rebellious girl (Jana McKinnon). Sophie Linnenbaum’s THE ORDINARIES is a quirky, lavish meta-parable that is narratively and visually bursting with ideas and that contains lots of references to current topics of discussion. Last but not least, in PERFORMER, Oliver Grüttner presents his take on the preparation of a violent act without falling into the trap of trying to psychoanalyze his protagonist. Instead, his razor-sharp look at the worst consequences of toxic masculinity is more captivating in its 55-minute runtime than many a “major” motion picture.
So long daddy, See you in hell
Speaking of which: NO NAME RESTAURANT by Stefan Sarazin and Peter Keller is indeed a major motion picture, an adventurous yet unusual culture-clash buddy comedy set in the middle of the Holy Land. This film recently earned the Bavarian Film Award for best production. ALL RUSSIANS LOVE BIRCH TREES by Pola Beck is an intense adaptation of a bestseller about searching for and finding love and one’s home during a tragicomic road trip. RAGE AT KUBA, a graduation film by HFF student Naira Cavero Orihuel, fits naturally into this lineup with its powerful Cinemascope images: a raw, fascinating drama about a woman in search of herself.
The New German Cinema section also welcomes back two directors who have each received the Young Talent Award for a debut film: Timo Müller, director of MORSCHOLZ, captures the mysterious effect THE RED MOUNTAIN seems to have on its surroundings, while Hanna Doose, director of DUST ON OUR HEARTS, presents in KISS MY WOUNDS a tragicomic and believable lifestyle drama with German actors (Bibiana Beglau, Alexander Fehling, Katarina Schröter) in improvisation mode.
no name restaurant
all russians love birch trees
Closing the section is REX GILDO – THE LAST DANCE, the biography of a Schlager singer whose life was split between public appearances and private longing. Old master Rosa von Praunheim tells this story in his typical fashion of mixing documentary and feature-film elements, thus harking back to the two opening films.
The program is rounded out by two “genuine” documentaries that are insightful as well as touching. ELFRIEDE JELINEK – LANGUAGE UNLEASHED uses masterful techniques of montage to approach the fascinating and complex personality of a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, while LIEBE ANGST depicts a family tragedy that began with the Shoah, spans three generations, and still cannot be overcome.
rage at Kuba
the red mountain
kiss my wounds
In the New German Cinema section, films acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, such as GRAVE DECISIONS, A COFFEE IN BERLIN, LOVE STEAKS, WE'RE THE NEW PEOPLE, and ALL GOOD, have celebrated their world premieres.
The films in this section compete for the lucrative German Cinema New Talent Award in the categories of directing, production, screenplay, and acting.