If you’ve ever wondered why some actors hold a greater fascination than others and are able to lock our gaze to the screen, you need only look at this year’s recipient of our CineMerit Award. In PEACOCK’S PARADISE, Alba Rohrwacher proves once again how she’s able to express things in very subtle gestures that no dialogue can convey, in a well-cast, low-key family drama that’s about precisely that: letting things that are hidden gradually make their way to the surface.
When it comes to films featuring celebrities, our guest of honor must of course be at the top of the list. Yet FILMFEST MÜNCHEN has far more to offer in 2022 — there are a number of excellent productions from Europe alone. LOST ILLUSIONS, for example, based on a famous novel by Honoré de Balzac, is French all-star cinema at its best; this film was awarded a total of seven Césars. In addition to seeing Cécile de France and Gérard Depardieu again, we also meet Benjamin Voisin, one of Europe’s most promising young actors. Director Xavier Dolan (I KILLED MY MOTHER) is also back in front of the camera.
Gaspar Ulliel and Vicky Krieps in More than ever
THE ACCUSATION, a gripping drama by Yvan Attal, stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and Matthieu Kassovitz (director of HATE and THE CRIMSON RIVERS) — as well as Attal and Gainsbourg’s son, Benjamin Attal. Another film that takes us to France, or that at least starts out there, is MORE THAN EVER, directed by Emily Atef (3 DAYS IN QUIBERON), about a terminally ill young woman who sets out on a journey from Bordeaux to Norway. The film stars Vicky Krieps, who also appears in the role of Empress Elisabeth of Austria in our opening film CORSAGE, and Gaspard Ulliel. Here, Ulliel appears in his final role: the actor, familiar from such films as SAINT LAURENT, died in a tragic skiing accident this past spring.
Catalan director Albert Serra brings to Munich a pan-European co-production from the Cannes competition. PACIFICTION is a political thriller set in Tahiti that deals with the resumption of French nuclear testing. Benoît Magimel and Sergi López, both of them greats of European cinema, shoulder the film with ease.
Ruth Wilson in TRUE THINGS
Star-studded cinema made in Britain
Another focus of this year’s festival is British cinema. In TRUE THINGS, Ruth Wilson, familiar from the series THE AFFAIR, portrays a woman who’s stuck in a rut and yearns to break free; a fleeting acquaintance might offer a shot at happiness. EAR FOR EYE takes a completely different approach: this film by debbie tucker green (who spells her name in lower case) turns out to be an experimental, stage-inspired triptych about racism starring such gifted performers as Lashana Lynch, who played the new 007 in the latest James Bond film.
Aaron Paul and Karen Gillan in DUAL
Stars from overseas
Of course, the Filmfest also features talented casts from overseas. Aaron Paul, familiar from such series as BREAKING BAD, returns in DUAL. This satirical science-fiction thriller by US director Riley Stearns is about a terminally ill woman (Karen Gillan, familiar from DOCTOR WHO and as Nebula from the Marvel universe) who has herself cloned so that the clone can take her place after her death. When she unexpectedly recovers, she’s unable to get rid of the copy. Richard Jenkins and Amy Schumer both star in THE HUMANS. In this intense, classically styled drama, a family comes together to celebrate Thanksgiving in Manhattan. Suddenly, everything they never dared to say to each other winds up on the table.
Also in English, but produced in a completely different corner of the world, is JUNIPER. This gem from New Zealand tells the story of a teenager’s first encounter with his terminally ill grandmother — played by Charlotte Rampling, who once again shows how much anger, despair, and tenderness she can pack into a single glance.
BROKER is the South Korean debut of Japanese master director and Golden Palm recipient Hirokazu Kore-eda, with PARASITE star Song Kang-ho in the leading role. This mixture of drama, road movie, and detective movie is about a child trafficking ring that could be thwarted when maternal sympathies interfere.
Anke Engelke in Mother
German stars of film and TV
German stars are naturally given their due at the Filmfest, too. In Doris Dörrie’s latest comedy, THE POOL, Andrea Sawatzki and Nilam Farooq jump in, while in HUNTING SEASON, Rosalie Thomass, Almila Bagriacik, and Marie Burchard go on the prowl. In the New German Cinema section, Anke Engelke carries the entire film MOTHER as its sole performer; Anna Ratte-Polle displays similar virtuosity in EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE LOVED, a substantive yet graceful film that focuses very much on the character she plays. Aylin Tezel shows what she’s capable of in ALL RUSSIANS LOVE BIRCH TREES, as does Clemens Schick as the demonic head of a commune in the eccentric SO LONG DADDY, SEE YOU IN HELL. Another perfect example of great acting is KISS MY WOUNDS, starring Bibiana Beglau, Katarina Schröter, and Alexander Fehling.
Henry Hübchen in light in a dark house
As always, the Filmfest also places a special focus on TV movies and series that you can see on the big screen for the first time. Josef Bierbichler, Jule Böwe, and Olli Dittrich are among the iconic German performers in PUNISHMENT – FERDINAND VON SCHIRACH, a lavishly produced TV series that can be seen in its entirety at our festival. Equally recommended is KING OF STONKS, starring Thomas Schubert and Matthias Brandt: a delightfully sinister six-part satire about narcissism and double standards in the financial industry, the first two episodes of which can be seen on the big screen. Friedrich Mücke and Johanna Wokalek appear in the miniseries LIBERAME – AFTER THE STORM, while Birgit Minichmayr does her investigating in the series THE NET – PROMISED LAND. Max von der Groeben, Tom Wlaschiha, and Eva Mattes are also part of the cast.
Also impressive are Henry Hübchen in LIGHT IN A DARK HOUSE, adapted from a bestselling novel, and Verena Altenberger in the artful drama SHADOWS OF THE PAST. Axel Stein meets Fabian Busch in the revealing comedy THE DISRUPTER, and the breathtaking thriller THE HIPPOCRATIC SILENCE stars Julia Jentsch and Kostja Ullmann.
As you can see, the festival lineup is filled with stars of German and international origin; there are too many to list them all. Buy a ticket, enter the auditorium, wait for the curtain to rise, and let yourself be starstruck!