With high-school graduation behind them and a new time in their lives ahead of them, it’s just the right moment for three friends, Ira, Malin, and Ka, to go on a road trip to Italy in Anna Roller’s DEAD GIRLS DANCING. Along the way, however, they discover an abandoned village in the mountains. Soon they’re not only trying to find the reason why it was abandoned, but are also trying to find out who they are and discover a way out. A feeling of trepidation tends to arise more easily when five complete strangers are crammed into a car — as in MORE THAN STRANGERS, when five people of different nationalities share a car ride from Berlin to Paris. It doesn’t take long for problems to arise, but if the passengers want to arrive safely, they’ll have to help each other.
Adam and Eve also started out as strangers in Eden, but of course they didn’t have much choice of company. THE DIARIES OF ADAM AND EVE takes an original approach in portraying the moment they met — on the premise that the only two people in the world can’t stand each other at first. Even in an apartment building, people somehow have to get along in spite of possible antipathies. In BLACK BOX, when the police block all access to the building’s courtyard after an unexplained incident, the dynamics of the microcosm threaten to falter. Conflicts are bound to happen. And perhaps the threat from within is greater than the threat from outside.
Dead girls dancing
More than strangers
One ordinary day, a conflict completely changes the life of a happy Arab family in IT’S BURNING. At a playground, a man named Franz attacks a mother named Amal because of her headscarf. The case goes to court, but then a further incident occurs. The two sisters Drew and May find themselves in an absolutely dire situation in THE DIVE. The two experienced divers plan an idyllic underwater excursion, but when May is pulled into the depths and trapped under boulders, a race against time begins. Shot entirely in English, THE DIVE, a German production, is just one of three films in the New German Cinema section to venture into the international realm. SALTY WATER takes us to a small enclave guarded by a missile defense system amid the conflict raging between Israel and Hamas, while EMPTY NETS depicts the life of a fisherman on the rugged coast of the Caspian Sea. In that film, whose dialogue is in Farsi, Amir, a young Iranian, must raise money to marry Narges, the love of his life. Doing so gets him entangled in criminal machinations.
In SHOCK, Bruno continues to practice medicine after losing his license to do so. At first, treating a leukemia-stricken mafioso doesn’t seem to be a problem for him, but soon he is caught between rival groups. In MONSTER INSIDE, Sandra is already paying for her criminal deeds as she serves a prison sentence — while pregnant. She makes every effort to ensure that her child can remain with her after it is born, but the social worker and the youth welfare office fear that Sandra will revert to her old pattern of behavior as soon as she experiences stress. A group of women in CLASHING DIFFERENCES runs afoul of the rules in a completely different way. An association called “House of Womxn” must immediately change the panel that will be participating in an international women’s conference in order to satisfy a diversity checklist. As a result, the very diverse panelists clash, revealing some painful differences at first, but then some affirming commonalities as well.
The documentary WAR AND JUSTICE sheds light on the law from the other side. Luis Moreno Ocampo (the first chief prosecutor of the ICC), prosecutors such as Benjamin Ferencz (prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials), and the current chief prosecutor of the ICC, Karim Khan, are used as examples to provide insight into the work of the International Criminal Court. The question is raised whether the court’s effectiveness will determine our future.
Something that’s no longer supposed to be a part of our future is coal mining. The drama FOSSIL depicts an open-pit miner named Michael in his hopeless struggle against this fundamental change in German industry. His persistence soon earns him rejection, even from his own family. A new direction for the economy is something sought by the vegetable farmers in the documentary THE COMBINE. Over a period of nine years, the camera observed a collective of potato-growers in Munich in their search for an alternative to the capitalist mode of production in Germany. The camera also gets very close to Maxime and his two friends, Julian and Vilas, in BOYZ, when director Sylvain Cruiziat takes the audience along as his brother and his friends wander through Munich. The three lead carefree lives as students, but that will soon come to an end, as new pursuits await them. In their final days together, they grant us a look behind the façade of male youth in moments of vulnerability.