New German TV Movies

AFFAIRS OF THE HEART

The heart is a lonely hunter, as we know from the famous title of an equally famous novel by US author Carson McCullers. It's hard to tell exactly who or what the heart is after. Presumably it's chasing after success or happiness — at any rate, something that the heart itself probably can't identify. The (Vienna) blood that courses through one's veins is, as we know, thicker than water. This means that family members, including the extended family, are very important, which can certainly be intimidating. It's impossible to shake them off, even those related by marriage, and when it does come to separation, one finds oneself pining for one's partner, desiring a renewal of the bond or perhaps a final parting of ways.

Television has always taken up various affairs of the heart and allowed emotions to run free, although a good balance must be found between the mind and the heart. The films in this section — all of them world premieres made for the living room, though their powerful imagery is suited to the big screen — succeed wonderfully against the sometime bleakness of the digital age. A girl allows herself to be perilously sucked into vivid-looking gaming worlds, and somewhere, lots of characters lose themselves searching for a place (Mallorca?) where they are better off, where they can be themselves or at least search for their true selves.

In earlier times they might have been family, but nowadays they don't always offer the warmth of home. More and more, blood is turning to water, and indeed it's uncanny to watch as parents argue with each other and with their (often out-of-control) children or, even worse, treat each other with deafening silence. There just are no simple truths, only complex cases and conflicts without easy solutions but with lots of different perspectives, like erratic heartbeats. Strangely enough, a freshly implanted heart of all things can put its new owner out of step with her life's rhythm, so that she must reinvent herself and, like so many others, find a new design for life.

Some developments are surprising and contain a magical beauty: Several butchers in a far-off land, for example, look for and maybe find a welcome diversion and happiness in a chorus. Three other men follow a boyhood dream and must align this old idea from their youth with the new reality in which they live. It's not an easy task, but surely a stout-hearted one.

There is a chill, however, when a mother begins ruthlessly scheming BECAUSE YOU'RE MINE. The horror of possessiveness lurks within this title, and I NEED YOU sounds rather desperate as well. Yet even after a nice confession: If the heart is a lonely hunter, perhaps it doesn't want to be lonely anymore. In a movie theater, where these films will first see the light of the screen, one is, strictly speaking, not completely alone, but can be moved and touched at the same time as everyone else.

Michael Stadler

All films of this section >>