Thursday, August 28. 2014
Jutta Brendemuehl: What did you feel & think when you first saw the airport? How did you experience this venue, history-laden for my generation of “divided” Germans, but perhaps less or differently charged for you as a transplanted Canadian artist visiting in 2013?
Lynne Marsh: What struck me on my first visit to the tower was the amazing open vista onto the sky and landscape. The airport is in the middle of the countryside without any sign of towns nearby. You can see the weather approaching for kilometres. And during the entire day of my first visit there were no planes. The airport was not abandoned, it was new and waiting. The first reference to pop into my mind was Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’. There was a strong sense of loneliness and isolation, yet the view allowed you this incredible connection to the outside.
I met Anna on duty that day as the air traffic controller. The contrast was extraordinary. Fresh out of her training, her enthusiasm and optimism for her profession was palpable in our interview. Perhaps for me the former East-West divide is mostly articulated in the desires and aspirations of this airport – transformed from a soviet air-base into a western commercial market experiment. The work calls forth the present tense condition of the history-laden site, where the economic model is lacking stability.
Wednesday, August 27. 2014
The nine-person jury, under the chairmanship of Peter Herrmann, based its decision as follows: “BELOVED SISTERS is a modernly told ménage-à-trois that takes us back to the 18th century with a certain lightness. Dominik Graf directed, with his own personal signature and great sensitivity, the story of a moving love affair. The film convinces with the direction of the actors, the images suffused with light, and its very clever and unconventional composition.”
BELOVED SISTERS tells the true but little known story of a ménage-à-trois between Friedrich Schiller and the von Lengefeld sisters, a utopia on the eve of the French Revolution. German actors Florian Stetter, Hannah Herzsprung (about to arrive in Toronto for TIFF14) and Henriette Confurius shine in the leading roles.
Continue reading "BELOVED SISTERS to represent Germany in the..." »
Tuesday, August 26. 2014
After staring at various TIFF press & industry excel sheets, I feel I qualify for a higher level of Kabbalah. Here's the alchemy of German films at this year's TIFF as it appeared before my eyes while finalizing my own schedule of hopefully 20+ films:
• 7 German films and 24 coproductions = 31 films:
> half with France
> 2 with Canada (Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars”!)
> 10 with Northern Europe
> 5 with South America
• 14 dramas, 5 comedies, 3 thrillers, 3 shorts, 2 experimental films
• 8 German-language & 6 English-language films
• 2 Cannes winning films (“Winter Sleep” Golden Palm & “Jauja” FIPRESCI Prize) Continue reading "German films @ #TIFF14 in numbers" »
Wednesday, August 6. 2014
All of the German films in the World Competition will have their international premiere there and focus on people in stressful situations. THE LIMITS OF PATIENCE by Christian Wagner is about a juvenile court judge, played by Martina Gedeck, who passes beyond breaking point. Continue reading "34x Germany @ Montreal World Film Festival" »
Tuesday, August 5. 2014
The unexpected death of Berlin filmmaker Harun Farocki was met with great sadness among the staff of the Goethe-Institut worldwide, many of whom had worked closely with him in the past. “We lose one of the most intelligent and original German filmmakers,” says Johannes Ebert, secretary general of the Goethe-Institut. “Time and again Farocki gave new impulses to the craft of documentary filmmaking far beyond Germany.” Continue reading "The Goethe-Institut mourns Harun Farocki" »
Wednesday, June 18. 2014
The film, about to start shooting in Toronto, follows a man’s hunt for a Nazi war criminal who killed his family.
Staying on subject with German 20th century history --ample fodder for German and international films--, Berlin auteur Christian Petzold is working on “Phoenix” for a potential fall release as writer-director with his outstanding "Barbara" cast Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld, plus one of my new favourite actors, Nina Kunzendorf. (If you want to revisit “Barbara”, we’ll show it again this fall). Here Hoss is a Holocaust survivor who returns home to find her husband with another woman.
Continue reading "New German Films: Akin, Petzold, Herzog, more" »
Sunday, June 15. 2014
Count on Berlin, site of the historic 2006 World Cup, to bring culture into play in the International Soccer Film Festival: "Football and film have discovered that they have a lot in common. Football films depict the social and cultural background of the sport all over the world, its unique ability to simultaneously signify norms and rebellion, riches and poverty, solidarity and fanaticism. It's an ideal métier for storytelling. The sport is full of wonderful images, sympathy and antipathy with protagonists, bitter defeats, tragic heroes. Football contains the sort of archetypes and figures of identification needed to tell cinematic stories."
Let's travel back in cinematic and athletic time & space for a moment...
Friday, June 13. 2014
"Growing up in France I was learning German as a second language in Grade 8. After the war, France & Germany worked hard on rehabilitating a friendship – many French towns would be twinned to a West German city.
I am so thankful to this Great Governmental Program for arousing & shaping my homosexuality. I was 13 years old when I was sent to Frankfurt Am Main, and the family that welcomed me were nudists. When Rolf, the 6-foot 14-year-old blond karate kid who I was paired with, showed me his parents naked in the family album, my blood started to flow like a river covered in rose petals and my heart danced to Nena’s 99 Luft Balloons that summer. I was born to be me. Well sort of…
The film 'Summer Storm' unfolds at a rowing championship in a German campground, and there are a great moments showing the awkwardness of youthful sexual awakening. Continue reading "How movies shaped me (& Happy World Pride)" »
Thursday, June 5. 2014
Their moving documentary "Dancing Dreams", which screened at Berlinale and won the Special Jury Prize at New York's Festival Dance on Camera as well as Best Documentary at the Cinedans Festival Amsterdam, delves into the lifes of these young people and their first encounter with the world of dance --and shows some of the last footage of and last taped interview with Pina before her untimely death.
On the occasion of Tanztheater Wuppertal's guest performances of "Kontakthof" at the Luminato Festival this June and the company's 40th anniversary, we bring arts journalist Anne Linsel to Toronto to screen and discuss her film and collaboration with Pina Bausch:
“Dancing Dreams” (2010) by Anne Linsel & Rainer Hoffmann
June 13, 4pm DVD screening, followed at 5.30pm by a conversation between Linsel and Christopher House, AD of Toronto Dance Theatre
Free admission at the Goethe-Institut Toronto
In the accompanying book, Anne Linsel engaged Pina Bausch and the young students about their process and goals: Continue reading "Pina Bausch's "Dancing Dreams" -..." »
Thursday, May 22. 2014
One of Germany's most celebrated auteurs, Oscar winner Volker Schlöndorff, was recently honoured for transitioning Babelsberg from centralized communist film production to Western market economy as its director from 1992 to1997. 100+ years of (nearly) uninterrupted film production from Weimar to Nazi Gemany to the East German DEFA to a unified Germany have included many economic and artistic ups-and-downs. At the Berlinale 2014, the "Filmstudios Babelsberg" were more present than ever with three major films. Europe's larget film factory has become an international brand with big plans for the future, as Berlin's Tagesspiegel reports:
Continue reading "Europe's Hollywood: Studio Babelsberg" »
Thursday, May 15. 2014
Front runner DAS FINSTERE TAL walked away with Best Film (Silver), Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Set Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Music, Best Sound. 8 awards out of 9 nominations, a clear vote for genre cinema.
DIE ANDERE HEIMAT was honoured with Best Film (Gold), Best Screenplay, Best Director, a clear choice for arthouse, and in a way also a lifetime achievement vote -- congratulations Herr Reitz!
FACK JU GÖHTE by Bora Dagtekin --- Germany's biggest box office hit... and that is exactly what the film won.
ZWEI LEBEN by Georg Maas --- Germany's Oscar contender won Best Editing.
OSTWIND by Katja von Garnier (also nominated for Best Music) --- at TIFF Kids as "Windstorm", won Best Children's Film.
And two brilliant younger German actresses were honoured: Jördis Triebel won Best Actress for WESTEN, Sandra Hüller Best Supporting Actress for FINSTERWORLD.
Look forward to seeing several of the nominees and winners at our upcoming Toronto film events!
by Jutta Brendemühl
image: Goethe-Institut Toronto
Tuesday, May 13. 2014
In an odd little village, the dripping of water is more important than the gushing of love. As crazy as the story may sound --the happiness of two childhood sweethearts who seem destined for one another is threatened when the women of the village, angered by male indifference toward the water shortage, go on a sex strike that threatens the young couple's first night of love-- it's based on real events:
Director Veit Helmer read this story in Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper in 2001: The women in the southern Turkish village of Sirt want to force their husbands to repair the decrepit drinking-water pipes with a sex boycott. They had banned their husbands from their bedrooms about a month earlier after getting fed up with having to walk for kilometers to get potable water, reported Turkish newspaper “Hürriyet”. Most of the women took part in the boycott. They thus succeeded in getting the men to repair the pipes and ask the government for aid. “Our wives have the right to protest,” said the village elder Imbrahim Sari. “But we´re the ones who suffer.”
Helmer then spent four years looking for the right village to turn the story into a film: Continue reading "GOETHE FILMS: Absurdistan is Everywhere" »
Thursday, May 8. 2014
In a report on the shooting of “Absurdistan” the film is called a “silent film in esperanto”. In what genre do you categorize your third film?
For me, the charm of movie-making lies in the filmic narration, in finding images that convey emotions rather than putting words in the mouths of actors. The film thus becomes a universal art form.
What was the biggest challenge in the production process?
Azerbaijan hasn´t had a film infrastructure since the collapse of the Soviet Union. One year before the start of the shoot I gave workshops in order to teach Azerbaijan film students about how to work on set. The catering truck, stocked with 30,000 meters of film, took a week to get here from Germany. The team came from Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Iran, France, Germany. There was a Babylonian confusion of tongues on set.
Continue reading "GOETHE FILMS: Absurdistan is..." »