Tuesday, May 19. 2015
Continue reading "Margarethe von Trotta: Inequality in the minds" »
Friday, May 8. 2015
"Ulrich Tukur shines in HOUSTON, he is present in every scene, and his portrayal of a deeply torn character gives the film a psychological depth the audience has to fully take in.“ (kino-zeit.de)
"Tukur plays this worn-out, withdrawn man, whose face only seems to relax twice, with an astounding physical might and certainty.“ (SPIEGEL ONLINE)
Continue reading "GOETHE FILMS: Ulrich Tukur in HOUSTON" »
Friday, May 8. 2015
Just email me until May 10 for your chance to win one double pass (only the winners will be notified).
As a reminder, here's my review from half a year ago and our Goethe Directors Talk with Petzold & Hoss :
Delving into our troubled past is a favourite subject for Germany’s leading filmmakers. Of late, German art-house directors have been moving beyond the GDR and the Stasi: to Germany immediately after World War II, with echoes of the Holocaust. Not a new wave but an older theme revisited, compare Fassbinder’s BRD Trilogy.
Berlin 1945. Christian Petzold is back at TIFF, after the lasting impression he left here with “Barbara” and "Jerichow". In this world premiere of “Phoenix” he reunites top actors Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld in another story of a fiercely determined woman — and the deeply divided society to which she belongs — caught between a tragic past and an uncertain future.
I am normally not one to easily suspend my disbelief, especially when it comes to historical material, but here the magic works (give it 10 minutes at the beginning). Continue reading "Toronto, WIN "Phoenix" passes " »
Wednesday, May 6. 2015
Celebrated German documentary filmmaker Marc Bauder will be the seventh German director the Goethe-Institut is bringing to Toronto this year.
Before his free live Goethe Director's talk on June 5, we will show "the best movie on the financial crisis" (Die Zeit) and European Film Award winner -- Bauder's documentary "Master of the Universe", where former top investment banker Rainer Voss gives unprecedented insights into the insanity that led to the ongoing global financial crisis.
What did he take away from making this film? As Marc Bauder said in this interview with the Zurich Film Festival Daily: "Start asking questions!" Continue reading "GOETHE FILMS: Master of the Universe" »
Monday, May 4. 2015
Devid Striesow was named Best Actor by the German Film Critics Association in 2003 to honor his performance as the bullying older brother Max in BUNGALOW, as well as his role of Ingo, the ambitious mattress salesman, in Hans-Christian Schmid's DISTANT LIGHTS. Other prominent and diverse credits include Tykwer’s THREE, Hirschbiegel's DOWNFALL and Graf’s THE RED COCKATOO. East-German born Striesow studied at Berlin’s prestigious Ernst Busch School of Performing Arts, where he graduated in 1999 together with Fritzi Haberlandt and Nina Hoss. Since 1999, he has regularly performed in major theatres across Germany, which gained him the Theater Heute Award and the Alfred Kerr Prize. He is currently starring in Burhan Qurbani’s much lauded WIR SIND JUNG. WIR SIND STARK, and we are about to show him in Johannes Naber ‘s AGE OF CANNIBALS in our current GOETHE FILMS @ TIFF Bell Lightbox series, May 5.
Here is praise for Striesow in YELLA:
"The role of Philipp is a new high power performance by Devid Striesow.“ -- Abendzeitung Munich
"With how much coolness and at the same time metered warmth Devid Striesow --currently the unrivaled chameleon among German actors-- turns the lost woman Yella into his colleague, collaborator, and lover -- that is cinematic magic: for the head, for the heart, and for the funny bone.“ --Tagesspiegel Berlin
Continue reading "GOETHE FILMS: Devid Striesow in AGE OF CANNIBALS" »
Thursday, April 30. 2015
We have a winner: Best German Film so far goes to "Age of Cannibals", the German edition of “The Wolf of Wall Street” and the film with the most buzz in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino (Perspective German Cinema).
Two men on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and one young woman less so. "Someone has to do it" -- the eternal excuse of the consulting class — doesn't cut it when it comes to justifying the actions of the three consultants (all great actors, effectively directed by Johannes Naber), who travel the world in the name of capitalism. Continue reading "Berlinale 2014 REVIEW: Age of Cannibals" »
Monday, April 27. 2015
Email me until May 1 for your chance to win a pair of tickets to either of our three film nights:
Coming up right here over the next days: photo blog on actors Devid Striesow in AGE OF CANNIBALS & Ulrich Tukur in HOUSTON; MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE director Marc Bauder's video message, and my Berlinale 2014 review of AGE OF CANNIBALS.
Friday, April 24. 2015
The topic remains strangely controversial, with the German government, among others, mincing words this week until often outspoken German President Joachim Gauck pushed Chancellor Merkel and her coalition government to change their language from "massacre" (as the BBC Twitter feed still calls it) to Völkermord, genocide, when commemorating its 100th anniversary today.
Fatih Akin travelled back a century for his film and crossed continents to portray one family. In 1915 a man survives the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, but loses his family as well as his speech (the film is largely silent). One night he learns that his twin daughters may be alive and goes on a quest to find them. Continue reading "The Cut: Fatih Akin & Armenia" »
Friday, April 17. 2015
Jutta Brendemühl: Maria, your films often revolve around damaged characters, women who won’t conform, won’t live up to external expectations, won’t play by “the rules". Like Rita, the obstinate young mother in MADONNAS, played by the spectacular Sandra Hüller, or Ines in your recent DAUGHTERS, portrayed as petulant yet vulnerable by Kathleen Morgeneyer. What attracts you to showing contemporary women in complex social and private circumstances?
Maria Speth: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” (Kant) The crooked is part of human nature; part of nature in general. An attempt to make things straight is only possible to a limited extent. The crookedness then leads to defiance, non-conformity and vitality.
JB: Your characters are far from “nice” or easily likeable. Still, one walks away thinking if not caring about them. Continue reading "Maria Speth Retrospective: (En)Gendering Precarity" »
Monday, April 13. 2015
It was only four years later, in 2007, that a group of American journalists blew Alwan’s cover, blaming him for the drawn-out war. But Alwan shows no remorse. To this day he takes pride in his role as the man who helped oust Saddam Hussein.
Continue reading ""War of Lies": a conspiracy of silence" »
Monday, April 13. 2015
"I often find a starting point for my compositions in the accidental recordings of a film's raw footage and research materials: a noise, a buzzing sound, a sentence in a language I don't speak but that touches a string. With these two films, it was the main characters' faces that got me started. Continue reading "Doc Music: "Waves“, "Censored Voices“..." »
Thursday, April 9. 2015
Jutta Brendemühl: In Toronto this spring, you will be showing your 2013 short film “Playing Ball”, filmed at the historic abandoned Michigan Theater in Detroit. Why Detroit, and what was your particular perspective on the space?
Corinna Schnitt: I am really interested in public and urban spaces in general, how a place was meant to be used and how differently it actually might be used in the end. Detroit is a city that really interests me. In this case the theatre has been used as a parking garage since the 70s. I like this pragmatic social solution: There is lack of parking and no demand for a theatre (that was build back in the years of silent movies with space for a whole orchestra).
JB: “Playing Ball” could be a documentary -- if it wasn’t for a man and a woman, dressed for work, playing basketball in the space. Why anchor —or dislocate— these (already curiously staged) protagonists in a theatre-turned-parking lot? What is the interplay between architecture and social action in your work?
CS: Looking around the theatre, I found a basketball net. Continue reading "Whispering to flowers: video artist Corinna..." »
Monday, March 30. 2015
The world premiere of POSSESSED BY DJINN by the Jordanian-Palestinian film-maker Dalia Al-Kury (DE/JO), who investigates a controversial and little known aspect of Islamic culture: the belief in djinn, is programmed in the World Showcase. ORIGINAL COPY by Florian Heinzen-Ziob and Georg Heinzen will have its world premiere in Screen to Screen. The first feature-length documentary by Florian Heinzen-Ziob is about Mumbai's last movie poster artist and his struggles to pass on his legacy to the next generation.
A world or international premiere at the IDFA in Amsterdam, Europe's largest documentary festival, and a North American premiere at the Hot Docs in Toronto - that's something no less than three German films and co-productions have managed this year. Two of them are graduation films from the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg: Continue reading "12 German films at Hot Docs 2015" »
Wednesday, March 25. 2015
BELTRACCHI - THE ART OF FORGERY is a highly entertaining feature documentary film about the greatest European art forgery scandal in post-war history. It shows the painter Wolfgang Beltracchi doing what he considered his profession: forgery. Beltracchi’s paintings are not copies, however. They were invented by him yet could clearly be assigned to a particular artist. No galleries, no experts had any doubts of their authenticity and they made Beltracchi rich. He finally made the mistake that blew his cover.
BELTRACCHI - THE ART OF FORGERY was directed by Arne Birkenstock (SOUND OF HEIMAT – GERMANY SINGS!, 12 TANGOS – ADIOS BUENOS AIRES), who received the German Film Award in Gold for the “best children’s feature” for his 2011 film CHANDANI – DAUGHTER OF THE ELEPHANT WHISPERER. Arne Birkenstock was born in Siegen in 1967 and studied economics, politics, history and Romance philology in Cologne, Buenos Aires and Córdoba. His father was Beltracchi’s defence attorney.
Here's the director on the unique circumstances of creating this documentary:
How long have you known the Beltracchis?
Wolfgang and Helene Beltracchi were in custody for one and a half years before their trial and they were sentenced in the fall of 2011. I didn’t meet them until after that.
How were you able to shoot with the Beltracchis; aren’t they still in prison?
Following their sentencing, Wolfgang and Helene Beltracchi were let out of jail for about three months and then began their open prison sentence. That means that although they spent the night in prison, they were permitted to work outside it during the day. It was during this time that the film was made with them.
Continue reading ""Beltracchi - The Art of Forgery"..." »
Friday, March 13. 2015
"As we are traveling we adjust our perspective on things, places and people. Traveling allows us to reevaluate our preconceptions, our past and current standpoints. It forces us to speak new languages - both in words and in image production.
In my videos I like to generate humour by presenting discrepancies between imagined and factual realities. But despite the humour, I am seriously trying to find out how we imagine things ... and based on what? Continue reading "#MOVEON #MediaArt: Isabell Spengler" »