Actor, director, writer, producer – Dominik Graf, who turns 60 later this year, is as versatile as few German filmmakers. The innovative trilogy Dreileben by Graf, Christoph Hochhäusler, and Christian Petzold was the event of last year’s Berlinale (and was subsequently shown at TIFF 2011).In the Face of Crime, which he wrote and directed and which premiered at the Berlinale 2010, will be continue our focus on “Berlin on Film” in our ongoing series GOETHE FILMS @ TIFF Bell Lightbox in May.
The son of two actors started out at the top: He received the Bavarian Film Award for his 1979 graduation film Der kostbare Gast at Academy for Television & Film and has amassed nine Grimme awards throughout the highs (Die Katze) and lows (Der Sieger) of his career. “I wasn’t happy with my own films. The Bavarian Film Award though was a huge –and unexpected—acknowledgment. After that I thought for the first time: Oh, perhaps you will be a director after all!? And still it took years before I liked to watch my own films,” he commented on the early years.
Graf’s thriller The Cat (1987) won him the German Film Award for Best Director. In the genre, he found his greatest successes. “I only like police thrillers. Okay, I can live with a private detective – but a thriller without an investigator leaves me cold. My hero is the one who searches for the truth. The darker the mirror he has to look into, the better the story. The detective has to find his own way out of the darkness.” is Graf’s recipe for success.
His influences came from the industry’s misfits and mavericks – directors such as Arthur Penn, Claude Sautet or Nick Roeg, about who he wrote a book ("Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen”, 2010). When asked what is good cinema, he replied: deviant, subversive, vicious, funny, lively, and please never dignified.
Recently, he has contributed to the celebrated collage Deutschland '09 - 13 kurze Filme zur Lage der Nation alongside Tykwer, Akin and others. For his contribution (Der Weg, den wir nicht zusammen gehen) Graf chose an intriguing and thoughtful mix of documentary and essay film to broach the issue of the disappearance and displacement of history through architectural examples. Already with his TV movie Bei Thea (1986), Graf had established himself as a sensitive director of films around German-Jewish issues. At this year’s Berlinale, he premiered his documentary Lawinen der Erinnerung about the late TV author Oliver Storz’s life from the last days of the Second World War to his recent death.
His next project as writer-director looks like a departure: The romantic history drama Die geliebten Schwestern about a pair of sisters who both fell in love with dramatist Friedrich Schiller in 1788 will start shooting this summer.
GOETHE FILMS @ TIFF Bell Lightbox: In the Face of Crime
Monday, May 7 (Part 1)
Thursday, May 10 (Part 2)
Thursday, May 14 (Part 3)
Written and directed by Dominik Graf. World premiere at the Berlinale 2010.
6:30pm each (doors open 6:10pm); Cinema 5, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto
Tickets $10 per night; day-of sales at the TIFF Box Office
With English subtitles
Open to audiences 18+
by Jutta Brendemühl, Goethe-Institut Toronto
Thursday, April 26. 2012
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