4 items from 2015
“I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago” has become one of this year’s most anticipated German films.
The pic is based on the hugely successful book of the same name by Hape Kerkeling, a comedian, actor and singer whose film and television career spans more than two decades and who stands as one of Germany’s most beloved TV entertainers. The film is directed by Julia von Heinz and produced by Ufa Cinema. Sold internationally by Global Screen, it makes its market debut at Afm.
“I’m Off Then” traces Kerkeling’s existential crisis following a sudden hearing loss and a gall bladder operation, which led him to take a long break in 2001 and find physical and spiritual rehabilitation on a pilgrimage Spain’s famed path to Santiago de Compostela.
“This pilgrimage was the craziest, and at the same time most sensible, thing »
- Ed Meza
Now in its 9th year German Currents Festival of German Film is a fixture on the cultural calendar of Hollywood. Over the past years, thousands of audience members enjoyed Oscar-nominated German cinema, engaged in Q&As with top German talent, tasted German cuisine during the opening night gala and experienced contemporary German culture in the historical setting of the Egyptian Theater.
This year, German Currents will go beyond its regular film screenings, adding a pre-event on Oct. 5th with a screening of Sundance TV’s “Deutschland 83” followed by a Q&A with director Edward Berger and Golden Globe nominated composer Reinhold Heil. In addition, the festival will include a Tribute to Roland Emmerich and a Q&A with the filmmaker himself, added afternoon matinees throughout the weekend, the exhibit “Brilliant Dilletantes – Subculture in Germany in the 1980s” and a concert of the German Techno DJ, Westbam.
German Currents will also have its opening night red carpet event, followed by the film “We are Young, We are Free” (L.A. Premiere), plus Q&A’s with top German filmmakers, nightly screenings, including the Us Premiere of “B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin 1979 - 1989” and a free children’s morning screening of “The Pasta Detectives,” as well as a filmmaker brunch.
The festival takes place at: Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA – 90028
Tickets can be purchased Here.
Monday, Oct 5, 7:00 pm
“Deutschland 83” Screening and Panel Discussion German Currents Pre-Event Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, 5750 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036 Free Admission | RSVP required email@example.com
Pilot episode screening of the Sundance TV original series “Deutschland 83." A gripping coming-of-age story and spy thriller set in Germany in the 80’s. Divided Germany in 1983: during a peak period for Cold War tensions between East and West. Marting Rauch, a wide-eyed 24-year-old East German soldier plucked from obscurity, goes undercover as a West German soldier for the East German Secret Service. With Jonas Nay, Alexander Nay, Maria Schrader, Sonja Gerhardt. Following the screening will be a Q&A with director and Grimme Awardee Edward Berger and Golden Globe nominated composer Reinhold Heil, moderated by Thomas Mikusz.
Saturday, Oct 17, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
German Currents Pre-Event Reception and introduction to the Exhibition: “Brilliant Dilletantes- Subculture in Germany in the 1980’s”. 18th Street Art Center, 1639 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404 Admission is free with RSVP Here
Presented with the support of Dublab, DJ Michael Stock will provide an evening of music from the era.
Curated by Mathilde Weh, (Visual Arts, Goethe-Institut, Munich), this extensive multi-media exhibition includes a diverse selection of photos, posters, albums and cassettes, as well videos and interactive sound stations. Highlighting the work of the bands Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft/D.A.F. (Düsseldorf), Der Plan (Düsseldorf), Die Tödliche Doris (Berlin), Einstürzende Neubauten (Berlin), Freiwillig Selbstkontrolle/ F.S.K. (Munich), Ornament und Verbrechen (East Berlin), and Palais Schaumburg (Hamburg) as well as various artists, filmmakers and designers from West and East Germany, this exhibition presents the most comprehensive survey to date of this extraordinarily innovative subculture. The exhibition runs Oct 5th – Oct 23rd
Thursday, Oct 22nd, 7:00 pm (Gala Opening Night)
“We Are Young. We Are Strong” (“Wir sind jung. Wir sind stark”) Los Angeles Premiere Directed by Burhan Qurbani Germany (2014), 116 min, German with English subtitles
International Sales: Beta. No. America is available.
August of 1992. Three years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, anti-immigrant attacks targeting a refugee shelter on the outskirts of the former East German city of Rostock culminate in the notorious “Night of the Fire.” Following three days of violence, nearly 3,000 rioters, neo-Nazis and bystanders set fire to the shelter, trapping Vietnamese refugees and a group of journalists inside. Qurbani’s controversial film recounts the hours leading up the evening’s startling events as experienced by three very different characters: Lien, a young Vietnamese immigrant, caught in a struggle for survival; Stefan, an insecure youth, who, along with his friends participates in the night’s riots; and Stefan’s father Martin, an ambitious local politician torn between advancing his career by remaining silent, and standing up for his ideals, taking action to stop the riots. Qurbani meticulously recreates the look and feel of the era, when many East German cities struggled with unemployment and feelings of isolation from the West, exposing the complex issue of xenophobia in a country thought to have been healed by German reunification.With Devid Striesow, Jonas Nay, Trang Le Hong.
Director Burhan Qurbani is confirmed to attend.
Friday, Oct 23rd, 10:00am (Private screening for schools)
“The Pasta Detectives” (“Rico, Oskar und die Tieferschatten”) Los Angeles Premiere | Winner Best Children Film German Film Awards Directed by Neele Leana Vollmar Germany (2014), 96 min, German with English subtitles
20th Century Fox Germany Production. Watch for "The Pasta Detectives 2"
International Sales: Beta No. America is available.
At the heart of this adaptation of German author Andreas Steinhöfel’s wildly popular children’s book is ten-year-old Rico, the only child of a working-class single mother in Berlin. Although quick to describe himself as a “Lowly gifted child” who can’t tell his left from his right and whose thoughts often “rattle around in his head like balls in a bingo cage,” Rico is compassionate, observant, and makes the best of his short-comings. Often left on his own, Rico spends most of his time close to home or visiting the quirky tenants in his apartment building. One day Rico meets Oskar, a “highly gifted” younger boy who is obsessed with safety statistics and prone to wearing a helmet. Despite their differences, the two boys complement each other and become fast friends. When Oskar suddenly goes missing, Rico suspects a notorious local kidnapper “Mr. 2000” and sets out to find and rescue his new friend. With an emphasis on teamwork and friendship, Vollmar’s film is a fresh and endearing take on the classic “buddy-film” suitable for the whole family. With Anton Petzold, Juri Winkler, Katharina Thalbach.
Friday, Oct 23rd, 7:30 pm – Double Feature
“Jack” Los Angeles Premiere | Best Film: Silver German Film Awards Directed by Edward Berger Germany (2014), 103 min, German with English subtitles
International Sales: PIcture Tree. No. America is available.
Ten year old Jack (Ivo Pietzcker) is frequently left alone by his loving, but hopelessly incompetent young mother (Luise Heyer). Forced to care for himself and his six-year-old half-brother, Manuel (Georg Arms) for extended periods of time, Jack selflessly acts as the head of the household. When Manuel is accidentally injured, Jack is blamed and is placed in a long-term foster care facility, leaving Manuel with their mother. Lonely, homesick and bullied by other children, Jack decides to escape and head home to Berlin, only to find that what little order he had established has crumbled. Once again abandoned by their mother, the boys take to the streets on a desperate odyssey to find not only their mother, but a sense of stability. Co-written by Nele Mueller-Stöfen, Berger’s screenplay and precise direction coax refreshingly unaffected performances from the two child actors. Cinematographer Jens Harant’s camera provides essential gritty realism, capturing the city from the unique vantage point of the lonely boys. With: Ivo Pietzker, Luise Heyer, Georg Arms. Director Edward Berger is confirmed to attend.
Friday, Oct 23rd, 9:30 pm (approximately) – Double Feature
“Schmitke” Los Angeles Premiere Directed by Stepán Altrichter Germany (2014), 90 min, German and Czech with English subtitles
Like his once state-of-the-art “C 174” wind turbine, 57 year-old German engineer Julius Schmitke (Peter Kurth) is past his prime. No longer models of efficiency both creak and groan under the strain of their daily duties. A man of few words, Schmitke leads a banal, solitary life, but, intrigued by reports of a hermit, known as “Bear-Man” found living alone in the woods; Schmitke begins to dream of deep, dark forests. When a model C 174 breaks down outside a small Czech town on the German border, Schmitke and his slacker subordinate Gruber are sent to repair it. Here, the engineers encounter an odd assortment of townspeople, and the undeniable allure and danger of the impenetrable Ore Mountain forest. The next day, Gruber mysteriously vanishes and Schmitke is drawn to the woods. Katharina Grischkowski’s extraordinary sound design, contrasts the creaking of the C 174 with the eerie stillness of the forest, heightening the surreal atmosphere provided by Christian Pirjol’s haunting cinematography. Altrichter, who also co-wrote the screenplay, deftly balances the bizarre and the beautiful in this desolate, deadpan, comic mystery. With Peter Kurth, Johann Jürgens, Petr Vrsek.
Saturday, Oct 24th, 10:00am
“A Tribute to Roland Emmerich – from "The Noah’s Ark Principle" to "Independence Day" and "Stonewall” Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, 5750 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036 Free Admission | RSVP by Oct. 19th required: firstname.lastname@example.org This event is produced by Gaba – the German American Business Association
Roland Emmerich (Director/Writer/Producer) is one of the world’s most talented and sought-after directors. His career began in his native Germany. He studied film at the University of Television and Film Munich where his student film “The Noah’s Ark Principle“ went on to open the 1984 Berlin Film Festival. His body of work includes movies such as “Independence Day”, “Stargate”, “10,000Bc” and “White House Down”, to name just a few.
Emmerich recently wrapped “Independence Day: Resurgence”, the next epic chapter in the “Independence Day “universe. The original 1996 film redefined the event movie genre by shattering opening weekend and total box office records to become the first movie in history to gross over $500m internationally. The new film mixes a cast of new and familiar faces -- Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie User, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, and Judd Hirsh -- flashing forward 20 years when the nations of Earth must unite to protect the planet against the aliens' return and only a few brave men and women can bring the world back from the brink of extinction. Emmerich’s latest film, “Stonewall”, is a drama about the Stonewall Riots in 1969 New York, which sparked the Lgbt civil rights movement. The film stars Jeremy Irvine and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
In addition, to his work in film and television, Emmerich has made considerable contributions to many charities, including but not limited to the Cambodian Children’s Fund and the Los Angeles Lgbt Center. The Q&A will be moderated by journalist Dierk Sindermann.
Following the panel:
“Filmmaker Brunch” Following the “Tribute to Roland Emmerich” will be a filmmaker brunch at the Goethe Institute. Meet filmmakers and talent attending the festival while enjoying a continental breakfast by Downtown La’s Bier Beisl Imbiss This brunch is sponsored by German Consulate Los Angeles and Bier Beisl Imbiss
Saturday, Oct 24th, 5:30pm (Matinee)
“Who am I- No system is safe” (“Who am I- Kein System ist sicher”) Los Angeles Premiere | Bavarian Film Prize for Best Direction. Tiff 2014. Directed by Baran bo Odar Germany (2014), 110 min, German with English subtitles
International Sales: Trust Nordisk. No. America is available.
Young Berlin computer whiz-turned hacker Ben (Tom Schilling) feels more at home in the virtual world than he does in the real one. When the charismatic and revolutionary hacker Max (Elyas M’Barek) asks Ben to put his skills to use and “hack the world,” they form the collective “Clay” (Clowns Laughing At You). Instead of lofty political goals, the group shocks the world with humor and guerilla-like pranks. As the team’s popularity drives them to take bigger, bolder risks, they soon attract the attention of the German Secret Service. Just as Ben begins to feel like he finally belongs somewhere, he’s forced to figure out how to escape not only from his law enforcement pursuers, but his dangerous new friends. This stylish, surprising, and exceptionally timely fast-paced cyber thriller moves seamlessly between the real and the virtual, leaving the audience guessing long after the film is over. With Tom Schilling, Hannah Herzsprung, Elyas M’Barak.
Saturday, Oct 24th, 8:30pm
International Sales: Edel
An Essay-Film narrated by producer and musician Mark Reeder, B-Movie is a fast-paced collage of unreleased film and TV footage, photos, and original interviews compiled by Hoppe, Maeck, and Lange and dramatized scenes that illustrate Reeder’s account of the music, art and chaos in West Berlin of the 1980s. The walled-in city, which became a cultural inter-zone and creative melting pot for avant-garde sub- and pop- culture unlike anywhere else in Europe, attracted “brilliant dilettantes,” squatters, artists, musicians, and world famous celebrities alike. Reeder left Manchester, England for Berlin in 1979 and soon found himself at the center of this dynamic cultural hub, meeting and often working with legendary bands and artists. Including interviews and archival footage from Joy Division, Blixa Bargeld (Einstürzende Neubauten), Die Toten Hosen, Nick Cave, Gudrun Gut, Die Aerzte, Nena, Christiane F. and Westbam, B-movie offers an intimate portrait of the constantly changing cultural constellations of the city, from the Geniale Dilletanten, to the Love Parade, and ending with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Director Klaus Maeck and German DJ Westbam are confirmed to attend.
Saturday, Oct 24th, 11:00pm
DJ Westbam: Free Concert in the Egyptian Theater Courtyard
Hardly any DJ can look back on such a long and exciting career as Westbam, who since 1983 has provided the right music for the night for more than 15 million fans worldwide. A pioneer of DJ culture in Germany and Europe alike, Westbam was the first DJ in Germany to mix his own tracks rather than just play record after record, the first German DJ invited to play the big stages in the heyday of acid house in the UK, the first German DJ to sell over 2 million records, the founder of the first big rave event in Germany, the legendary “Mayday”, and the only DJ to have DJed at every “Loveparade,” producing every “Loveparade anthem” since. Featured in Jörg A.Hoppe, Klaus Maeck & Heiko Lange’s film "B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin 1979-1989," Westbam will perform live at the Egyptian Theatre following the film’s screening at the German Currents Film Festival. Please note: Ticket holders for the screening of “B-movie” receive priority admission to the concert. A Standby line for “concert only” begins after the box office closes for the screening at the Egyptian Theatre.
Sunday, Oct 25th, 4:00 pm (Matinee)
“Age of Cannibals” (“Zeit der Kannibalen”) Los Angeles Premiere | Prix Europe for Most Innovative Television Fiction Script. Berlin Ff 2014. Directed by Johannes Naber Germany (2013), 93 min, German and English with English subtitles
Cut-throat business consultants Öllers and Niederländer travel the world without ever really seeing it. In advising companies on how to ruthlessly maximize profits, the two have managed to insulate themselves from the dangerous locations where they conduct business by never leaving their various 5-star hotels. Models of ruthless efficiency, both hope to secure partnerships at their nameless company. When Bianca, a newly hired younger female colleague, is sent to assist in the negotiations, her constant critique of her colleagues’ unscrupulous behavior with clients and hotel staff alike is unsettling to the executives, who pride themselves on their ability to remain emotionally disconnected. Confined within the walls of their hotel, the protagonists reach grotesque extremes, accentuating the feel of a chamber play within Stefan Weigl’s screenplay. The perfectly directed darkly comedic performances offer critique of contemporary global economics. When the dangers of the outside world (experienced only through the occasional sounds of distant explosions or gunfire) find their way inside, the three models turn out to be incompetent. With Sebastian Blomberg, Devied Striesow, Katharina Schüttler.
Sunday, Oct 25th, 6:30 pm – Double Feature
“Dora or The Sexual Neuroses of our Parents” (“Dora oder die sexuellen Neurosen unserer Eltern”) Us Premiere. Berlin Ff 2015 Directed by Stina Werenfels Switzerland/ Germany (2013-2015), 90 min, German with English subtitles
International Sales: Wide
Mentally disabled Dora (Victoria Schulz) has spent much of her 18 years under psychotropic sedatives. When her mother, Kristin (Jenny Schily), decides to stop the medication, Dora’s world begins to open. Determined to experience the world, love, and sex, Dora enters into a relationship with an unscrupulous perfume salesman (Lars Eidinger) who is eager to take advantage of her newfound lust for life. Though Dora’s parents are horrified by her relationship and her eventual pregnancy, they must determine how to both protect their daughter as well as allow her to make her own choices as an adult. Lukas Strebel’s award winning innovative camerawork capture’s not only Dora’s transformation, but also her perspective through p.o.v. In adapting Lukas Bärfuss’ challenging play, director Stina Werenfels and co-writer Boris Treyer emphasize the perspectives and parallel struggles of both mother and daughter, examining broader issues of female sexuality, agency, and motherhood. With Victoria Schulz, Jenny Schily, Lars Eidinger. Director Stina Werenfels is confirmed to attend.
Sunday, Oct 25th, 8:30 pm (approximately) – Double Feature
John Gruber (Manuel Rubey) is the epitome of arrogance. In his mid-thirties, and living in his own world, he has it all; the right job, car, designer apartment in Vienna. In between business trips, nightclubs, and countless one-night stands, the dry-witted cynic has little left for anyone else, and this is just how he likes it. When he meets Berlin-based DJ Sarah (Bernadette Heerwagen), his self-styled world is turned on its head. For it is Sarah, who after their night together, reads him the diagnosis explaining that a tumor is to blame for his recent stomach problems. Gruber‘s superman facade quickly crumbles, sending him on a binge of drugs, alcohol and bar fights in an attempt to cope. With a new regimen of chemotherapy and a growing infatuation with Sarah, Gruber slowly begins to drop his guard. But will he really change? Kreutzer’s faithful adaptation of Doris Knecht’s best-selling novel is strengthened by Cinematographer Leena Koppe’s ability to capture Gruber’s darkly comical transition from cold and distant loner, to a man on a journey to find himself. With Manuel Rubey, Doris Schretzmayer, Ulrike Beimpold.
- Sydney Levine
'Downfall' movie: Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler 'Downfall' movie: Overlong and overwrought World War II drama lifted by several memorable performances Oliver Hirschbiegel's German box office hit Downfall / Der Untergang is a generally engrossing psychological-historical drama whose emotional charge is diluted by excessive length, an overabundance of characters, and a tendency to emphasize the more obvious aspects of the narrative. Several key performances – including Bruno Ganz's now iconic Adolf Hitler – help to lift Downfall above the level of myriad other World War II movies. Nazi Germany literally goes under In Downfall, which by the end of 2004 had been seen by more than 4.5 million German moviegoers, Nazi Germany is about to lose the war. In his underground bunker, Adolf Hitler (Bruno Ganz) grows increasingly out of touch with reality as he sees his dream of Deutschland über alles go kaput. Some of those under his command are equally incapable of thinking coherently. »
- Andre Soares
The topicality of “We Are Young. We Are Strong.” is hard to miss, which is a key reason why this worthy but over-obvious fictionalization of xenophobic riots in 1992 Germany will hit a nerve. Burhan Qurbani’s mostly black-and-white sophomore feature (after “Shahada”) is a by-the-book re-creation of the buildup to two nights of violent unrest in the eastern port city of Rostock, when Vietnamese immigrants became the target of disaffected residents unhappy with their own status in a recently unified Germany. Given current tensions with “the other in our midst,” the pic will undoubtedly gain traction at home following a late January opening. Euro screens may also beckon.
Like most areas of the former East Germany, Rostock suffered from a depressed economy and general malaise following the fall of the Berlin Wall, exacerbated by a not-unwarranted sense of alienation from the West. Qurbani’s strong suit is the way he captures the zeitgeist, »
- Jay Weissberg
4 items from 2015
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