2 items from 2016
A dynamic improvisational film movement in Germany has in the past few years grown from a niche genre to a near-mainstream phenomenon — just don’t call it mumblecore.
While generally described as a German version of the now-dated U.S. indie movement, filmmakers and actors here prefer “improvisational film.” There are some similarities: Initially led by young filmmakers, many of them graduates from the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf near Berlin, it’s characterized by low-budget production values, relationship stories and an eschewal of script, but also by collaboration with actors trained in improvisation and an emphasis on humor.
After generating a great deal of critical acclaim domestically and on the festival circuit, it has begun to infiltrate the mainstream, both in film and television.
- Ed Meza
Man’s best friend isn’t his dog but his addiction in “Alky Alky,” a pleasingly original comedy from the same collaborators behind “Heavy Girls” and “Reuber.” Neatly balancing absurdism and bittersweet reality, this offbeat German angle on alcoholism has a key fantasy aspect that takes some time revealing itself. Fest-circuit praise could help boost it toward deserved offshore niche sales, primarily in home formats.
Things aren’t quite what they seem when we first meet rotund, middle-aged architect Tobias (Heiko Pinkowski). He appears to be involved in a unique domestic menage with slightly younger doppelganger DeBottle, aka Flasche (Peter Trabner), that the former’s adoring wife Anika (Christina Grobe) and their three kids (played by Pinkowski’s actual offspring) cheerfully tolerate. Even when he ought to be tending the marital bed, Tobias is usually lured out for yet another night’s carousing with DeBottle. The two men appear to share everything — in particular, »
- Dennis Harvey
2 items from 2016
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