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2008 Audi Festival Of German Films

Author: Daniel Crichton-Rouse
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
3D’s Daniel Crichton-Rouse takes you through a brief history of German cinema and outlines some highlights from the upcoming Audi Festival of German Films.

They’ve changed the name but never fear the Audi Festival of German Films is still the same premier showcase of German cinema you’ve come to love, run by the Goethe Institut Australien.

Anyone who has studied film knows just how important German cinema has been to the film art form, particularly the early Expressionistic films that gave birth to the horror genre, such as the beautifully haunting The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; or the science fiction opus that has inspired practically everything since, Metropolis by Fritz Lang.

A new wave of strong directors emerged in the late ’70s/early ’80s, beginning with Volker Schlöndorff, whose The Tin Drum picked up both the 1978 Palm d’Or at Cannes and the 1979 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Following this, filmmakers such as Wolfgang Peterson (Das Boot, 1981), who went on to forge a prolific career in Hollywood, Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, the 1984 Palm d’Or winner) and Werner Herzog (most recently directing the English language Rescue Dawn, starring Christian Bale) went on to revitalise the German movement.

With the rise of German cinema on world screens, an even newer blood emerged at the end of last century; a more youth-driven, indie cinema, with Tom Tykwer’s 1998 thriller Run Lola Run the breakthrough hit. Following this, a string of hip films, including Goodbye Lenin! (2003) and The Edukators (2004), both starring Daniel Brühl, have brought a great deal of further attention to German cinema.

Then of course, there’s the Oscars. The winners of the last two Awards for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards have been German films, with The Lives of Others in 2007 and The Counterfeiters (technically it’s an Austrian film, but it’s German language) in 2008.

So without further adieu, here are a few picks from the 2008 Audi Festival of German Films:

And Along Come Tourists
Set in the town of Oswiecim, home to the remnants of Auschwitz Concentration Camp, And Along Come Tourists tells the story of a man serving a year of community service at Auschwitz to get out of his compulsory military service.

Border of Despair
In similar vein to The Lives of Others, Border Despair is set in the DDR before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and follows a woman’s attempt to protect her children from the Stasi. Based on a true story.

The Counterfeiters
As previously mentioned, this film picked up the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film at this year’s ceremony. The film fictionalises Operation Bernhard, a plan during the Second World War that saw the Nazis try and destabilise the United Kingdom by introducing a wave of forged Bank of England currency.

Naked
A unique film about three sets of friends, one going through a painful separation, and the other two wagering a bet that they can identify their partners whilst they’re blindfolded and their partners naked, only using their hands. Still with us-

The Edge of Heaven
From German/Turkish screenwriter and director Fatih Akin (Head On) comes this story of culture, politics and fate. Telling two simultaneous stories, one of a university professor, his father and his father’s relationship with a prostitute and the other of a Turkish political activist in a Lesbian relationship, disapproved by her mother. Was officially ‘In Competition’ at Cannes 2007.

Where Is Fred-

A politically incorrect farce about a construction worker (Fred) about to get married to a woman with an attention-seeking son. This son wants his basketball signed by his favourite player, but only disabled people get the ’graphs. So he enlists his father-to-be to pose in a wheelchair for the signature. It all seems to be going well until a film crew want to use Fred in a fan campaign…

WHEN: 16 – 27 April
WHERE: Chauvel Cinema and Palace Norton St
MORE: goethe.de/australia


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