Festival of German Films 2012 – Review

I have spent the last week on a celluloid journey through Europe via the 2012 Festival of German Films presented by the Goethe Institut  in Sydney.

This year’s lineup included a range of Genres – psychological drama, historical,  children’s movies, comedy, even some Swiss horror. Something for everyone.

The Sydney screenings end tomorrow with special on-demand screenings of audience favourites happening next week. See 2012 Festival of German Films for details of these. If you’re in Perth or Canberra, the screenings start on May 3.

So far I have seen:

Wer wenn nicht wir (If not us, who?) Adres Veiel

This historico-political drama looks into the lives of 1960’s activists Gudrun Esslin and Bernward Vesper. The film sheds light on a generation of young Germans trying to deal with the weight of their country’s history post WWII.

We watch Vesper’s slide toward insanity while trying to overcome the legacy of his father (Noted Nazi Author Will Vesper).  Ensslin’s defiant nature and great intelligence lead her on a journey through the sexual and political revolution of the 1960’s.

You will enjoy this film if you enjoyed The Baader Meinhof Komplex as it provides an alternative aspect to the story.

Fenster Zum Sommer (Summer Window) Hendrick Handloegten

A psychological thriller with a distracted narrative reminiscent of Sliding Doors, Summer Window follows the journey of Finnish Born Juliane (Nina Hoss) as she finds her self traveling back in time and takes the opportunity to try to rectify past regrets and personal tragedies.

It’s a well written movie that keeps you guessing and forces you to think to keep up with its quick-change pace.

You’ll like this if you liked  Sliding Doors.

Das Blaue Vom Himmel (Promising the Moon) Hans Steinbichler

A family drama that focuses on the difficult relationship between mother, Marga (Hannelore Elsner) her daugher Sofia (Juliane Kohler). Sofia, a journalist, uses and opportunity to travel to Latvia, her birthplace, to report on political rallies. In the process she unearths a closet full of families skeletons and learns about the families difficult lives in Russian occupied Latvia.

Just when you think you’ve predicted the outcome of this movie, another dimension comes to light. It is an interesting insight into  guilt, remorse, survival and the effects they have on relationships and sanity.

Die Unsichtbare (Cracks in the Shell) Christian Schwochow

A psychological drama about a drama student trying to build a career while dealing with a difficult home situation. The film follows Josephine Lorenz’s dance with the dark side under the tutelage of a well known, unconventional director.

This film will inevitably draw comparisons with Black Swan, but the lead character and the cast of Die Unsichtbare have a gritty realism that is lacking in Black Swan.


Immigration Museum Melbourne

I only appreciate museums if I am passionate about the subject matter on offer and Melbourne’s Immigration Museum is all that. Immigration is a contentious topic in Australia and a visit to this museum puts things in context. The history of migration to Australia is well presented here, and it stands as a timely reminder to all non-indigenous Australians that we are all boat people.


The permanent displays recreate typical immigration experiences such as the post WWII ship cabin below. You can also partake in a virtual immigration interview, you choose the date. There are online stations that document all the stages and origins of immigrants to Australia that make fascinating reading.  A specialist library and information service is onsite to assist with research into anything immigration related.


The museum hosts regular guest exhibitions and at the time of my visit the harrowing tale of British child migrants was being told through On Their Own: Britain’s Child Migrants.

Address:400 Flinders Street Melbourne, VIC 3000

Further information is available at the Immigration Museum website.

Indie melbourne

Once I had satisfied my appetite at the Queen Vic markets it was time to move on to Melbourne’s indie heartland of Fitzroy.
The walk takes me through the Carlton gardens, home to the world heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building.


The IMAX and Melbourne museum next door provide a great architectural juxtaposition.


I wander up George street where I stumble across Pamela Bakes garage store Page Two, an eclectic treasure trove of second hand books with a bit of vintage jewelry thrown into the mix. I could have spent hours in this place. The books are in great condition and include rare, out of print titles. There’s not much Pam doesn’t know about books, so ask her!


I briefly visit the Centre for Contemporary Photography further down George Street. Works by NZ’s Yvonne Todd give business portraits new perspective in Wall of Man while Nicholas Mangan’s Some Kind of Duration uses a burnt out photocopier, projected images and industrial sounds to represent the demolition of the Pyrmont incinerator in Sydney

I continue on to Smith Street where I browse through Memorabilia on Smith, a shop packed to the rafters with just about anything you would want to hoard: figurines, comics, badges, signs, dolls, a large collection of football memorabilia and a set of laughing clowns (the type you feed with ping pong balls at a fair). I think just about anything you would hope to unearth would be found somewhere in this collection.

Next stop is at Monsieur Truffe Choclats fins in Smith Street for a chocolate fix of almond clusters with a hot chocolate chaser.

The walk back to town took in the lovely Fiztroy Gardens and the Treasury Gardens.





Sunday in Melbourne


A visit to the deli section of the Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne is one of life’s pleasures. The combined scent of ground coffee, cheese, salami and fresh pastry fills the air as you do your best to decide what’s on the menu for the day. Most of the family businesses here have been going for generations and there is a large range of produce from across the globe available to try.
I pace between stalls and watch the locals to get tips, after all, deciding what to eat is the hardest part of coming here. The Turkish borek stall is doing the swiftest trade, followed by the bratwurst place. As I’m not suffering from a hangover, I give the bratwurst a miss and toss up between the Burek at Drago’s or the all popular borek. Burek, Borek, what’s the difference? Not a lot, both have Turkish roots but Burek is the version popular in the former Yugoslavian countries while borek is Turkish. I decide to buck the trend and go for the Burek at Drago’s. Unlike traditional Burek, it is made in long rolls that are easy to eat on the go from a paper bag. I get the cheese and spinach. It is fresh, light and at $2, a bargain. I decide that one is never enough and head back for more.


Delights from around the world can be found at the Queen Vic



The Aussie Deli


It’s specialty … Yep, you guessed it


A coffee at the Queen Victoria Coffee Merchants is a great start to a Sunday