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.

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