Hamburg Film Fest Offers Glimpse at 2008 Program


More than 140 international feature and documentary films are celebrating their German, European or world premiere in altogether eight sections at the 16th Filmfest Hamburg. The many facets of the program range from cinematically highbrow arthouse films to innovative mainstream cinema, from road movies to melodrama, from comedies and westerns to thrillers and children’s films. Filmfest Hamburg presents the debut films of young German and international filmmakers alongside films by famous and infamous directing giants of international cinema.

Academy Award winners such as Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster and Michael Moore, arthouse filmmakers such as Aki Kaurismäki, Jim Jarmusch, Peter Greenaway and Wim Wenders, Dogma-founder Lars von Trier and German directors such as Fatih Akin, Ayse Polat and Oliver Hirschbiegel represent the festival’s entire – and often controversial – artistic plenitude.

In 2008, Filmfest Hamburg will launch the following sections: Agenda 08, ‘Northern Lights’, Vitrina, Voilà!, ‘Made-for-TV Movies in the Cinema’. Also in the CinemaxX Dammtor, the children’s and youth film festival will present itself under the new name ‘Michel Kinder- und JugendFilmfest’ under the direction of Hajo Schäfer. The 2008 Hamburg Film Fest will take place from September 25th through October 2nd. For more information please visit

A look at the first films:
Agenda 08
“Berlin Calling”, Hannes Stöhr, Germany
Electro composer Martin (Paul Kalkbrenner) from Berlin, aka DJ Ickarus, tours the international club scene with his girlfriend and manager Mathilde (Rita Lengyel): stress, jet-lag, raves, drugs, permanent high tension. Just before the release of his new album, Ickarus is admitted to the drug emergency room in a psychiatric clinic, where Dr. Petra Paul (Corinna Harfouch) urges him to take a break! But Ickarus fails to turn his back on life in the fast lane… Director Hannes Stöhr, who discovered the acting qualities of internationally renowned DJ Paul Kalkbrenner in this vibrating, musical film, says of “Berlin Calling”: “It was always our vision to make a film about art & insanity, love, the daily struggle for survival, relationships, friends, family, hope, the future, the present, buzzes & the ecstatic, Berlin.”
The film is celebrating its world premiere on the Piazza Grande at the Festival internazionale del film Locarno. In Hamburg there will be a premiere party in the club “Übel und Gefährlich” within the framework of the Reeperbahnfestival, featuring DJ Paul Kalkbrenner himself on the decks. The German cinema release date is 02.10.2008.

“Pazar – Der Markt” (“The Market – A Tale of Trade”), Ben Hopkins, Germany/Great Britain/Kazakhstan/Turkey
“The Market – A Tale of Trade” tells the story of merchant Mihram, who ekes out a living with dodgy black market dealings in his village in Eastern Turkey. When he is offered a job involving the acquisition of expensive, illegal medicine at high prices, he senses a great opportunity. With luck he can build up the business he has been dreaming of for years. But luck is not predictable…
In his pleasurable documentary “37 Uses for a Dead Sheep”, British director Ben Hopkins worked with amateur actors, a practise that he successfully repeats in “The Market – A Tale of Trade”. A modern tale of dubious trading, money and the local mafia, i.e. the very complex world of the international black market. “The Market – A Tale of Trade” is running in the official competition of the Festival internazionale del film Locarno. The German cinema release date is 20.11.2008.

“Of Time and the City”, Terence Davies, Great Britain
“Children”, “Madonna and Child” and “Death and Transfiguration” were the titles of Terence Davis’ three short films of 1984, subsumed under the “Terence Davies-Trilogy”. In this trilogy the exceptional British director dealt with his deeply sad childhood – and its dark, compellingly magical images formed his unmistakeable style. “Of Time and the City” sees him return to his hometown of Liverpool and to his roots as a filmmaker. He traces the city’s atmosphere, that of today and that of the 1940s and 50s, when he was growing up.
“Of Time and the City” thus becomes not only an iconographic and musical dictionary, but an emotional work of nostalgia and longing. One often longs for that which one despises, that which one fled at an earlier time. Not a documentary, but a poem of images. A filmic love-song for Liverpool – and a funeral eulogy at the same time. Filmfest Hamburg shows the first film by Terence Davies in eight years, one of “the most remarkable and most innovative author-directors in Europe” (Blickpunkt Film).

Focus Diversity and Unity
“Adhen”, (“Dernier Maquis”), Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, France/Algeria (Voilà!)
At the Berlinale 2002, “Wesh Wesh” by Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, a study of violence in immigrant ghettos around Paris, was awarded the Wolfgang-Staudte-Preis for Best Film in the section “Internationales Forum des Jungen Films”. While that film focussed on the life of foreigners in the fields of tension around high-rise housing estates and violence, “Adhen” is about the confrontation of modern capitalism and religion.
Ameur-Zaïmeche plays the part of Mao, owner of a palette factory in an industrial zone outside Paris. In an attempt to emphasize the relationship between work and devotion to Allah, Mao wants to build a mosque for his employees. Easier said than done, as the mutual religion does not succeed in bridging the cultural and regional differences between the Arab workers, which often escalate to open violence.

“Bonjour Sagan”, (“Sagan”), Diane Kurys, France
The film “La vie en rose”, about chanson-singer Edith Piaf, marked the beginning – now another filmic monument is being raised to a French icon: writer and bestselling author Françoise Sagan (1935 – 2004). Sagan (played by Sylvie Testud, known in Germany as the French au pair in “Punktchen and Anton” or as Lara in “Beyond Silence”) was the literary wunderkind of the grande nation; she wrote her worldwide success “Bonjour Tristesse” (1954) when she was but 18 years old, and many films have been made after her novels, including “Aimez-vous Brahms?” (1959) and “De guerre lasse” (1985). The film portrays a ruptured personality, torn between conformity and rebellion, between drug addiction and a will for freedom, between loneliness and a yearning for love. The film was much celebrated by French audiences and critics alike. The German cinema release date is 08.01.2009.

“Tatort: Auf der Sonnenseite” (literal translation: “Site of Crime: On the Sunny Side”), Richard Huber, Germany
Filmfest Hamburg presents Mehmet Kurtulus as a new Tatort-superintendent from Hamburg. The world premiere sees him working on his first case in the role of Cenk Batu, as the only undercover Tatort-superintendent to date. He is a soloist, who takes on false identities to solve his cases.
Detective chief superintendent Cenk Batu (Mehmet Kurtulus) has been working for months on a risky undercover mission, inspecting the seemingly respectable businessman Petermann. At this moment, of all times, his superior Uwe Kohnau (Peter Jordan) sends him to hospital. In the guise of a Turkish petty thief he is to make contact with the uncle of knife-wounded 20-year-old Deniz. Officially, Tuncay Nezrem is a restaurant proprietor and wholesale merchant – unofficially, he is an up-and-coming clan ruler. Batu earns his trust, but suddenly Petermann appears on the scene…
Succinct images introduce a team of intensely acting agents, required to meet unnoticed in public places. Here the Hanseatic City is displayed in all its facets.

Michel Kinder- und JugendFilmfest (Children’s and Youth Film Festival)
“Mutum”, Sandra Kogut, France/Brazil
10-year-old Thiago lives with his family in the Brazilian backcountry.
In Mutum, their village, there is no television, no cinema and there are no cars. The villagers ride horses or go on foot. Thiago and his little brother and only friend Felipe live and play in their very own world, a mixture of inventive imagination and the harsh reality of the adult world.
When Felipe injures himself while playing, Thiago needs to be very brave.
“Mutum” is an extraordinarily authentic, semi-documentary feature film about a countryside and its inhabitants, who themselves took part in the development of this moving story alongside the actors and lay actors.
“Mutum” is Sandra Kogut’s first full-length feature film, which has been awarded prizes and honors at film festivals all over the world.


About Author

Christopher P. Duffy

Leave A Reply