The 5th Annual GERMAN CURRENTS Festival of New Films from Germany


The 5th Annual GERMAN CURRENTS Festival of New Films from Germany plays October 26th through 30th, 2011 at the Egyptian Theatre and Aero Theatre. The series is presented by The Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, German Films and The American Cinematheque in collaboration with MFG Film Funding Baden-Wuerttemberg and Lufthansa. The venerable list of sponsors include PORSCHE Beverly Hills, Friends of Goethe, ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America) and Standard Hotel Hollywood.

Once again, the annual GERMAN CURRENTS brings the best of recent German films to Los Angeles. The line-up includes “Stopped on Track” by Andreas Dresen, winner of the “Un Certain Regard”–award at Cannes, the RAF drama “If Not Us, Who” by Andres Veiel and “The Look” a documentary about film icon Charlotte Rampling, directed by Angelina Maccarone. “Sleeping Sickness”, “Jasmin”, “Westwind” and “The Day I Was Not Born” introduce remarkable new talents and affirm a smart and thoughtful approach to filmmaking blossoming in Germany.  Don’t miss “Almanya”, directed by Jasemin Samdereli, a wacky German-Turkish comedy and a hit with German audiences and the spunky coming-of -age drama Lollipop Monster. This year’s children’s matinee is the family movie “Winter’s Daughter” plus the Oscar nominated short “The Gruffalo”.  A weekend panel of Industry experts will discuss the various possibilities of getting your movie funded in Germany.

“Alamaya”, Yasemin Samdereli’s humanist road picture, co-wrote with her sister Nesrin Samdereli recalls “Il Postino” in some flourishes but has an upbeat freshness of approach all it’s own. Six-year-old Cenk Yilmaz is teased at school about being neither German nor Turkish. Troubled by his teacher’s question, he asks his extended family, “Are we Germans or Turks?” Three generations set off for Anatolia in search of their roots in this charming crowd pleaser which avoids some of the harsher realities of the immigrant experience.

When guest worker (“Gastarbeiter”) grandfather Huseyin Yilmaz (Vedat Erincin) first arrived in Germany, he was welcomed as “millionth-and-first guest worker.” He’s the proud patriarch of four assimilated grown kids, a pregnant granddaughter (no one knows) and the adorable Cenk (Rafael Koussouris). He’s raised a thoroughly modern European family, Uncle Veli’s facing a divorce, Uncle Muhamed’s been out of work, Aunt Leyla (Siir Eloglu) a secret smoker, has no idea her 22-yaer old daughter Canan is pregnant with her Brit boyfriend. Cenk’s father Ali (Denis Moschitto) married the requisite German blond beauty Gabi (Petra Schmidt-Schaller).

While questions of identity become the topic of conversation at a family dinner, Huseyin decides to take the whole family to visit the land he bought years ago in Anatolia. Cenk’s cousin Canan tells him the story of his Grandparent’s arrival in Germany. Imaginative young Cenk visualizes his adventures. Comic scenes framed as picture postcards flash by as in a slide projector. Sequences of their early years in Germany take a comic approach. Ethnic and linguistic misunderstandings are milked for their gently comic potential as the film gracefully weaves from past to present.  Samdereli makes the interesting subjective choice of having the Germans speak gibberish, while the new immigrants speak fluent German.

The young couple arrives in Germany with two children, who suspect the Dachshunds they see being walked in the street, are rats on a leash. In one scene the young children try to explain Christmas rituals to their confused mother. (How do you explain that Germans eat Christ every Sunday?) Fahri Ögün Yardim plays the young Hüseyin Yilmaz. Demet Gül plays the young Fatma Yilmaz. Samdereli keeps the pace moving like a TV vet and assuring that if one joke fails to please the next will land. Grandfather Huseyin and grandmother Fatma (Lilay Huser); finally get proper citizenship and passports. Huseyin’s dream sequence about the Authorities smacks of sit com inventions.  They are ordered to watch “Ttort” every Sunday, eat pork, join a shooting club and spend every second summer vacation on Majorca, announces the stamp wielding Immigration Officer.

This is TV-writer (“Turkish for Beginners”) Samdereli’s first feature and she has assembled a polished package. Amusing black and white archival film and television clips play during the credit sequences, making their sly points. DP turned director Jan Fehse turns in a solid psychological drama. His second feature, “Jasmin”, hangs on two actors in a tense mano-a mano or should I say womano-a womano? ) Christian Lyra’s fictional script, based on a true story he discovered in the library of a Psychiatric hospital,

Set in claustrophobic hospital conference room for all but a few short sequences, the film capitalizes on the story of a mother who planned to kill her three children, then herself but survived the suicide. Forensic specialist Dr. Feldt (Wiebke Puls) is evaluating 24-year-old   Jasmine (Anne Shepherd) who killed her three-year-old daughter Franziska. Feldt’s writing a report about her mental state and culpability, presumably for trial. She interviews Jasmine for four days, revealing, through layers of memory, a provocative inner journey. Both characters push at each other as faced with the horror of the killing of a child, they attempt to plumb Jasmine’s suppressed memories and parse the unimaginable. Vet stage actresses Anne Shepherd and Wiebke Puls bring emotional resources to a film that could have easily seemed like a play on film. A straightforward, unadorned camera (actually seven simultaneous cams) peers into every emotional nuance in Jasmin’s reluctantly told account of a live rife with fear, abuse and seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Jasmin’s mother, a busy housewife, had little time for her. Her beloved father became her playmate. At seven, young Jasmin woke next to her dead playmate father and thought he was ‘Playing.’ Untreated traumas lead to poor choices. A high school dropout, she traveled with her older musician boyfriend’s band. When her next lover, the father of her child, abandoned them, his addicted sister took them in and babysat Franziska, so that Jasmin could open a cafe. But Franziska, chronically ill with a hole in her heart, changed all of Jasmin’s future plans. You will remember these two women and their quiet, harrowing interview.

Robert Thalheim captures young love, set against some very specific socio-political challenges, in his breezy summer film “Westwind”. Set a year before the Wall came down, Thalheim’s tale captures the atmosphere of the summer of 1988. His cast, including newcomers
Louise Heyer and Friederike Becht are fun to watch. It’s 1988. Taking a Socialist vacation at the Pioneer Camp at Lake Balaton In Hungary (meant to cement friendships between Hungary and the GDR), East German twin athletes Isabel (Louise Heyer) and Doreen (Friederike Becht) dally in a music store, miss their bus, and hitch a ride with West Germans Arne (Franz Dinda) and Nico (Volker Bruch) from Hamburg. The competitive rowers blend in with their campmates until the Boys from Hamburg crash the camp and invite the twins to a party. Worried about the rules against fraternization and western contacts, campers tell them to leave, but eventually join in a game of ball.

Arne asks the girls to meet them at the Metropole Disco.  “What’s it like?” “Imagine Ronald Reagan having a private party but Gorbachev’s the DJ” he jokes, winning over the curious girls. The camp director warns them they are risking their future a career fraternizing. “Sign off with me if you want to leave, understand” he warns, intent on training the young athletes for competition in the upcoming International Games.

Sneaking out from the pioneer camp after curfew they risk discovery to meet the two boys. Love of shared music does its trick and soon Doreen and Arne start a serious romance. Arne proposes a way for the inseparable twin sisters to escape from the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Based on a true story. A score including Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again by The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love” must have cost a pretty penny. Production design by Susanne Abel, set decoration by Nancy Vogel and costume design by Nadine Kremeier add to an attractive period package.

Ulrich Köhler’s dreamlike “Sleeping Sickness”, a Neo-Liberal Colonial drama, follows cynical Dr. Ebbo Velten  (Pierre Bokma), who runs a medical clinic in Yaounde, Cameroon, hoping to eradicate sleeping sickness.  He’s grumpy with his wife and daughter and racist to his staff. A career vet, he’s become adept at avoiding the local, hustles and system of bribery.

Wife Vera (Jenny Schily), bonds with daughter Helen (Maria Elise Miller), back ‘home”on a visit from school in Germany, who estranged from her father, treats him to  sarcastic critique’s of his “missionary” work. Happily Kohler avoids polemics or predictable colonial satire, trusting the audience to sort out their feelings about his protagonist. The early scenes, bare of exposition give us time to sort out the pieces. At a local meeting, Velten the NGO and local doctors discuss funding cuts. Bsed on local statistics the epidemic is ‘Under control” and teh two year pilot program is coming to an end. Aggravated Camaroon doctors plead for more money. the NGO types accuse them of diverting funds. Velten’s family return to Europe. Velten has to wait until his superiors at the funding NGO recall him. You begin to sense that frustration with the system eroded his original good intentions, and that his harsh treatment of the loacals is his incoate way of working out his loss of innocence.

Three years pass. Neo-Liberal Velten addresses a European boardroom. Citing corruption and the financial skimming of foreign aid to developing African countries he counsels, let the Market fix Africa’s woes. In other words, let the World Bank’s machinations and the IMF’s sanctions impoverish the developing nations and exploit them as client states. Young, idealistic Dr. Alex Nzila (Jean-Christophe Folly), of the World Health Organization (WHO) is appalled. He’s assigned to report on Dr.Velten’s. clinic. Once there, the black Frenchman is scorned as an African. None of the locals will cooperate. Facing their own internal colonization (as defined by Fanon), they simply don’t trust “one of their own.”

Ironically, Alex feels no attachment to his parents Congolese background. Gay, urbane Alex has a lot to adapt to. He has to sleep in mosquito netting and piss in a bottle.  He’s abandoned at the airport. A market vender “cheats’ him over cigarettes.‘Many things can depress you in a third world country” says Alex, explaining the corrupt taxi drivers and omnipresent street vendors. Alex’s European discomfort with the Cameroon life style, unleashes Velten’s own fears about trying to re-assimulate in Europe. Eccentric Velten leaves the clinic.. Unpracticed Dr. Nzila’is forced to deliver a C-section infant while another doctor talks him through the procedure on the phone.  Velten reappears wide eyed and crumpled from the surrounding jungle.

As Nzila attempts to evaluate Dr. Velten’s disease eradication program, we sense he’s beginning the transformation from idealist to cynic that Velten experienced.  Corrupted like Colonel Kurtz in Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, ‘helping a little’ is the best he can hope for. We discover Velten’s fathered a child with a local woman. He’s assumed a cracked form of ‘White man’s burden,” twined in a love hate relationship with his local status. Velten longs to go back. In fact, he’s manipulted Nzila, hoping he’ll suggest  closing the clinic. The expressive troubling final hunting sequence, shot in Patrick Orth’s amazing night cinematography and rife with distant gunshots, seems to mirror the two main character’s confusion. Orth’s daylit shots of the jungle feel like a threatening waking dream, inducing a form of walking sleeping sickness on the viewer. Velten has a melt down, like Colonel Kurtz  and Nzila’s, his Marlowe, sent to retrieve him from the jungle, can only look on. “The horror, the horror.”

Winner of the Silver Bear at Berlin. Köhler, whose parents were Aid Workers, was raised in the Congo.

Documentarian Andres Veiel (“Black Box BRD”) enters the crowded field of biopics about Red Army Faction figures-Margarethe von Trotta’s1981″ Die bleierne Zeit” ( “Marianne and Juliane”), “Baader” (2002), and the 2008 “The Baader Meinhof Complex” with “If Not Us, Who?”, winner of the Alfred-Bauer-Preis at this year’s Berlinale. It also picked up the Prize of the Guild of German Arthouse Cinemas. Set in the late 1940’s, the early 1960’s, and the Protests of 1968. Veiel reminds us that it’s barely 20 years since the Nazis. His fact-laden film avoids  the confusing glamorization of “The Baader Meinhof Complex.”

Gudrun Ensslin (a strong perf by Lena Lauzemis) a character sidelined in “The Baader Meinhof Complex”, starts  a passionate affair with Bernward Vesper, son of Will Vesper (Thomas Thieme), an infamous Nazi poet ( and one of Hitler’s favorites).

Ensslin’s coming -of-age is captured in every nuance by TV actress Lauzemis, as she takes us through the transformation from wide -eyed student to ruthless revolutionary, bringing logic to her every sexual impulse.

Flashbacks show young Bernward (Jonas Haemmerle) traumatized by his father shooting his pet cat for hunting mockingbirds. Bernward argues that he could have controlled the cat Vesper Sr, patiently explains, ” “Cats don’t belong here. They’re from the East, the Animal Kingdom’s Jews”.

Attempting to resolve his confused feelings grown Bernward (August Diehl) and girlfriend Gudrun Ensslin open a publishing house, republish his father’s work and tout it in far right press circles, infuriating her father.
Soon they’ve switched political sides an throw themselves into radical leftist politics.

They break all the rules, live together, then share a ménage a trois with comely Dörte (Vicky Krieps). The sexual liberation of the 60’s catches up with them. Bernward’s a womanizer. The pair have a son Felix.  Multi-generational conversations pick at the scars of World War 11, trying to assign blame or discover what the parents did during the war. Bernward’s mother (Imogen Kogge) explains, “Without the Führer you wouldn’t exist. Your father did not want a child. it was the Führer who wanted children. We couldn’t defy him.”

Gudrun Ensslin’s mild liberal father, (Michael Wittenborn) was critical of Hitler’s policies but joined the Army and fought for Germany. Gudrun can’t forgive him. They publish a German translation of Stokely Carmichel’s landmark pamphlet “Black Power, Reasons For Guerilla Fighting in the USA.” 

Increasingly militant Gudrun meets charismatic firebrand Andreas Baader (Alexander Fehling one of Berlinale’s “Shooting Stars”). Although he is illiterate and she’s writing her way into the revolution, she can’t resist him and starts sleeping with him, abandoning her child, and her PHD, to join him. “I’ve never been to school for longer than three months” is Andreas’ idea of pillow talk. “We had nothing.” “That’s why you take everything you want, even if it’s not yours” smirks passionate Gudrun before another bout of love making.The pair assemble the the Red Army Faction, dedicated to anti-capitalist terrorist bombings.

Once Gudrun moves on,  Bernward fuels his writing with Psychedelics, developing a drug addiction (which leads to his early suicide.) Loyal Bernward raises Felix, while Gudrun and Andreas make revolution. He jumps up at their court trial to defend her. Censured by the Judge, he watches them work the crowd like rock stars playing to the cameras, displaying their romance for all to see. Swallowing his pride, increasingly melancholic Bernward cares for their child while she and her partner languish in jail. Judith Kaufmann’s camerawork connects. Christian M. Goldbeck’s  production design and Daniel Chour’s art direction use color coding expressively and Andres Veiel creates intersticials of archival footage and pop music of the day to place the action in historical context. Bernward Vesper committed suicide in 1971. His book “Die Reise” was published posthumously. Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader committed suicide in 1977, after five years in prison. Felix Ensslin grew up with foster parents in teh Swabian Mountains.

In Johannes Schmid’s road movie “Winter’s Daughter”, an internal quest sparks an external journey. It’s Christmas Eve. i1-year-old Berliner Kattaka (Nina Monka) answers the phone. It’s a  Russian stranger, who jokes with her on the phone then asks for her mother. Her mother Marlene (Katharina M Schubert), and father seem upset after the call. Marlene (Katharina M Schubert) reveals that doting  Daniel (Maxin Mehmet) is not her real father. Her biological father is Alexej the Russian mechanic who just called. “What’s that supposed to  mean?” asks astonished Kattaka. I was young, He was a mechanic. He fixed my bike. When the Russians left he went back to Vladivostok.

The family’s in uproar. “We three belong together” assures Mom. “You’re still my daughter” says Daniel, bringing her cookies in bed. As depressed Kattaka sleep, he sits on the floor by her bed, dozing. It’s one of many affecting scenes in this affecting Road Movies that travels across two countries and through time  to heal family wounds. Kattaka’s fesity 70-year -old neighbor Lena, offers to drive Kattoka to Aexej’s ship at the nearby port of Szczecin before the trawler leaves again. Ashamed over keeping family secrets,  her parents let her go on what’s supposed to be a day trip.  On the road, Lena seems confused, wondering where the border guards are. Her past is already chewing at her consciousness.  When Police pull her over for  a broken signal she hands over her passport.
The discover Kattaka’s lively pal, Kevin “Knäcke’ ( Leon Seidel) on board, He’s stowed away in the back of the van.

Nothing  goes right. The  trawler has sailed for Gdansk. The threesome push forward, after calling  Kattaka’s parents. In Gdanks, they need permission from authorities to enter the port. They stay overnight at an Inn run by Grandfather Waldecks (the great Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski)  and his charismatic grandson Waldek (Dominik Nowak.) members of a seafaring family. Waldek, a waiter in the tavern, is studying to be a Ship’s Captain . The next morning, savvy Waldecks ‘s friend the local postwoman , sneaks teh three kids onto the pier. They board the ship . In his deserted Cabin , Kattoka finds a book inscribed by her mother and pictures. When Alexej (Merab Ninidze) finds her , she bolts. Meanwhile Lena is distraught, looking for the kids. Upset, Kattaka’s ready to call off her meeting. A conversation with fellow Pole Opa Waldecks sets Lena off on a trip to her past, to Steetin, the last place she lived in last place Lena lived in Poland, before fleeing the Nazi’s in  World War II.

Haunted Lena’s suppressed memories haunt her. Like a lost child reciting her address to a stranger she tells Opa her real name, “Lene Siwy daughter of Maria and Karl Siwy.”  The caravan goes on, Lena steels herself for what she may find.  She recites a survival  ‘mantra’ from her fateful flight from Poland. She has a precious key. Recovering her mother’s picture form a locked box hidden in a tree. Unnleases Lena’s fateful story to teh concerned Kattaka. The band returns to the ship. A confrontation with disbelieving Alexej is interrupted when Kattaka’s anxious parents arrive in a  melodramatic scene which Johannes Schmid pulls off for a feel good ending. Michaela Hinnenthal, Nora Lämmermann and Thomas Schmid’s  restrained screenplay carries us through a series of memories which span the dislocations of World War, the end of the Cold War and reunification. DP Michael Bertl’s expressive blue-grey palette. portray the stark, snowy Polish landscapes in a dreamlike way, signalling the decades long dream Lena awakes from.

7:30pm     ALMANYA: WELCOME TO GERMANY (Almanya) L.A. Premiere
OPENING PARTY (ticket holders only) Egyptian Theatre
Germany, 2011, 35mm, 97 min, German/Turkish with English subtitles
Composed in parallel structure, this light-as-air and colorfully punchy comedy of manners focuses on generations of cultural misunderstandings inside a German-Turkish household.
First set in contemporary day Germany, patriarch Huseyin (Vedat Erincin) insists his entire family – including grown children and grandchildren – accompany him on a holiday to Turkey. Next set in 1964, young Huseyin arrives in Germany for the first time, with the unglamorous title of being the one-millionth-and-first guest worker in the country. As the two time periods switch back and forth, a constantly amusing portrait of a family with multiple national identities – and multiple confused identities – winningly forms.

Official selection of the Berlin International Film Festival 2011.
Director: Yasemin Samdereli
Screenplay: Nesrin Samdereli, Yasemin Samdereli
Cinematography: Ngo the Chau
Cast: Vedat Erincin, Fahri Ogün Yardim, Lilay Huser, Demeth Guel, Denis Moschitto

7:30pm/ 9:30pm Double Feature

THE POLL DIARIES (Poll) L.A. Premiere
Germany/Austria/Estonia, 2010, 129 min, 35mm, German with English subtitles
Director: Chris Kraus
Screenplay: Chris Kraus
Cinematography: Daniela Knapp
Cast: Paula Beer, Edgar Selge ,Richy Mueller, Tambet Tuisk
It is the eve of World War I in Germany and 14-year-old Oda Schaefer (Paula Beer) – who would later grow up to be the famed Teuton poet – travels by train with two very unsettling items: her mother’s body in a coffin, and a two-headed fetus in a jar. This begins Oda’s journey to live with her father Ebbo (Edgar Selge), a crackpot doctor living in a wonkily deformed house, who has fallen from grace among German scientists due to his seemingly gory and inhumane medical methods.
Filmmaker and former opera director Chris Kraus elegantly shows us a community on the verge of war, where the bizarre and grotesque lurk in close quarters with the pure curiosity and kindness of a young girl.
Winner of 4 German Film Awards.

JASMIN  U.S. Premiere
Germany 2011, 120 min., 35 mm, German with English subtitles
In director Jan Fehse’s relentlessly tense and absorbing drama, two women face each other in a room.
One, forensic specialist and psychiatrist Dr. Fendt (Wiebke Puls), is trying to understand the seemingly incromprehensible psyche of the other woman, Jasmin (Anne Schäfer), and the horrid crime she’s committed – the murder of her own 3-year-old daughter.
Over the course of four days of harrowing interrogation, we accompany Jasmin on a journey into the heart of darkness, and begin to glimpse how the unimaginable came to pass and ended in catastrophe.
Official selection of the Film Fest Muenchen 2011.
Director: Jan Fehse
Screenplay: Christian Lyra
Cinematography: Jan Fehse
Cast: Anne Schäfer, Wiebke Puls

FRI 10/28  Aero Theatre GERMAN CURRENTS
7:30pm/ 9:30pm     Double Feature
“THE DAY I WAS NOT BORN ” (“Das Lied In Mir”)

L.A. Premiere
Germany/Argentia, 2010, 94 min. 35mm, German/Spanish with English subtitles
Director: Florian M. Cossen
Screenplay: ELena von Saucken; Florian Cossen
Cinematography: Matthias Fleischer
Cast: Jessica Schwarz, Michael Gwisdek, Rafael Ferro, Beatriz Spelzini
Competitive swimmer Maria misses her connecting flight when she witnesses something traumatic in the skies over the Buenos Aires airport.
Unsettled, she stays in the city for a couple of days, and is surprised by the unannounced arrival of her aging father Anton at her hotel.
As the tenuous relationship between daughter and father unravels over the course of the film, and secrets are revealed – including tales of kidnapping, torture, and a personal back-story Maria was never told – an elegant drama emerges, with one foot in historical tragedy and one in the everyday tragedies between family members. Winner of Best Supporting Actress, Beatriz Spelzini, winner of Best Score/ Bronze (composer Matthias Klein) and nominated for Best Direction and Cinematography, at the German Film Awards

WESTWIND L.A. Premiere
Germany/Hungary, 2011,89 min., HD, German with English subtitles
Director: Robert Thalheim
Screenplay: Ilja Haller, Susann Schimk
Cinematography: Eeva Fleig
Cast: Friederike Becht, Luise Heyer, Franz Dinda, Volker Bruch
It is 1988, a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and inseparable 17-year-old twins Doreen und Isabel, successful oarswomen, are spending the summer at the placid Lake Balaton in the Soviet satellite state of Hungary.
Yet the tranquility of their focused summer begins to crumble when Doreen falls for Arne, young West German man.
Confronted with the first real instance of possible rupture in their relationship, and with the reality that the divided Germany of their entire upbringing is about to radically change, Doreen and Isabel find themselves looking ahead to an uncertain future and the most momentous decision of their lives.
Discussion following with director Robert Thalheim

SAT 10/29 Goethe-Institut  GERMAN CURRENTS
12:30pm     Panel: CO-PRODUCER GERMANY
“How do I get my Film Funded?”
Goethe-Institut Los Angeles- Co-Producer Germany
German film funds and their impact on international film production!
Expert Panel
Saturday, October 29th 2011, 12:30 p.m.
Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, 5750 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100, Los Angeles , CA 90036 Free of charge, RSVP requested  +1 323 5253388
Who are the German film foundations?
How do German film funds operate?
What are their core activities, what is their policy?
Who is eligible to apply? What is the decision making process?
Can they help to get my film funded?
These and many more questions will be answered at our panel on German film funding agencies, which is organized by the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles in collaboration with German Films.
Participants : Christine Berg, German Federal Film Funding; Project Manager
Dieter Krauss; Film funding Baden-Württemberg, Member of the Management Board; Andres Veiel, Filmmaker, Director of festival film “IF NOT US, WHO”  Moderator: Oliver Mahrdt -US Representative of German Films Service + Marketing

Egyptian Theatre 7:30pm/ 9:30pm     Double Feature
IF NOT US,WHO?  ( Wer Wenn Nicht Wir?)
STOPPED ON TRACK  (Halt Auf Freier Strecke)
L.A. Premiere  In Person: Director Andres Veiel
Germany, 2011, 124 min. 35mm, German with English subtitles
Director: Andres Veiel
Screenplay: Andres Veiel
Cinematography: Judith Kaufmann
Cast: August Diehl, Lena Lauzemis, Alexander Fehling, Thomas Thieme, Michael Wittenborn
For lovers of “The Baader-Meinhof Complex”, this is a must-see.
Chronicling the decade-long relationship between radical-left poster girl Gudrun Ensslin (a terrific Lena Lauzemis) and writer Bernward Vesper (August Diehl), director Andres Veiel gets inside the mindset of a divided Berlin teeming with radical change. As the increasingly left-wing Vesper struggles with mixed feelings for his father, one of Hitler’s favorite writers during the Nazi regime, and as Ensslin slowly but steadily transforms from a wide-eyed co-ed to a steely revolutionary, the incendiary couple’s stormy personal life evolves in constantly unpredictable directions. Winner of both the Alfred Bauer Award and Prize of the Guild of German Arthouse Cinemas, and nominated for the Golden Bear, at the Berlin International Film Festival 2011. Winner of Best Feature Film/Bronze at the German Film Awards. Discussion following with director Andres Veiel

Germany, 2011, 95 min, 35mm, German with English subtitles
Screenplay: Andreas Dresen
Screenplay: Andreas Dresen, Cooky Ziesche
Cinematography: Michael Hammon
Cast: Milan Peschel, Steffi Kühnert, Talisa Lilli Lemke, Mika Nilson Seidel
Andreas Dresen directs this intelligent and startlingly raw drama portraying a German postal worker’s small window of time between the diagnosis of a terminal brain tumor and death. After Frank learns of his suddenly truncated future, he and wife Simone must wrestle with breaking the news to their children, and with Frank’s increasingly erratic – even hostile – behavior. Trenchant observations and true-ringing moments emerge from the cast’s entirely improvised dialogue. Cannes Winner of “Un Certain Regard” in 2011

SUN 10/29 Goethe-Institut Los Angeles  GERMAN CURRENTS
10:00am     Short: The Gruffalo
WINTER’S DAUGHTER Wintertochter)
Germany/Poland, 2010, 92 min, DVD, German with English subtitles, recommended for ages 10 +
Director: Johannes Schmidt
Screenplay: Michaela Hinnenthal; Thomas Schmid
Cinematography: Michael Bertl
Cast: Nina Monka, Ursula Werner, Leon seidel, Dominik Nowak, Maxim Mehmet, Merab Ninidze
A touching story about a young girl determined to track down her biological father. By turns inspiring and moving, Winter’s Daughter takes us on an eccentric road trip as a mismatched couple regains the ground beneath their feet, and themselves.

preceded by   “The Gruffalo”
Great Britain, 2009, 30 min. DVD, English Original
This Oscar®-nominated animated film is based on the classic children’s picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
The Gruffalo tells the magical tale of a mouse who takes a walk though the woods in search of a nut. Encountering three predators who all wish to eat him – a fox, an owl and a snake – the plucky mouse has to use his wits to survive.

Directors: Jakob Schuh, Max Lang
Screenplay: Julia Donaldson, Max Lang, Jakob Schuh
Cinematography: René Aubry

SUN 10/30  Aero Theatre  GERMAN CURRENTS
Official selection of Cannes 2011  Angelina Maccarone in Person
Germany/France, 2011, 94 min., 35mm, French with English subtitles
Narrative filmmaker Angelina Maccarone makes an impressive foray into documentary with this endlessly fascinating portrait of screen icon Charlotte Rampling.
Discussion following with Angelina Maccarone
Director: Angelina Maccarone
Screenplay/Concept: Angelina Maccarone
Cinematography: Bernd Meiners
Focused less on Rampling’s biographical details and more on the actress’ decidedly non-conformist personality, the film is segmented into free-wheeling conversations between Rampling and various friends, including artists Peter Lindbergh, Paul Aster and poet Frederick Seidel, and offers insight into Rampling’s feelings on topics that range from aging to desire, from death to her love of photography.
Clips from the British actress’ most famous films – including “The Damned”, “The Night Porter”, “Georgy Girl” and “Stardust Memories – are interspersed throughout.
SUN 10/30  Aero Theatre
7:30pm/ 9:30pm     Double Feature
SLEEPING SICKNESS  (“Schlafkrankheit”)
Discussion between films with “Lollipop Monster” Ziska Rieman

Germany/France/Netherlands, 2011, 91 min., 35mm, French with English subtitles

Staggering location shooting and dual intertwining narratives of a Dutch-born doctor Ebbo, and Parisian doctor Alex who ultimately meet in Cameroon anchor this thoughtful drama from German director Ulrich Kohler. Ebbo, one of the best in his field, is relentlessly running a floundering sleeping sickness program in Africa, while Alex, of Congolese descent but uncomfortable in his African surroundings, has been sent to evaluate Ebbo’s program.   A complex tale of national identity and racial identity comes to the fore in this Silver Berlin Bear winner at the Berlin International Film Festival 2011.

Director: Ulrich Köhler
Screenplay: Ulrich Köhler
Cinematography: Patrick Orth
Cast: Pierre Bokma, Jean-Christophe Folly, Jenny Schily, Hippolyde Girardot, Sava Lolov, Maria Elise Miller

CLOSING NIGHT FILM In Person: Ziska Riemann
Germany, 2011, 96 min., 35mm, German with English subtitles
Oona is an inky, unsmiling goth girl while her best friend Ari is her chromatic opposite, a bleached blonde with a psychedelic rainbow wardrobe.
Director: Ziska Riemann
Screenplay: Ziska Riemann; Luci van Org
Cinematography: Hannes Hubach
Cast: Jella Haase, Sarah Horvath, Nicolette Krebitz
Filmmaker and comic book artist Ziska Riemann presents an assured debut reminiscent of GHOST WORLD as her adolescent odd couple protagonists weather the unforgiving terrains of high school and home, while the adults in their life (including a suicidal tortured artist father and a perpetually sleazy uncle) prove consistently irresponsible. Music videos, Super 16 and short animation sequences pepper this punchy, spunky coming-of-age drama, winner of the Femina-Film-Prize at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival.

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About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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