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Culture fact
German films have thrice
taken home the Academy
Award for Best Foreign
Language Film:
Volker Schlöndorff's The Tin
(1979), Caroline Link's
Nowhere in Afrika
and most recently Fatih
Akin's Gegen die Wand (2004).

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German Film (2)

BROWSE GERMAN FILMS: Contemporary German films 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 | New releases | East German films
German film classics & collections 1 - 2 | German directors &actors | Documentaries | German movie soundtracks

GERMAN FILM INDEX (alphabetical)
<< BACK | BROWSE GERMAN FILMS (chronological): | NEXT>>

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(West) German Films Since 1970 on DVD and Video 2

The Women of Rosenstrasse / Rosenstraße

Drama / War (2003)
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Starring: Katja Riemann, Maria Schrader, Martin Fiefel

SYNOPSIS: German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta directs the war drama Rosenstrasse, based on the plight of "mixed marriages" between Jewish men and non-Jewish women during the Holocaust. In contemporary New York, Jewish matriarch Ruth (Jutta Lampe) practices Orthodox mourning traditions for her late husband, to the dismay of her daughter Hannah (Maria Schrader). At the wake, Ruth's cousin Rachel (Carola Regnier) tells Hannah some family secrets that send curious Hannah over to Berlin. She searches out 90-year-old Lena Fischer (Doris Schade), who cared for Ruth during WWII. Flashbacks recall the events of 1943,when Jewish husbands were rounded up and kept in a house on a street called Rosenstrasse. Lena (played by Katja Riemann as a young woman) joins a group of other wives for a week-long protest, where she meets an abandoned seven-year-old named Ruth (played by Svea Lohde as a girl). Rosenstrasse was shown in competition at the 2003 Venice International Film Festival.
Review by Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide  

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Good-bye Lenin!

Comedy (2003)
Director: Wolfgang Becker
Starring: Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß

REVIEW: Contemporary comedies rarely stretch themselves beyond a bickering romantic couple or a bickering couple and a bucket of bodily fluids, which makes the ambition and intelligence of Good bye, Lenin! not simply entertaining but downright refreshing. The movie starts in East Germany before the fall of communism; our hero, Alex (Daniel Brühl), describes how his mother (Katrin Sass), a true believer in the communist cause, has a heart attack when she sees him being clubbed by police at a protest. She falls into a coma for eight months--during which the Berlin Wall comes down. When she awakens, her fragile health must avoid any shocks, so Alex creates an illusive reality around his bedridden mother to convince her that communism is still alive. Good bye, Lenin! delicately balances wry satire with its rich investment in the lives of Alex, his mother, and other characters around them. Funny, moving, and highly recommended.
Review by Bret Fetzer 

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Gun-Shy / Schussangst
Crime / Drama (2003)
Director: Ditto Tsintsadze
Starring: Fabian Hinrichs, Fabian Hinrichs
DESCRIPTION: A major hit on the European film festival circuit, Ditto Tsintsadze's "poetic thriller" will keep you on the edge from the startling beginning to the jaw-dropping final shot. A young man sits alone on a bus. A beautiful young woman drops a note in his lap as she walks by. It says simply, "help me." But what help could she, a self-assured martial arts student, ever need? And how could he, a gentle pacifist who delivers meals to the elderly, ever help her? Yet as our hero follows after her, his bizarre journey begins. Does he become a rescuing knight falling in love? Or a psychotic killer descending into madness? And is there even a difference?

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The Princess and the Warrior / Der Krieger und die Kaiserin

Drama / Romance (2002)
Director: Tom Tykwer
Starring: Franka Potente, Benno Fürmann
REVIEW: In this follow-up to his first international hit, Run Lola Run, writer/director Tom Tykwer spins an offbeat love story between a disturbed army vet named Bodo Benno Fürmann and an equally unbalanced asylum nurse, Sissi (Lola's Franka Potente). Compared to its highly stylized predecessor, this film is timid, which is probably why it proved such a disappointment on the international festival circuit. But it still has much to recommend it as a worthy addition to a growing canon of works by Germany's hottest young auteur. Shot in Tykwer's native Wuppertal -- a misty city in the Ruhr valley known for its peculiar "hanging trains" -- the setting lends itself well to the telling of a romance that is both moody and absurd. Maintaining a balance between those two elements is Tykwer's goal throughout. When he succeeds, the results are surprisingly poignant -- like the unforgettable scene in which Sissi becomes enamored of Bodo while he administers a tracheotomy. But there are elements handled with less dexterity that come off as misplaced humor, such as the backstory dealing with the death of Bodo's girlfriend, who was killed in a gas station explosion. Despite the art-house flourishes, Tykwer keeps the film together as a cohesive tale of love and loss, of trauma and healing. More importantly, as the title suggests, he even manages to make something new of the classic fairy tale romance.

Review by Connor McMadden, All Movie Guide 

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Big Girls Don't Cry / Große Mädchen weinen nicht

Drama (2002)
Director: Maria von Heland
Starring: Anna Maria Mühe Karoline Herfurth
SYNOPSIS: Kati and Steffi are best friends since childhood. But as they step into adulthood, both their perfect friendship and their personalities get harshly tested by a series of unfortunate events; mainly caused by Steffi finding out her father wasn't quite faithful to her mother, and the two girls getting hit by the consequences of her delirious revenge plans. When things get out of hand, the two girls find themselves in the middle of a mess, and Kati starts questioning whether or not Steffi is really so precious to her. Where will Steffi's plans of penalizing her father's "evil" lover will end up..? Will the girls' friendship be saved..?

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The Tunnel / Der Tunnel

Drama / Mystery (2001)
Director: Roland Suso Richter
Starring: Heino Ferch, Nicolette Krebitz, Sebastian Koch

New US Release
October 2005
SYNOPSIS: Based on a true story a group of East Berliners escaping to the West. Harry Melchior was a champion East German swimmer at odds with the system under which he has already been imprisoned. On his own escape, he is determined the arrange the escape to the West of his sister and her family. The idea of the tunnel is born, but the project does not run smoothly. The participants struggle not only with the massive logistics of their task, but betrayal from friends in the East. And always the East German police are close to discovering the plot.

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Advertising Rules / Viktor Vogel - Commercial Man

Comedy (2001)
Director: Lars Kraume
Starring: Alexander Scheer, Götz George, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Schrader
SYNOPSIS: Edward Kaminsky, an aging ad man, wants a golden parachute from his agency; he must first land the Opel auto contract. Rosa, a youth with wealthy parents, wants to establish herself as an artist. The clumsy and enthusiastic Viktor, not quite honest, wants work. When he wanders into Kaminsky's meeting with Opel and says something about irony, the Opel director wants him in on the campaign. Then he steals an idea from Rosa that the Opel director loves. Before Rosa discovers he's expropriated her idea, Rosa and Viktor become lovers. Father-son feelings materialize between Kaminsky and Viktor. Can the impulsive Viktor hold it together before Rosa learns the truth and flies away?

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What To Do In Case of Fire / Was tun, wenn's brennt?

Comedy (2001)
Director: Gregor Schnitzler
Starring: Til Schweiger, Martin Feifel
REVIEW: A heavy-handed but engrossing German drama about a group of ex-radicals who try to escape the ever-closer clutches of the police after a 15-year-old bomb they planted accidentally goes off, What to Do in Case of Fire paints a questionably sympathetic portrait of people trying to erase their pasts. Occasionally the humor found in the group's difficulty grasping the changes the years have wrought erases the distasteful attempt to whitewash these anarchists' violent past. Still, it's a copout to pretend that these particular radicals never seemed to have hurt anyone seriously, and indeed, even the exploded bomb only slightly injures two innocent bystanders. It's up to the considerable efforts of a most capable cast--including Til Schweiger (Tim) and Nadja Uhl (Nele)--to draw us into their morally skewered story.
Review by Kevin Filipski

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Nowhere in Africa / Nirgendwo in Afrika

Drama (2001)
Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film
Director: Caroline Link
Starring: Juliane Köhler, Merab Ninidze
REVIEW: Both epic and heartbreakingly intimate, Nowhere in Africa begins with a Jewish woman named Jettel Redlich fleeing Nazi Germany with her daughter Regina, to join her husband, Walter, on a farm in Kenya. At first, Jettel refuses to adjust to her new circumstances (she brought with her a set of china dishes and an evening gown), while Regina adapts readily to this new world, forming a strong bond with her father's cook, an African named Owuor. But this is only the beginning of a series of uprootings, and as the surface of their lives is torn away, Walter and Jettel find they have little in common, and must--under tumultuous circumstances--build their marriage anew. With incredible skill and passion, Nowhere in Africa manages to bring you fully into every change in this family's life; it richly deserves the Academy Award® it received in 2002. A powerful, deeply moving film.
Review by Bret Fetzer

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Mostly Martha / Bella Martha

Romantic comedy (2001)
Director: Sandra Nettlebeck
Starring: Martina Gedeck, Maxime Foerste
REVIEW: Mostly Martha is a rich addition to the recent banquet of movies about food. Martha (Martina Gedeck), the domineering chef at a fancy restaurant, has her rigid routine broken when her sister dies in a car wreck, leaving behind her 9-year-old daughter Lina (Maxime Foerste). Martha takes the girl in, but has no gift for maternal expression; she offers Lina food, but Lina refuses to eat. Meanwhile, her control over her kitchen is threatened when her boss hires a buoyant Italian named Mario (Sergio Castellitto) to assist, and Martha finds herself flailing in an effort to reestablish control of her life. While Mostly Martha may not hold many surprises, the writing, direction, and particularly the acting are as sumptuous and sensual as the cooking and eating. The relationship between Martha and Lina is portrayed with all its awkwardness and complications intact; the result is wonderfully affecting.
Review by Bret Fetzer

Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

GERMAN FILM INDEX (alphabetical)
<< BACK | BROWSE GERMAN FILMS (chronological): | NEXT>>

BROWSE GERMAN FILMS: Contemporary German films 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 | New releases | East German films
German film classics & collections 1 - 2 | German directors &actors | Documentaries | German movie soundtracks

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