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German Film (5)

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)
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(West) German Films Since 1970 on DVD and Video 5

Maybe ... Maybe not (US) / The Most Desired Man (UK) / Der bewegte Mann

Comedy (1994)
Director: Sönke Wortmann
Starring: Til Schweiger, Katja Riemann
SYNOPSIS: This German sex farce centers on characters who can't get anything "straight."Axel has slept around one too many times for his girlfriend, Doro, so she kicks him out of her house. Turning to his gay pal Norbert, Axel finds a temporary place to live. To her shock, Doro later learns she is pregnant. But when Doro goes to tell Axel the news, she finds him in a compromising position with Norbert...
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Europa Europa

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Starring: Marco Hofschneider, René Hofschneider
REVIEW: This wonderful film by Polish director Agnieszka Holland (Total Eclipse), based on an autobiography by Solomon Perel, concerns a Jewish-German boy who manages to conceal his identity from the Nazis and ends up a member of their Youth Party. An admirably full experience, the film is both black comedy and horror show, with the central character taking the full measure of everyone's perspective on the war and Nazi crimes.
Review by Tom Keogh
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Heimat 2: A Chronicle of a Generation / Heimat 2: Chronik einer Jugend
Drama (1992)
Director: Edgar Reitz, Robert Busch
Starring: Henry Arnold, Eva Maria Bayerwaltes, Edith Behleit
DESCRIPTION: This 13-episode, 25-hour saga is the follow-up to the groundbreaking Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany of the pioneering German filmmaker Edgar Reitz. Beginning in the year 1960, Heimat 2 follows Hermann Simon, who leaves his village of Schabbach to settle in Munich. Over the next 10 years, Hermann becomes a talented musician, falls in love with an enigmatic cellist, struggles as an acclaimed avant-garde musician, and marries the girl next door. As in the original Heimat, this deeply personal tale is set against a backdrop of turbulent historical times—the decade of the 60s in this case. Hermann, like many young Germans, is shaped by the political turmoil of the era, influenced by the artistic explosion in Munich, and bewildered by the aftermath of such a tumultuous decade. Epic yet intimate, entertaining yet bittersweet, Heimat 2 offers a riveting portrait of a generation caught up in the most amazing decade of the twentieth century.
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The Nasty Girl / Das schreckliche Mädchen

Comedy / Drama (1990)
Director: Michael Verhoeven
Starring: Lene Stolze
REVIEW: Filmmaker Michael Verhoeven (not to be confused with Showgirls director Paul Verhoeven) made one of the best films of the '80s with this bold, 1989 German production about an adolescent girl, Sonja (Lena Stolze of Verhoeven's The White Rose), who researches the history of her hometown's involvement in the Holocaust. The "nasty" of the title doesn't refer to provocative behavior on the heroine's part but rather Sonja's sudden reputation as a busybody, stirring up dirt about her neighbors' sundry crimes against humanity and being rebuffed or punished at every turn. Verhoeven makes a number of inspired, artistic leaps in portraying Sonja's story (she grows up and is a married woman before her quest is complete) as an epic myth for post-war Germany. The director draws on thrilling performance ideas from Bertolt Brecht and pursues heavy visual stylization to bring an exciting immediacy to this tale of dangerous secrets. Topping it all off is Stolze's sharp, likable, smart acting.
Review by Tom Keogh
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Wings of Desire / Der Himmel über Berlin

Fantasy / Drama (1987)
Director: Wim Wenders
Starring: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin

REVIEW: "There are angels over the streets of Berlin," quotes the movie poster, but these are like no angels you've ever seen. Bundled in dark overcoats, they watch over the city with ears open to the heartbeat of the human soul, listening to the internal musings and yearnings of earthbound humans like existential detectives. In these delicate, astounding scenes we float through the thoughts of dozens Berlin citizens, from the weary and worn to the hopeful and young, as the angels record the magic moments for some heavenly record. But when Damiel (the empathic and sensitive Bruno Ganz) falls in love with an angel of another sort, the lonely trapeze artist Marion (willowy, sad-eyed Solveig Dommartin), he gives up the contemplation and observation of life to experience it himself.
Wim Wenders's most purely romantic film is like poetry on celluloid, a celebration of the transient and fragile moments of being human: the warmth of a cup of coffee on a cold day, the embrace of a friend, the touch of a lover, the rapture of love. Opening with an angel's-eye view of Berlin in silvery black and white (delicately captured by the great cinematographer Henri Alekan, who photographed Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast 40 years earlier), it transforms into a gauzy color world when Damiel "crosses over" by sheer will. Peter Falk plays himself as a fallen angel with a special sensitivity for celestial visitors ("I can't see you, but I know you're there," he proclaims), and Otto Sander, whose smiling eyes brighten a face etched by eons of waiting and watching, is Damiel's partner. Wenders made a sequel in 1993, Faraway, So Close, and Hollywood remade the film as City of Angels with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan.
Review by Sean Axmaker
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Rosa Luxemburg

Drama (1986)
Director: Margarthe von Trotta
Starring: Barbara Sukowa, Daniel Olbrychski

SYNOPSIS: This film biography is based on the life and letters of revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg (1870-1919). The story follows her imprisonment in Poland for subversive activities, her involvement in the aborted 1905 Russian Revolution, her pacifist opposition to the first World War, and, finally, the dual murder of her and her lover Karl Liebknecht in 1919. As Rosa Luxemburg, Sukowa gives the performance of a lifetime.
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Men / Männer

Comedy (1985)
Director: Doris Dörrie
Starring: Heiner Lauterbach, Uwe Ochsenknecht

SYNOPSIS: After 12 years of marriage, Paula Armbrust comes to the realization that she has had just about enough of Julius, her staid businessman husband. So she embarks on a passionate affair with Stefan, a good-hearted but underemployed fellow who still fancies himself a hippie, even if the 60s have long since gone.
Even though Julius has had other lovers himself, he flies into a tizzy at the news of his wife's infidelity: he obsessively spies on her new love, and when it turns out Stefan can use a roommate, Julius moves right in. Unaware of Julius' identity, Stefan happily befriends him -- while the wily scorned husband sets into motion a very original and comic plot to win back his wife's heart: turning the freewheeling Stefan into a stodgy bureaucrat just like him.
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Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany | Heimat: Eine deutsche Chronik
Drama (1984)
Director: Edgar Reitz
Starring: Marliese Assmann, Eva Maria Bayerwaltes, Helga Bender
SYNOPSIS: Unlike other feature-length versions of European TV miniseries, Heimat loses nothing in its translation to the big screen. It was 15 1/2 hours on TV, and remained 15 1/2 hours in theatres! Produced for German television over a 5-year period, Heimat details the turbulent years between 1919 and 1982 through the eyes of the citizens of a small, fictional German village. The central character is Marita Breuer, who matures from a fresh-faced teen to a wrinkled, grim-visaged survivor of the best and the worst life has to offer. The final sequences, far removed from such traumatic collective experiences as the inflation of 1923 and the war of the 1940s, tend to be more sentimental than the earlier passages, but are no less masterfully handled by director Edgar Reitz. Also worth noting is cinematographer Gernot Roll's creative use of color, often switching between hues and monochrome within a scene for dramatic impact.

Review by Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide 
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Das Boot

Drama / War (1981)
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Starring: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann

REVIEW: This 282-minute version of Das Boot is the full-length TV series, originally shown in six parts but here edited into a seamless whole. Director Wolfgang Petersen has since graduated to mega-budget Hollywood productions (2004's Troy for example), but has never managed to even come close to this, his German-language masterpiece. Petersen and his sterling cast (including Jürgen Prochnow in his best role as the U-boat Captain) went to great lengths to ensure that this claustrophobic depiction of life aboard the German sub U-97 while attacking British convoys in the Atlantic is thoroughly authentic, and totally convincing. Even the set itself, which is a replica of a U-boat interior, had no false walls, so all camera angles are necessarily from within its horribly narrow, overcrowded and sweaty confines. The result is certainly the finest submarine drama ever made, and one of the most compelling depictions of the physical, psychological and emotional effects of warfare.
This miniseries is rather longer than the movie version, which is also available on DVD in a director's cut version. The differences are not in matters of plot, but in the pacing: everything here takes longer to happen, while the crew must sit around, bicker, swear, and sweat it out--the agonizing searching for action, the tension of the attack, the terrible stress of hiding from enemy destroyers. Everything unfolds as if in real time, which is the great advantage a TV production has over a movie (contrast, for example, Band of Brothers with Saving Private Ryan). This, therefore, is the definitive presentation of a World War II classic.
Review by Mark Walker
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GERMAN FILM INDEX (alphabetical)
<< BACK | BROWSE GERMAN FILMS (chronological): | NEXT>>

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