Matthias Glasner – Der Freie Wille AKA The Free Will (2006)

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AMG: Theo (Jürgen Vogel) has raped several women and is, after several years of committing acts of sexual violence, caught. He is committed to a psychiatric prison and, after 12 years in prison, he is released to return to normal life. Theo finds work as a printer, goes regularly to therapy, and lives in a supervised group. But Theo finds that finding a normal life isn’t all that easy. Functioning more like a wooden puppet than a person, Theo wanders through his post-prison days more like an inhibited loner with severe difficulties in his social encounters with women. In spite of overwhelming loneliness and growing depression, Theo fights returning to his old violent ways. And then a ray of hope enters Theo’s life: he gets to know Netti (Sabine Timoteo), the daughter of the domineering printing house owner. Netti mistrusts men in the same way that Theo mistrusts women. The two outsiders befriend each other and eventually fall in love. But Nettie knows nothing about Theo’s past and his problems — until one night when Theo decides that he can’t keep living a lie. Der Freie Wille tells the story of a man who is given freedom but still remains a prisoner inside. Continue reading

Oliver Hirschbiegel – Das Experiment (2001)

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Plot:
The movie is based on the infamous “Stanford Prison Experiment” conducted in 1971. A makeshift prison is set up in a research lab, complete with cells, bars and surveillance cameras. For two weeks 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards. The ‘prisoners’ are locked up and have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the ‘guards’ are told simply to retain order without using physical violence. Everybody is free to quit at any time, thereby forfeiting payment. In the beginning the mood between both groups is insecure and rather emphatic. But soon quarrels arise and the wardens employ ever more drastic sanctions to confirm their authority. Continue reading

Sandra Goldbacher – Me Without You (2001)

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This drama follows the lives of two very different girls (Holly and Marina) from their teenage years in the 1970s as they grow up, and how their relationship develops. Starring Anna Friel and Michelle Williams.

Plot:
One long, hot summer in seventies London, Holly and Marina make a childhood pact to be friends forever. For the troubled, unpredictable Marina, with her seemingly glamorous father and her Valium-addicted mother, Holly stays the only constant in a life of divorcing parents, experimental drugs and fashionable self-destruction. Meanwhile, Holly buries herself in books out of feelings of frustration with her over-protective mother and a nagging insecurity around her beautiful and possessive best friend. She holds just one secret from Marina, her increasing passion for Marina’s brother Nat. Continue reading

Siddiq Barmak – Osama (2003)

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The movies are a little more than a century old. Imagine if we could see films from previous centuries — records of slavery, the Great Fire of London, the Black Plague. “Osama” is like a film from some long-ago age. Although it takes place in Afghanistan, it documents practices so cruel that it is hard to believe such ideas have currency in the modern world. What it shows is that, under the iron hand of the Taliban, the excuse of “respect” for women was used to condemn them to a lifetime of inhuman physical and psychic torture. No society that loves and respects women could treat them in this way. Continue reading

Marc Rothemund – Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage AKA Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)

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Sophia Magdalena Scholl (May 9, 1921 – February 22, 1943) was a prominent member of the White Rose non-violent resistance movement in Nazi Germany. She was convicted of treason after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich with her brother Hans. As a result, they were both executed by guillotine.

Since the 1970s, Scholl has been celebrated as one of the great German heroes who actively opposed the Third Reich during the Second World War. Continue reading