Germany

F.W. Murnau – Die Finanzen des Großherzogs AKA The Finances of the Grand Duke (1924)

The likeable and carefree Grand Duke of Abacco is in dire straits. There is no money left to service the State’s debt; the main creditor is looking forward to expropriating the entire Duchy. The marriage with Olga, Grand Duchess of Russia, would solve everything, but a crucial letter of hers about the engagement has been stolen. Besides, a bunch of revolutionaries and a dubious businessman have other plans regarding the Grand Duke. With the intrusion of adventurer Philipp Collins into the Grand Duke’s affairs, a series of frantic chases, plots and counter-plots begins… Read More »

Edgar Reitz & Ula Stöckl – Geschichten vom Kübelkind AKA Tales Of The Dumpster Kid (1971)

A woman screams, a newborn baby cries. A nurse leaves the hospital and dumps a bucketfull of slimy afterbirth into a bin.Moments later, Kubelkind (“Dumpster-kid”, an Austrian insult) emerges fully grown from the slime. “Frau Dr. Welfare”, a cold, upper middle-class do-gooder discovers Kubelkind in the dustbin and plans to “save” her. But such “polymorphous-perverse, infantile monsters” have no place in normal society…. Read More »

Jean-Marie Straub – Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt wo Gewalt herrscht AKA Not Reconciled (1965)

JONATHAN ROSENBAUM:
Quote:

“Far from being a puzzle film (like Citizen Kane or Muriel), Not Reconciled is better described as a ‘lacunary film’, in the same sense that Littré defines a lacunary body: a whole composed of agglomerated crystals with intervals among them, like the interstitial spaces between the cells of an organism”. Jean-Marie Straub’s description of his second film and second Heinrich Böll adaptation (after Machorka-Muff) helps to explain why, although it has more plot than any of his other works — containing even more characters and intrigues than Othon — it is virtually impossible to paraphrase in the form of a synopsis. Read More »

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Von heute auf morgen aka From Today Until Tomorrow (1997)

Quote:
Based on an unknown Schönberg opera from 1929, From Today Until Tomorrow explores one night in a not-quite loveless marriage. A husband and wife return from a party where she has flirted with another man, while he has cast an appraising eye toward an attractive, fashionably dressed acquaintance of his wife’s. Though each dreams, briefly, of leaving the marriage for the excitement and mystery of a new lover, in the end they decide stability and comfort are more important than the fleeting thrill of new romance. Read More »

Paul Leni – Das Tagebuch des Dr. Hart aka The Diary of Dr. Hart (1916)

“Dr. Robert Hart visits his friend Ursula von Hohenau in Saxony in July 1914. There he hears about the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia. He immediately returns to his home town where, just before mobilisation, he meets the Polish count Bransky and his daughter Jadwiga, the French Vicomte Latour and the Russian counsellor of embassy count Bronislaw Krascinsky. Bronislaw is madly in love with Jadwiga and jealous of Dr. Hart. After the outbreak of the war Dr. Hart works close to the Polish frontlines. Bronislaw leads the Russian troops in this area. When Bronislaw is wounded during a battle with the Germans Dr. Hart finds him and takes care of his wounds.” Read More »

Pola Beck – Am Himmel der Tag AKA Breaking Horizons (2012)

The 25-year-old Lara (Aylin Tezel) takes her studies in architecture not very seriously and spends her free time with her best friend Nora (Henrike of Kuick) in Techno clubs. She is surprised when she becomes pregnant from a one-night stand. Initially full of doubt, the young woman decides ultimately to get the child and draws new strength from it. But soon Lara’s fate takes a cruel twist. Read More »

Rosa von Praunheim – Der Einstein des Sex AKA The Einstein of Sex: Life and Work of Dr. M. Hirschfeld (1999)

The Einstein of Sex: Life and Work of Dr. M. Hirschfeld (German: Der Einstein des Sex) is a 1999 German film directed by Rosa von Praunheim. The plot follows the life of the Jewish doctor Magnus Hirschfeld who was a sexologist and gay socialist. In 1897, Hirschfeld founded the first political gay group in history.

In the film three of Hirschfeld’s closest friends are portrayed: Baron Hermann von Teschenberg, Karl Giese and Dorchen (a transsexual). They establish the first Institut für Sexualwissenschaft in Berlin in 1919. They try to keep the institute open during the rise of the Third Reich in the early 1930s. Read More »