Jan Peters – Aber der Sinn des Lebens (1990 – 1996)

Aber den Sinn des Lebens hab’ ich immer noch nicht rausgefunden / … but I Still Haven’t Figured Out the Meaning of Life (OmeU)

Every year on his birthday, Jan Peters filmed one reel of Super-8 material; later on he turned to video. In these few minutes of film he reveals something from and about himself. Maybe it is exhibitionism – the way he chatters on, until the blotches on the film indicate the end of the reel. Enthusiastic, sometimes tired, often doubtful, he, like everyone else, quarrels with what has come about from his own actions. On top of this, Peters, the filmmaker, blurs the individual of the same name with his dense texts and images to create something quite different: Jan Peters, the fictional character. Continue reading

Fatih Akin – Auf der anderen Seite aka The Edge of Heaven (2007)

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Nejat seems disapproving about his widower father Ali’s choice of prostitute Yeter for a live-in girlfriend. But he grows fond of her when he discovers she sends money home to Turkey for her daughter’s university studies. Yeter’s sudden death distances father and son. Nejat travels to Istanbul to search for Yeter’s daughter Ayten. Political activist Ayten has fled the Turkish police and is already in Germany. She is befriended by a young woman, Lotte, who invites rebellious Ayten to stay in her home, a gesture not particularly pleasing to her conservative mother Susanne. When Ayten is arrested and her asylum plea is denied, she is deported and imprisoned in Turkey. Lotte travels to Turkey,where she gets caught up in the seemingly hopeless situation of freeing Ayten. Continue reading

Maria Speth – Töchter AKA Daughters (2014)

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Agnes, a teacher from the Hessian provinces, has come to Berlin to identify a dead girl who might be Lydia, her runaway daughter. It turns out not to be Lydia, but Agnes stays in the city anyway. Still frantically looking, she comes a young stray called Ines who no longer leaves her side.
Ines could easily have appeared in Maria Speth’s documentary 9 Leben, a portrait of young people who decide to live on the street from an early age. Whereas in Madonnen the director told the story of a young woman incapable of taking responsibility for her children whilst continuing to give birth to more, this film is about a caring mother whose daughter is indeed loved, her disappearance leaving behind a blind spot. It is Ines whose provocative behaviour and intrusive questions force Agnes to rethink the relationship between herself and her daughter. The camera is always close by their faces, whether during nocturnal car journeys or hotel room discussions, but also leaves enough space for these two people to collide, drawing each other out of their shells and growing ever closer in quite singular fashion. (-berlinale.de) Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Cuba Libre (1996)

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Imdb:
WELL-MADE BUT DEPRESSING DRAMA
by jan onderwater (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Depressing, dark love drama with thin story line, that makes you wonder whether the makers believe in life at all. The male protagonist is constantly running into problems and gets beaten up time and time again, so much so that after a while I could not help laughing, which cannot have been the intention of the makers: they are vèry, vèry serious. The crux of the film seems to be a sharp comment on the money driven German society, in which it is impossible to show any real affection; of course this could be a dilemma of the makers themselves: money is not the problem, but what you do with it. Not forgotten is to include an extreme right wing man whose self-proclaimed purpose in life it is to free the street of socially undesirable elements. It is all very heavy symbolism with no relief, but it is certainly well-made with a script that – as the film progresses – becomes less and less surprising. The two acting leads are good.; fine cinematography. Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Phoenix (2014)

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Quote:
A smoky duet between double-bass and piano at the start of Christian Petzold’s Phoenix promises a dose of film noir. That promise is complicated, if not exactly broken, by what follows. But then, this is a movie all about disguises, reinventions and deceptive appearances.

It begins with a monstrously tantalising scenario. In mid-1940s Germany, a vehicle is halted at night by US soldiers. A figure is whimpering in the passenger seat, their face concealed by blood-soaked bandages. Perhaps we are in for some Eyes Without a Face-style horror, then, rather than noir? Half-wrong again. Continue reading

Klaus Lemke – Rocker (1972)

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Synopsis

The most authentic movie about Hamburg in 1970’s – Rock’n’roll, sex, drugs, 1970’s lifestyle, 1970’s hairstyle, murder, prostitution, Santana, bikers, Reeperbahn, and St. Pauli provide the basis for the story featuring Gerd and Modschiedler, the ill-assorted couple (if at all amateur actors, who act themselves) of this fantastic movie.

The most outstanding characteristic is the idiom of the 1970’s – as a German native speaker you will have lots of fun watching this movie. From my perspective the funny but very authentic dialogs are the key highlights – not only of the movie but also of the 1970’s. Continue reading