Wim Wenders – In weiter Ferne, so nah! AKA Faraway, So Close! (1993)

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In Faraway, So Close! angels watch over the people of Berlin. The world weighs heavily upon these men and women. Their attachment to things diminishes their desire for the invisible. As one angel laments, “It’s so exhausting to love people who run away from us.”

Despite the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the people of Eastern Europe are anxious about the future. The angel Cassiel, played by Otto Sand, feels great compassion for them. When a young girl falls from the balcony of her high-rise building, his urge to do good is so strong that he crosses over into humanness and catches the girl in his arms on the street. All he loses in this change of existence are his wings and ponytail. Continue reading

Andrei Stefanescu – #Beings (2015)

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Beings is the second feature film of Stefanescu Andrei, after Sleep Awake in 2012, is also a micro-budget film, this time shot in Berlin with a small magical crew in the autumn of 2014.
It is a contemplative film about Eva a girl that leaves everything behind, a deep friendship with her friend Anna and her betrayed love for Teo, to lose herself into light. To get away from her skin and become perfect so that she will be loved by Teo.
The story begins with Eva having a epileptic fit and being kicked out by Teo instead of being helped. This starts the crisis of Eva and her desperate return to Teo and then the failed night of love. Everything brakes loose. Not only her, but also Teo who out of guilt begins his descent into madness together with Anna, Eva’s best friend that also loves Teo irrational and against any moral or law.
Eva’s trip has no goal but in her journey each step is like a magic moment like a step outside reality until she becomes one with the sky forgetting everything she is and starting new. Continue reading

Sohrab Shahid Saless – Grabbes letzter Sommer AKA Grabbe’s Last Summer (1980)

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Talented Iranian director Sohrab Shahid Saless has succeeded in taking on an unusual project — the life and times of a German literary figure — and making it interesting. Christian Dietrich Grabbes lived a very short life in the first half of the 19th century and is primarily known for his satire, skepticism, basurd theater and the fact that he presaged the Postmodern movement in literature. Hannibal and Don Juan and Faust are two of his better-known works. In this docudrama, his Comedy, Satire, Irony and Deeper Meaning is featured partly because it gives a drubbing to the icons of German thought that had a stranglehold on the creative process. One memorable moment in this three-and-a-half-hour story is when the alcoholic writer is caught in the throes of delirium and comes around to see his own mother as a figure of death. The irony is that an Iranian director could capture the spirit and age of a German writer so well. —allmovie guide Continue reading

Werner Schroeter – Nuit de chien AKA This Night (2008)

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Werner Schroeter is one of the German new wave’s prophets without honour. He was too confrontationally weird to take his place alongside Fassbinder, Wenders and Herzog in the international distribution sweepstakes and the disturbingly freaked-out Nuit de Chien goes a long way to suggesting why.

The film posits Pascal Greggory as a man fleeing a nameless fascist dictatorship currently in the throes of a power struggle. Fleeing the nation, he can’t seem to find his wife and in searching for her winds up in brothels, alleys and avenues of power. As in the best magic realism, the country is a place of surreal dislocation, with people doing appalling things apparently against their personal dispositions and making peace with insane circumstances. Continue reading

Helmut Käutner – Der Apfel ist ab AKA The Original Sin AKA The Apple Fell (1948)

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Lubitsch wrote:
Time again to raise more interest in post war German cinema before the Heimatfilm wave and Käutner’s witty and inventive comedy is just a fine example to do that. Again it’s in the end no masterpiece, but not unlike Geheimnisvolle Tiefe you can feel the experimental impulse and vibrancy of these early post war films.
An apple juice producer can’t decide between his wife and his secretary and tries to commit suicide. Being committed to psychiatry (the doctor being played by director Käutner himself) he falls asleep and dreams of adventures as Adam and Eve in heaven and hell. The realistic frame story is shot like a parody of a rubble film with tilted camera angles throughout, while the main story line, the dream, takes place in a surrealistic heaven and hell decoration which takes input from Dali, Miro and other artists. Continue reading

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Paul Cézanne im Gespräch mit Joachim Gasquet AKA Cézanne: Conversation with Joachim Gasquet (1989)

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Description: In 1989 Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet realized a film project that was commissioned by Virginie Herbin, director of the audiovisual department of the Musée d’Orsay. The film is based on Joachim Gasquet’s recollected and imagined dialogs with Cézanne, Ce qui m’a dit…(1921).

A montage comprising paintings by the artist, footage shot at the foot of Mont Sainte-Victoire and film scenes from both Jean Renoir’s Madame Bovary and the Straub’s The Death of Empedocles. The film is an homage to light, color, painting, nature, cinema and the terrible and glorious world of reality. Continue reading