Germany

Anatole Litvak – La chanson d’une nuit (1933)

Opera singer Enrico Ferraro, tired of his too many engagements, jumps off the train escaping from his manager and changes to another going to the Riviera. He makes a friend and stops at a village, where (it seems) he can at last have some well deserved holidays, with the added interest of meeting a beautiful girl in the surroundings. Read More »

Christoph Schlingensief – Mutters Maske AKA Mother’s Mask (1988)

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Mutters Maske aka Mother’s Mask is a free adaptation of the film Opfergang (1944) aka The Great Sacrifice of Veit Harlan.

Schlingensief exposes his source material’s dangerous proximity to kitsch and camp by reducing the genre conventions known from Harlan, Sirk, Fassbinder & Co to the level of a daily soap: set within a noble family from the German Ruhr, Schlingensief’s story revolving about Willy von Mühlenbeck’s tragic love to terminally ill neighbor girl Äls (Susanne Bredehöft) and the inheritance intrigues by his evil brother Martin von Mühlenbeck (Helge Schneider) creaks with melodramatic devices and self-conscious dialogues. Rather than being a mere spoof, “Mother’s Mask” is perhaps Schlingensief’s purest black comedy. Read More »

Helke Sander – Der Beginn aller Schrecken ist Liebe AKA The Trouble with Love (1984)

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In Love Is the Beginning of All Terror the paradoxical politics of emotion are parodied when two liberated, though jealous, women vie for the same man and perform for his gaze. The film addresses the oppressive structures that shape interpersonal relations as well as collective histories commented on in a voice-over. Read More »

Herbert Achternbusch – Die Atlantikschwimmer AKA The Atlantic Swimmers [+Extras] (1976)

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Achternbuschs zweiter Film
Kurzbeschreibung
Zwei Münchner wollen, von Leben und Liebe ermattet, der quälenden Enge ihrer Heimat entfliehen, indem sie den Atlantik durchschwimmen. Achternbusch erzählt in hintersinnig-vertrackten Bildern und Dialogen von der Utopie eines anderen Lebens und von den Mühlsteinen des deutschen Alltags, die den Helden am Halse hängen – nachdem sprichwörtlich gewordenen Motto: “Du hast keine Chance, aber nutze sie!” Read More »

Herbert Achternbusch – Hick’s Last Stand [+Extras] (1990)

Synopsis
[In Hick’s Last Stand] we witness yet another incarnation of a Last Bavarian Mohican, incoherently staggering across the badlands of South Dakota and Wyoming in white cowboy boots, black leather jacket, and a feather on his hat. Without dialogue, without other players besides Herbert Achternbusch, and with the most minimal narrative progression, the film consists only of an image track over which we hear Hick’s extended monologue, a declaration of love to the absent Mary, occasionally interrupted by songs by Judy Garland, Native American chants, and classical music. Read More »

Herbert Achternbusch – Das Andechser Gefühl aka The Andechs Feeling (1974)

Synopsis
In Achternbusch’s first feature, an anxious teacher (played, as is the lead role in all his films, by the director) sits in a beer garden on the hill of the Andechs monastery. While flies drown in his mug of beer, he confronts a life of failure: the wife he ignored, the child he neglected, the teaching duties he has shirked, and his doomed efforts at winning tenure from school officials. Only a dream from the past – the memory of a former liaison with a film star with whom he shared “the Andechs feeling, a feeling that we are not alone”, provides sustenance. Despite an unexpected series of events, longing in Achternbusch’s world ultimately remains stronger than fulfillment and thirst better than beer. Read More »

Christoph Schlingensief – Das Deutsche Kettensägen Massaker AKA The German Chainsaw Massacre (1990)

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Sounding like some cheap pastiche, The German Chainsaw Massacre comes as a surprisingly independent feature, able to stand on it’s own without the crutch of it’s predecessor. However, Tobe Hooper’s movie is not so much tipped and winked as screamed in the face of in this relentless madness and more specifically in a similarly edited chainsaw chase through a forest. Choosing to loosen Hooper’s tight bolts of ‘humour’, Schlingensief loses dramatic intensity but gains an awesome sense of the egregious: unemployed customs officials form appalling folk groups at the West/East border and a woman with a knife up her butt sits down… Read More »