Germany

Cynthia Beatt & Rudolf Thome – Beschreibung einer Insel AKA Description of an Island (1979)

Quote:
This film with a marked ethnographic nature, which was filmed without a pre-established plan and with a script that crosses the lines of documentary and fiction, tells the story of a group of five Germans who arrive on a remote island in the South Pacific called Parapara and belonging to Vanuatu. Their aim is to prepare a publication on the lives of the inhabitants of this remote island. The tasks were personally assigned: one would study the language, another would study the fauna; another the traditions, institutions and family systems; another the plants and another the songs and stories. Read More »

Leni Riefenstahl – Der Sieg des Glaubens AKA Victory of the Faith (1933)

Plot
Der Sieg des Glaubens (English: The Victory of Faith) is the first documentary directed by Leni Riefenstahl, who was hired despite opposition from Nazi officials that resented employing a woman — and a non-Party member too. Her film recounts the Fifth Party Rally of the Nazi Party, which occurred in Nuremberg from August 30 to September 3 in 1933. Read More »

Byambasuren Davaa – Das Lied von den zwei Pferden AKA The Two Horses of Genghis Khan (2009)

Summary
A promise, an old, destroyed horse head violin and a song believed lost lead the singer Urna back to Outer Mongolia. Her grandmother was forced to destroy her once loved violin in the tumult of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The ancient song of the Mongols, “The Two Horses of Genghis Khan”, was engraved on the violin’s neck. Only the violin’s neck and head survived the cultural storm. Now it is time to fulfill the promise that Urna made to her grandmother. Arrived in Ulan Bator, Urna brings the still intact parts of the violin – head and neck – to Hicheengui, a renowned maker of horse head violins, who will build a new body for the old instrument in the coming weeks. Then, Urna leaves for the interior to look there for the song’s missing verses. But she will be disappointed. None of the people whom she meets on the way appears to still know the old melody of the Mongols. Written by silke Read More »

Hartmut Bitomsky – Staub AKA Dust (2007)

A speck of dust is just about perceptible to the naked eye. It’s the smallest visible subject a film can be about – it’s a medium of disappearance and a criteria of perception. Wherever we go, it has already beaten us; wherever we turn, it follows us. It is our past, our present and our future. It is universal and has a name in every language. It keeps housewives busy, as well as scientists, inventors, artists and entire industrial branches. It is blamed for feeding vermin and causing illness. It takes ownership of our possessions, it penetrates laboratories, it creates planets and galaxies. We’re surrounded by it, it gets inside us, we shed it… It nestles right into the despair of its own existence. Read More »

Rolf Hansen – Der Weg ins Freie AKA The Way to Freedom (1941)

Synopsis:
‘In Vienna, during the 1848 Revolution, opera singer Antonia Corvelli marries Detlev von Blossin, a rich landowner. But, as she refuses to give up her career, her infuriated husband returns to Pomerania without her. After falling into the clutches of the cruel and wicked count Stefan Oginski, whose lover she unfortunately becomes, Antonia has no other choice but to pass for dead in order to escape him. She then returns to Italy where she joins small theater companies under various aliases. Until one day she is overtaken by her fate…’
– Guy Bellinger Read More »

Herrmann Zschoche – Karla AKA Carla (1965)

Synopsis:
‘When she discovers her students are hiding their true thoughts and feelings, Karla, a young and idealistic teacher at the start of her career, goes against the routine opportunism, hypocritisy and small-mindedness all around her. Her superiors view her actions with unease, however, and eventually step in to discipline her.
This film, written by renowned author Ulrich Plenzdorf, was considered nihilistic, skeptical and hostile by officials. It became one of the dozen East German films banned in 1965-66. Only in 1990, after the fall of the Wall, was Karla finally screened in cinemas.’
– DEFA Film Library Read More »

Richard Oswald – Die Blume von Hawaii (1933)

Suzanne, aspiring artist working in a Parisian night club, is hired by two foreigners to be partnerin for the main singer, on the condition that they must travel to Hawaii. When they arrive, the American governor is aware that the islanders, headed by Prince Lilo Taro, might become rebellious. Read More »