Germany

Ulrike Ottinger – Unter Schnee AKA Under Snow (2011)

Quote:
In Echigo in Japan the snow often lies several feet deep well into May covering landscape and villages. Over the centuries the inhabitants have organized their lives accordingly. In order to record their very distinctive forms of everyday life, their festivals and religious rituals Ulrike Ottinger journeyed to the mythical snow country – accompanied by two Kabuki performers. Taking the parts of the students Takeo and Mako they follow in the footsteps of Bokushi Suzuki who in the mid-19th century wrote his remarkable book “Snow Country Tales”. Read More »

Angela Schanelec – Plätze in Städten AKA Places in Cities (1998)

Synopsis
Mimmi lives with her mother in an apart-ment on the edge of town. They won’t be living together for much longer because Mimmi is about to take her final exams at school and will soon move out. Mimmi’s mother is still young and sometimes wish-es Mimmi didn’t need her so much and yet, at other times, that she needed her more, like before. But Mimmi herself doesn’t say very much and it’s often hard to tell what thoughts preoccupy her. She sees her girlfriend, goes out with her boyfriend; she also has the odd flash-in-the-pan relationship with other men. She is often alone – perhaps just waiting for the time to pass, or for a new life to begin. On a school trip to Paris she meets and sleeps with a young man. When she gets back to Berlin she discovers that she is pregnant. She heads for Paris again where she spends two days trying to find the father of her child. She has no money and doesn’t even know where she can sleep. She begins to daydream – and gets more and more tired. Read More »

Julian Radlmaier – Selbstkritik eines buergerlichen Hundes AKA Self-Criticism of a Bourgeois Dog (2017)

Young filmmaker Julian, ironically played by director Julian Radlmaier himself, falls for a young expat and offers her the leading part in his wannabe Communist fairy tale film. Read More »

Christian Petzold – Jerichow (2008)

In Christian Petzold’s carefully crafted reworking of the ‘Postman Always Rings Twice’ story set in a desolate region of northeastern Germany, Ali (Hilmi Sözer) is a shrewd, well-off immigrant from Turkey. He’s married to Laura (Petzold favourite Nina Hoss), an attractive German woman whom he rescued from a bad past, and owns a string of snack bars. Life is placid, if a little joyless, until Ali makes the mistake of hiring disreputable ex-soldier Thomas (Benno Fürmann) as his driver. From then on, things are placid only on the surface… Read More »

Julian Radlmaier – Ein proletarisches Wintermärchen AKA A Proletarian Winter’s Tale (2014)

Three Georgians have to clean a castle where an arms manufacturer’s art collection is on exhibit. They aren’t welcome at the opening party and are banished to the attic, but downstairs the splendid buffet attracts them. Why not just ignore the unfair prohibition and cross the line of class society? Read More »

Paul Verhoeven – Das kalte Herz AKA The Cold Heart (1950)

Peter Munk, a poor charcoal burner, lives with his mother in The Black Forest. Poverty prevents him from marrying Lisbeth, the girl he loves. When he comes across the Little Glass Man, the good spirit of the forest, the young man asks him for assistance. His wish is granted and he becomes rich. But the fool soon loses all his money after gambling at the inn. In desperation, he asks Dutch Michael, the evil spirit of the forest, to help him to become rich again. The mean giant agrees and gives Peter all the riches in the world, but on one condition: the young man will exchange his heart for a cold stone. He can now marry Lisbeth but can a heart of ice make you and the others happy…? Read More »

Werner Herzog – Fata Morgana (1971)

Quote:
Werner Herzog’s third feature is a haunting, sardonic exploration of Africa as it was “in the beginning,” and as it becomes glutted with the wastes of technological civilization. Amos Vogel writes of the film: “Marvelous, sensual, 360-degree travelling shots of animal cadavers, barbed wire, industrial wastes, decaying trucks, sudden oil wells, ominous surrealist tableaux — all embedded in tragically alienated landscapes of sand and disassociated natives — create an obsessional, hypnotic statement whose anti-technological, anti-totalitarian, cruelly anti-sentimental humanism is subtle, overpowering, and inexplicable to shallow Left and know-nothing Right.” Read More »