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

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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.

Like her Nazi documentaries of 1935, the short Tag der Freiheit (Day of Liberty) and the classic propaganda feature Triumph of the Will, Der Sieg des Glaubens has no voiceover commentary and few explanatory titles. The activities captured by Riefenstahl’s cameras include the welcoming of foreign diplomats and other politicians at the Nuremberg train station; Adolf Hitler’s arrival at the airport and his meeting with important party members; massive Nazi troop parades; and Hitler’s speech on the tenth anniversary of the National Socialist movement. Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Yella (2007)

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Christian Petzold’s drama deals with a woman, who leaves her hometown for a promising job and a new life,
but is haunted by the truths of the past. As her marriage to Ben broke and her professional career has no future
in her native town in the Eastern part of Germany, Yella has decided to search for a job in the West. When she gets
to know Philipp, a smart executive at a private equity company in Hanover, she becomes his assistant and gets involved
into the world of ruthless and big business. Realizing her dreams could come true with Philipp’s help, she starts hearing
voices and sounds from her past, which menace her new and better life… Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Polizeiruf 110: Kreise (2015)

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German review by T. Groh:

Quote:
[…] Ein Meta-Fernsehkrimi. Für dieses Vorhaben bietet der BR-“Polizeiruf” um Kommissar von Meuffels einem etablierten Auteur wie Christian Petzold das ideale Experimentierlabor: Schon die Initialzündung im Jahr 2011 (Dominik Grafs “Cassandras Warnung”) setzte einen deutlichen Akzent, der sich im weiteren Verlauf der Reihe bestätigte: Der Münchner “Polizeiruf” (mit weiteren Beiträgen u.a. von Hans Steinbichler, Leander Haußmann, Hendrik Handloegten, Jan Bonny, nochmal Graf) ist im Wesentlichen ein Regieformat, das Reibeflächen zwischen Formatvorgabe und individueller Handschrift nicht nur zulässt, sondern offen sucht. In verlässlicher Regelmäßigkeit entstanden hier die besten oder wenigstens interessantesten Fernsehkrimis der vergangenen Jahre. Und mit dem von Matthias Brandt kongenial verkörperten Kommissar von Meuffels etablierte sich eine der spannendsten, trotz gedämpftem Spiel facettenreichsten Ermittlerfiguren. […] Continue reading

Edgar Reitz – Die andere Heimat – Chronik einer Sehnsucht AKA Home from Home: Chronicle of a Vision (2013)

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When Edgar Reitz made the Heimat film series in 1984 he created an incredible chronicle of German rural life in the 20th century. He went on to release another couple of mini-series, bringing events up to the modern era. At over 53 hours they were beautifully made and together are an epic saga of the Simon family and the village of Schabbach. He returns to familiar ground for this prequel, charting the fortunes of the same clan between 1840-1844, in Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision.

Jacob (Jan Dieter Schneider) dreams of escaping the hard, oppressive and poor life in Schabbach by emigrating to the tropics. His father (Rüdiger Kriese), the local blacksmith, despairs that his son is stuck with his nose in a book whilst there so much work to do. His mother (Marita Breuer) on the other hand, is happy to indulge his daydreaming. He falls for Jettchen (Antonia Bill), the daughter of a mill owner, but they are fated not to be together. When his brother Gustav (Maximilian Scheidt) returns from war, a drunken night with Jettchen leads to her getting pregnant, whilst Jacob is arrested after his first brush with rebellion. Continue reading

Arthur Maria Rabenalt – Martina (1949)

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Synopsis:

The young Martina gets towards the end of the war of World War II to a pimp and so she goes first to the juvenile court and then in the care. Here she meets her older sister Irene, who stretches out his friend Volker. First, they want to avoid the conflict and flees, then she comes back to reconciliation in the care. Her resolutions does not keep a long time and she goes back to prostitution. She becomes witness of a murder and gets to escape in an accident. Finally, Martina believes she has carried out the murder . Continue reading

Harun Farocki – Parallel 2 – 4 (2014)

The four‐part cycle Parallel deals with the image genre of computer animation. The series focuses on the construction, visual landscape and inherent rules of computer-animated worlds.

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Cinema’s onscreen worlds have always borne an indexical bond to the real, thanks to film’s ability to register traces of physical reality and preserve them as enduring images. What happens when computer-generated video game images—images possessing no such indexical bond—usurp film as the predominant medium of visual worldmaking? How does one’s relation to onscreen heroes shift when we no longer identify with real bodies, but with affectless avatars scarcely possessing a face? Continue reading

Helmut Käutner – In jenen Tagen aka Seven Journeys (1947)

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Synopsis:

Told in seven chapters, Käutner’s first postwar film portrays the lives of average people overwhelmed and traumatized by the impact of fascism. Käutner uses the framing device of an automobile whose various owners serve as the film’s protagonists and initiate its episodic structure. The characters represent an interesting cross-section of the German people including a deserting soldier, a Jewish couple and a composer who has been labeled as subversive. During a time when most Germans wanted to forget the past, Käutner eschewed the controlled setting of the UFA studios and chose to film in the bombed out streets of Berlin, crafting a humanistic rendering of recent history. Continue reading