Tom Tykwer – Die tödliche Maria AKA Deadly Maria [+Extras] (1993)

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Synopsis by Sandra Brennan
This German psychodrama looks into the events that lead an introverted woman into taking extreme action against her oppressors. Poor Maria has spent her life being ignored and pushed around by men. First there was her invalid father whom she waited on hand and foot. Then there was her cold and emotionally distant husband. Maria has been internalizing her rage for years. Her anger finally erupts when her husband takes the little bit of money she’d been secretly saving over the last few years. She kills both her husband and her father. The film ends with her new boyfriend’s distressed facial expression as he learns of her murders. Continue reading

Harun Farocki – Parallel I (2012)

Parallel I opens up a history of styles in computer graphics. The first games of the 1980s consisted of only horizontal and vertical lines. This abstraction was seen as a failing, and today representations are oriented towards photo‐realism.

“For over one hundred years photography and film were the leading media. From the start, they served not only to inform and entertain, but were also media of scientific research and documentation. That’s also why these reproduction techniques were associated with notions of objectivity and contemporaneity — whereas images created by drawing and painting indicated subjectivity and the transrational. Continue reading

Florian Gottschick – Nachthelle (2015)

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A drama with a supernatural edge, this genre-crossing gem finds two couples visiting a home from their past, and sexual tension that brings out the worst in each other. Long-buried grudges resurface and it seems unlikely the couples will return intact. Faced with an outcome that will upset their delicate balance of happiness, the world offers them a bizarre opportunity to correct it. Continue reading

Andreas Dresen – Stilles Land AKA Silent Country (1992)

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Up until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of communist rule in East Germany, the most anyone in the outlying regions of that country knew about its overall situation was that nothing in their lives had changed. Everything went on just as it always had. In this story, set around that time, a naive, young and enthusiastic drama-school graduate has been given the job of directing a theater group in a grim, super-conservative factory town. His spirits are undaunted when the locals beat him up in bars when he orders tea instead of beer or by the evident lack of enthusiasm his theater company has for producing a revival of Waiting for Godot. However, when the winds of change sweep through the country and through his troupe, while everyone else is given a new lease on life, it begins to seem as though he has lost something essential to the continuation of his. Continue reading

Sebastian Schipper – Victoria (2015)

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Quote:
Victoria, a young woman from Madrid, meets four local Berliners outside a nightclub. Sonne and his friends promise to show her a good time and the real side of the city. But these lads have gotten themselves into hot water: they owe someone a dangerous favor that requires repaying that evening. As Victoria’s flirtation with Sonne deepens into something more, he convinces her to come along for the ride. And later, when things become more ominous and possibly lethally dangerous for Sonne, she insists on coming along. As the night takes on an ever more menacing character, what started out as a good time, quickly spirals out of control. As dawn approaches, Victoria and Sonne address the inevitable: it’s all or nothing and they abandon themselves to a heart-stopping race into the depths of hell. Continue reading

Richard Blank – Friedliche Tage AKA Peaceful Days (1984)

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Quote:
The dramatic arc of Friedliche Tage was developed from images and the people who sustained those images. As long as the film is set in the building where the executions are carried out and the delinquents await their end, the tale is told with “classic” suspense. After Hanna leaves there with Robert, her potential executioner played by Branko Samarowski the traditional, linear narrative form dissolves into individual motifs; images that taken together show that these two, as a couple, can’t manage in the “normal” world. And in the end, some viewers are happy that the executioner returns to his old domain. He knows his way around there, he admits to being guilty of leaving. His career is advancing there. Happy ending? Continue reading