Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck – Das Leben der Anderen AKA The Lives of Others (2006)

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Quote:
“I’m your audience,” Ulrich Mühe confesses to an actress in a bar somewhere in the middle of The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen), and he means it in two ways: one, he has seen her perform on the stage but two, he is a member of the Stasi, the secret police arm of the East German government whose stated goal is “to know everything”, and he has been keeping her and her playwright boyfriend under surveillance for some time. The Lives of Others is concerned with three things: ostensibly and obviously it tackles the effects of government oppression, specifically on the lives of artists, but on a subtler level it also addresses the transformative power of art and how our ordinary lives can be interpreted as narrative. Continue reading

Werner Herzog – Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes AKA Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972) (HD)

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Quote:
For much of the time, the location consisted of three differently-sized rafts slowly gliding down the head-waters of the mighty Amazon river: one for the action proper, a second to set up the camera on, and a third one, dangling a few miles behind so as not to be in frame, providing basic accommodation and meals. Scorching sun, high humidity and mosquitoes galore took their toll. At one point Kinski, forever true to his reputation, insisted on the fulfilment of his contract: if no air-con room at night, no work. With this luxury about 1,000 km away, Herzog saw only one chance to save his film: at gunpoint he threatened to kill Kinski and later explain his disappearance with an unfortunate incident in the perilous waters. As we all know, Kinski kept on working. Continue reading

Matthias Glasner – Der Freie Wille AKA The Free Will (2006)

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AMG: Theo (Jürgen Vogel) has raped several women and is, after several years of committing acts of sexual violence, caught. He is committed to a psychiatric prison and, after 12 years in prison, he is released to return to normal life. Theo finds work as a printer, goes regularly to therapy, and lives in a supervised group. But Theo finds that finding a normal life isn’t all that easy. Functioning more like a wooden puppet than a person, Theo wanders through his post-prison days more like an inhibited loner with severe difficulties in his social encounters with women. In spite of overwhelming loneliness and growing depression, Theo fights returning to his old violent ways. And then a ray of hope enters Theo’s life: he gets to know Netti (Sabine Timoteo), the daughter of the domineering printing house owner. Netti mistrusts men in the same way that Theo mistrusts women. The two outsiders befriend each other and eventually fall in love. But Nettie knows nothing about Theo’s past and his problems — until one night when Theo decides that he can’t keep living a lie. Der Freie Wille tells the story of a man who is given freedom but still remains a prisoner inside. Continue reading

Oliver Hirschbiegel – Das Experiment (2001)

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Plot:
The movie is based on the infamous “Stanford Prison Experiment” conducted in 1971. A makeshift prison is set up in a research lab, complete with cells, bars and surveillance cameras. For two weeks 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards. The ‘prisoners’ are locked up and have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the ‘guards’ are told simply to retain order without using physical violence. Everybody is free to quit at any time, thereby forfeiting payment. In the beginning the mood between both groups is insecure and rather emphatic. But soon quarrels arise and the wardens employ ever more drastic sanctions to confirm their authority. Continue reading

Marc Rothemund – Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage AKA Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)

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Sophia Magdalena Scholl (May 9, 1921 – February 22, 1943) was a prominent member of the White Rose non-violent resistance movement in Nazi Germany. She was convicted of treason after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich with her brother Hans. As a result, they were both executed by guillotine.

Since the 1970s, Scholl has been celebrated as one of the great German heroes who actively opposed the Third Reich during the Second World War. Continue reading

Helke Sander – Dazlak – Skinhead (1997)

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road movie in which a racist skinhead is stuck in a car with a  black guy
by german feminist film maker Helke Sander

“Schwarz, weiß, doof!” – Mit diesem Spruch sagt die vorlaute Göre Jenny, was sie von ihren beiden ungewollten Mitreisenden hält. Einer davon ist der Skinhead “Dazlak”. Jenny las ihn vom Strassengraben auf, nachdem er sein Auto gegen einen Baum gesetzt hatte. zum “Dank” kotzt die Glatze den Rolls Royce ihres Chefs voll und demoliert die Scheinwerfer. Ein übler Zeitgenosse, jedenfalls auf den ersten Blick und für Leute, die sich selbst für “etwas Besseres” halten.
Unterwegs verstaut Jenny noch den farbigen Anhalter Kola auf dem Rücksitz, der sich in seiner Haut nicht gerade wohl fühlt neben dem vermeintlichen “Ausländerhasser”.
Genügend Sprengstoff also für eine turbulente Reise, die 24 Stunden später für Überraschungen sorgt und so manches Missverständnis korrigiert… Continue reading

Hans-Jürgen Syberberg – Ludwig – Requiem für einen jungfräulichen König AKA Ludwig – Requiem for a Virgin King (1972)

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Synopsis:
The story of the legendary King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1886), his opera interest and friendship with theatre personalities such as Richard Wagner and Joseph Kainz, and at the same time a reflection of the German 1800s. Continue reading