Wolfgang Petersen – Das Boot [The Director’s Cut] (1981)

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Plot synopsis by Don Kaye from allmovieguide:

Das Boot is one of the most gripping and authentic war movies ever made. Based on an autobiographical novel by German World War II photographer Lothar-Guenther Buchheim, the film follows the lives of a fearless U-Boat captain (Jurgen Prochnow) and his inexperienced crew as they patrol the Atlantic and Mediterranean in search of Allied vessels, taking turns as hunter and prey. There’s very little plot, so the movie’s power comes from both its riveting, epic battle scenes and its details of the boring hours spent waiting for orders or signs of the enemy. With the exception of one staunch Hitler Youth lieutenant, none of the crew is particularly loyal to the Nazis, and some are openly hostile toward their Fuhrer; this allows viewer sympathy with the men as they perform their laborious, monotonous duties in cramped, filthy quarters, or await death as depth charges explode all around the sub. Prochnow is excellent as the nerves-of-steel commander, and many of the supporting actors — all German — are solid as well, although the characterizations border on war movie clichés (the young crewman who has left behind his pregnant girlfriend, the Chief Engineer whose wife is seriously ill). Continue reading

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Ramon Zürcher – Das merkwürdige Kätzchen AKA The strange little cat (2013)

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Synopsis:
Siblings Karin and Simon are visiting their parents and their little sister Clara. That evening, other relatives will be joining them for dinner. Over the course of the day, the washing machine is repaired, people sit together at the kitchen table, carry out an experiment with orange peel, talk about lungs, and sew on a button that was deliberately torn off. This sequence of family scenes in a Berlin flat complete with cat and dog creates a wondrous world of the everyday: Coming and going, all manner of doings, each movement leading to the next, one word following another. It is a carefully staged chain reaction of actions and sentences. And in between, silent gazes and anecdotes about experiences. The people act oddly even-temperedly; their dialogues are direct and unemotional. Even the pets and the material surroundings play a part. Some objects seem alive as if by magic. Commonplace actions and familiar items appear absurd and eerie in this narrative cosmos. Putting the absurdities of daily life on display and translating unspectacular events into an exciting choreography of everyday life, this film is no small feat.
(Written by Birgit Kohler) Continue reading

Denis Héroux – Born For Hell (1976)

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IMDB quote –

“In My time as a sucker for obscure exploitation and trash movies, I have seen quite a bunch of vile and disturbing stuff. Yet it is rare that I am shocked about anything. After all its just movies. There is exceptions though, and Denis Héroux’s ‘Born for Hell’, with the weird aka ‘Naked Massacre’, is one of those movies that hit Me straight in the heart. Let Me just point out clearly that ‘Born for Hell’ is a excellent movie! But it isn’t something I really would be in a hurry to re-watch! It ain’t often I get such a bad feeling in the stomach from a movie. Continue reading

Jason Barker – Marx Reloaded (2011)

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“Marx Reloaded”

a film by Jason Barker

Produced by Medea Film – Irene Höfer in coproduction with Films Noirs for ZDF

TV premiere: 11 April 2011, 11.20 pm, arte

“Marx Reloaded” is a cultural documentary that examines the relevance of German socialist and philosopher Karl Marx’s ideas for understanding the global economic and financial crisis of 2008—09. The crisis triggered the deepest global recession in 70 years and prompted the US government to spend more than 1 trillion dollars in order to rescue its banking system from collapse. Today the full implications of the crisis in Europe and around the world still remain unclear. Nevertheless, should we accept the crisis as an unfortunate side-effect of the free market? Or is there another explanation as to why it happened and its likely effects on our society, our economy and our whole way of life? Continue reading

Hans W. Geissendörfer – Die gläserne Zelle aka The Glass Cell (1978)

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From IMDB:

Noteworthy crime movie

A rather forgotten but very interesting adaptation of a novel by Patricia Highsmith. The plot is simple: A man, unjustly convicted for criminal negligence to 5 years imprisonment, gets released from jail and is being increasingly entrapped to a web of jealously regarding his beautiful wife’s activities while he was locked-up. The film adroitly examines the corrosive effects of jealously that gradually generate a form of mental confinement which effectively proves to be equally unbearable with the physical one. It unfolds with almost clinical precision, its use of location is inspired and the performances sharp and convincing (avoid the dubbed English version). The climax could have been stronger but it generally captures the amoralism of Highsmith’s work as well as some other more well-known adaptations of her work. Continue reading

Dietrich Brüggemann – Kreuzweg AKA Stations of the Cross (2014)

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Maria is 14 years old. Her family is part of a fundamentalist Catholic community. Maria lives her everyday life in the modern world, yet her heart belongs to Jesus. She wants to follow him, to become a saint and go to heaven – just like all those holy children she’s always been told about. So Maria goes through 14 stations, just like Jesus did on his path to Golgatha, and reaches her goal in the end. Not even Christian, a boy she meets at school, can stop her, even if in another world, they might have become friends, or even more. Left behind is a broken family that finds comfort in faith, and the question if all these events were really so inevitable. STATIONS OF THE CROSS is an indictment and, at the same time, the legend of a saint. It’s a story of religion, devotion and radical faith, and the film itself comes along just as radical as the subject matter, telling the story in only 14 fixed-angle long shots, allowing the viewer to contemplate the interactions on screen in an entirely different way than in a traditional film. Continue reading

Katrin Gebbe – Tore tanzt AKA Nothing Bad Can Happen (2013)

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Synopsis
Inspired by atrocious true events, Nothing Bad Can Happen follows Tore, a young lost soul involved with an underground Christian punk movement who falls in with a dysfunctional family curious to test his seemingly unwavering faith. After a chance encounter helping Benno, a stranded driver and managing to help start his car again in what appears to be a miracle, Tore is invited back to his home and becomes friendly with him, his wife and two kids. Before long, Tore moves in and gradually becomes part of his family. However, Benno can’t resist playing a cruel game, designed to challenge Tore’s beliefs. As his trials become more and more extreme, Tore finds his capacity for love and resilience pushed to its limits, and beyond. Continue reading

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