The 2022 German Film Festival brings a collection of 25 films to Perth in June. The Festival showcases the best contemporary German films direct from major European festivals, as well new Austrian and Swiss cinema. While I’m sure you won’t have time to see all 25 films, here are 7 tips from me.
1. The Black Square Australian premiere (Comedy Drama)
Vincent, a struggling art thief and failed artist has stolen Malewitsch’s legendary abstract painting ‘Black Square’. The sale to a Russian oligarch and his art expert Martha is set to take place on a cruise ship. When Vincent and his younger partner Nils realise that their accomplice with the tickets and fake ID’s is a no-show, they desperately overpower two men to sneak their way aboard. To their horror they quickly learn that their victims are part of the cruise’s entertainment. Desperate not to blow their cover, they are forced to become David Bowie and Elvis Presley doubles – with varying degrees of success! Despite their best efforts, it is not long before passengers and crew discover their true identities and the value of their loot. A wild goose chase for the ‘Black Square’ on the high seas ensues.
2. A Stasi Comedy Australian premiere (Comedy)
Set in Communist East Berlin in the early 1980s. Ludger (David Kross) is hired by the Stasi to infiltrate a subversive countercultural movement in the district of Prenzlauer Berg. After falling in love with the mysterious Nathalie and sleeping with his first target, Corinna, Ludger ends up living two lives, one as an underground poet and one as a Stasi agent, both of which eventually come back to haunt him 30 years later.
3. The Forger Australian premiere (Biography Drama)
Based on a true story of Samson a Jewish artist who hid in plain sight in Berlin during the 1940’s. A young Jewish man, Cioma Shonhaus (Louis Hofmann) refuses to let the Nazis take away his zest for life. When he discovers his talent for forging documents (especially passports) he sees this as the ideal way to help not only himself but also others escape deportation.
4. The House Australian premiere (Drama, Thriller)
In the near future, renowned journalist Johann Hellstom is banned from working by the right-wing populist government in power in Germany. He retreats with his wife Lucia to their luxurious fully networked weekend home. As political conditions in the country continue to worsen due to an alleged left-wing terrorist attack, their smart-home increasingly develops its own agenda, transforming from a peaceful refuge to a dangerous antagonist. The house begins to manipulate the couple and play them off against each other by revealing intimate secrets. Finally, the situation in the house comes to a head when two suspected resistance fighters hunted by the regime show up at the door seeking shelter.
5. Monte Verita Australian premiere (Historical Drama)
In 1906 a young mother of two Hanna Leitner wants to free herself from her bourgeois role and its social constraints. She abandons her family and flees to the sanatorium at Monte Verita. When she arrives at the picturesque retreat in the Swiss Alps, she finds more than just relief for her lungs: an eclectic group of artists and scientist have formed a loose community here, searching for healing and a utopia. There, in the idyllic countryside of southern Switzerland, Hanna not only discovers her passion for the art of photography, but also finds her own voice. Yet soon she is faced with a heart wrenching decision, can she return to her family without giving up on herself? The film is based on the true story about the world’s first hippie commune.
6. The German Lesson Australian premiere (Drama)
In post-WWII Germany, Siggi Jepsen (Tom Gronau) is imprisoned in juvenile detention and tasked with writing an essay on the subject of “duty”. He suffers from writer’s block and the paper remains blank. Put in solitary confinement, and alone with himself and his feelings, he finds the clarity to recall the memories of his childhood during the war.
|7. Five Films Over Five Decades|
To celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Goethe-Institut in Australia, a specially curated selection of outstanding German cinema from the last five decades including: The Tin Drum; Solo Sunny; Run Lola Run, remember that one?; Good Bye Lenin! and Victoria which is shot in one continuous take, it follows a young Spanish woman who finds her flirtation with a local Berlin man turn potentially deadly on a night out with his friends.
See www.germanfilmfestival.com.au for more information.