This year marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, an anniversary reflected in one part of the 2019 German Film Festival program. On top of this the Festival offers 28 films, including six films specifically for the kids (KINO for Kids). The preview movie 25Km/hr was a true delight that everyone was talking about days afterwards. Here are my top six picks for this year.
25Km/hr is a truly delightful road trip comedy. Estranged brothers Christian (Lars Eidinger) and Georg (Bjarne Mädel) haven’t seen each other for 20 years. Christian moved away to take on the world while George became a cabinet maker in their home town, while caring for their ageing father. When their father passes away the brothers are reunited at the funeral. At the wake, the two partake in a boyhood game of ping pong, something they were rather good at. As the frost between them thaws, thanks to a drink or several, George finds himself under the ping pong table looking at a map. The map outlines their boyhood dream of driving across Germany on their mopeds. So begins a journey from the Black Forrest to the Baltic Sea – never faster than 25 Km/hr.
25Km/hr is pure escapism, literally. Think Thelma and Louise, meets Motorcycle Diaries but on mopeds. The brothers tale will warm your heart and have you pondering what family means. This is not to be missed.
I’ve yet to see the following movies, but they’re the one’s I’ve put on my list.
Set in East Germany at the height of the Cold War in 1979. Günter Wetzel (David Kross), a bricklayer, and his friend Peter Strelzyk (Friedrich Mücke), an electrician, can no longer bear the oppressive regime. The two men and their wives resolve to undertake a mission to secretly build a hot air balloon from scratch that will carry them and their families over the border fence to freedom. Over the course of the next 18 months they sew 1,000 square metres of cloth and gather countless weather reports from West German radio with the Stasi (State Police) hot on their heels. A nerve-racking battle against the clock begins…
Toni loves his espresso machine. Paul adores his smart phone. Toni can’t do anything without his hair-growth pills. Paul can’t function without Amazon. All hilarious hell breaks loose when a drunken argument at a party leads to an unthinkable wager between the two men: they vow to rid themselves of all possessions for 100 days. Only allowing themselves to retrieve one item out of storage per day, Paul and Toni are forced to confront what is really important in their lives, and what they can do without. Childhood best friends Paul and Toni – a competitive pair who are largely bound by their insatiable love of stuff.
Dubbed as an all-star, action-packed comedy that packs a punch the pitch is intriguing. Mel (former European Shooting Star Hannah Herzsprung) is a professional criminal and single mum looking to pull off her greatest coup – a diamond heist. What she doesn’t know is that her choice of hostage in the nerdy, easily panic-stricken Franny (played by director Herfurth) will turn the entire situation on its head. With the Berlin underworld quickly closing in on them, as well as the forces of law and disorder, the mismatched and constantly fighting pair soon form the most unlikely of friendships, becoming the perfect tag team. But when Mel adds the handsome cop Harry (Frederick Lau) to her collection of hostages and Franny immediately falls for him, the situation shifts from utter chaos to uproarious mayhem, and the entire escape is jeopardized.
While performing the autopsy on a particularly gruesome murder victim, forensic scientist Paul Herzfeld (Moritz Bleibtreu) discovers a metal capsule in the skull. When Herzfeld calls the number contained within, he learns that his teenage daughter has been abducted. His only hope is Linda (Bauer), an artist who is trapped on a storm-ravaged island with the killer. Face-to-face with the second victim, only she can extract the key to save Paul’s daughter.
Based on the international bestseller by Sebastian Fitzek which sold over 12 million copies, this nerve-wracking psychothriller will keep audiences holding their breath and trembling with tension until the closing credits.
Set in spectacular locations with a stellar cast including Moritz Bleibtreu, Lars Eidinger and Jasna Fritzi Bauer, genre expert Christian Alvart (Pandorum, 2009, Antibodies, 2005) helms this gripping thriller, reminiscent of the David Fincher’s 2005 neo-noir masterpiece Seven.
As Green As It Gets
Elmar Wepper brings wit and warmth to his performance as Georg “Schorsch” Kempter, a grumpy gardener in a small Bavarian town, whose nursery is facing bankruptcy. His marriage has lost its magic and he can’t connect with his daughter. It is only when flying in his own rickety biplane that Schorsch feels truly free. When the owner of the golf course refuses to pay him because the grass Schorsch has planted there is not “as green as it gets”, Schorsch finally snaps. Just as his plane is about to be impounded, he grabs the control stick and flies away on a voyage into the unknown. As he discovers new places and experiences extraordinary encounters, each take-off and landing edges Schorsch ever closer to happiness. This charming road movie also seconds as a postcard of the German countryside with stunning aerial shots of a journey brimming with rare surprises and delightful characters.
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