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In Ukraine this is the 22nd time the company “Arthouse Traffic” and the Goethe-Institut present the audience with a selection of fresh and topical films from Germany. The festival of German films takes place in 6 cities of Ukraine, for more details about this event see in the review of Re:plika.
On October 13, the festival was presented in the capital's cinema “Kiev” by Beate Köhler, Denis Ivanov and Lutz Dammbek - the director and head of cultural programs of the Goethe-Institut in Ukraine, general director of the company “Arthouse Traffic” and director of one of the films participating in the festival, respectively.
The festival was opened by the participant of the main competition section for the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival - tragicomedy “Toni Erdmann”, directed by Maren Ade. Critics were so thrilled with this film that awarded it the FIPRESCI Grand Prix 2016. This is the first time it goes to a film made by a woman. The film tells absolutely amazing story of the relations between father and his adult daughter, based both on the daily routine and at the same time surprising, ingenuous and unexpected eccentricity of main protagonists.
Winfried Conradi (Peter Simonischek) is a music teacher and now he gives private lessons, but there are a few students. He lives alone with his old blind dog, has a cheerful disposition and famously invents different tricks. There is a set of false teeth in his left breast pocket which makes him look like a crazy rabbit. He can paint his face like a dead man and walk around the city, as well as come to the festive dinner, arranged by his ex-wife on occasion of the arrival of his daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller).
Ines works as a management consultant in the international corporation, for this reason she lives in different countries from time to time. Her father and some other relatives are sometimes confused in which exactly. He feels that their relations with daughter are no longer as he would like them to be (without warm-heartedness and understanding, rather more formal), so Winfred does not want to put up with it and decides to save the situation. Thus, he comes to his daughter in Bucharest and understands that he only gets in the way, because she is involved in getting an important contract. He pretends that he returns home but instead he stays and turns into eccentric business coach Tony Erdmann, appearing in the same places as Ines and getting acquainted with her surroundings. And further you are waited by an exciting, sincere and touching story, filmed in a way that all the boundaries between fiction and documentary films are blurred.
By the way, Germany submitted this film for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. And if you suddenly do not have time to watch it as part of the “New German Cinema”, then keep in mind that since 16th February 2017 this film will be released to the general public.
Also as part of one-week German festival we will see the triumphant of German Film Awards 2016, where this film took the prize for the best feature film, direction, scenario and supporting role – the historical drama “The People vs. Fritz Bauer/ Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer”, directed by Lars Kraume. Additionally, this movie received the Audience Award at the International Film Festival 2016 in Locarno.
It is no wonder, because this film raises historical topic, but very interesting and painful for Germany. The plot revolves around activities of a lawyer Fritz Bauer just after the war (namely, in the late 50ies.). In the past he was in the concentration camp for several months. Now he is the Attorney General and inveterate idealist, who promised himself to fight until the end with the Nazi criminals. He seeks to ensure that none of them would flee, hide or escape from justice. Of course, not everyone in Germany wants to stir up the past, remember their mistakes and certainly to pay for them.
The eccentric comedy with elements of drama “Death to the Hippies - Long Live Punk!/ Tod den Hippies - Es Lebe der Punk!”, directed by Oskar Roehler, tells about Germany of 80th and the way of life of its young people. The film is impressive, humorous and has a flavor of West Berlin which many people love and remember with nostalgia. One provincial guy hates the hippie culture and everything connected with it. Punks - that's another matter! This is where sex, drugs and punk rock, as well as rivers of alcohol, of course. It is not that false, bourgeois and narrow-minded hippie culture.
The drama “Greetings from Fukushima/ Grüße aus Fukushima”, directed by Doris Dёrri, has already visited Ukraine and was awarded the Golden Duke for best actor/ actress at the Odessa International Film Festival this year. The film focuses on the story of a young German woman who decides to change her life and goes to Japan, where she helps volunteer organization to work with victims of the nuclear disaster in 2011. Her meeting with Satomi, last geisha of Fukushima, is the collision of different worlds, perceptions and pain. Thanks to these relations, both of them get the chance to forget and reconcile with their past and look at the present from a different angle.
This film was also awarded the prize of the European Confederation of Feature Films in the program “Panorama” and Heiner Carow prize at the Berlin Film Festival 2016.
During the festival you can see not only feature films from Germany, but also interesting documentary ones, both in full-length and short form. On the 15th of October German director Lutz Dammbek presents his film “Overgames” in the capital's cinema “Kiev” and it is unlikely that you will soon get another chance to talk to the director, who, incidentally, has a great sense of humor. When the organizers and director briefly presented this film at the opening, they emphasized that this documentary film is very interesting and topical for Ukraine.
In fact, this film explores media impact on the audience using the example of the TV show “Do not be nervous/ Nur nicht nervös warden” which was popular in Germany in the 60th and practiced the basics of psychological therapy and self-help through the media in view of the fact that German society of that time experienced a high level of psychological anxiety and trauma. And this is quite natural - mass therapy through the TV show comes with manipulation of mass consciousness. The Goethe-Institut awarded this documentary the prize for best documentary film at the DOK Leipzig Festival in 2015.
Moreover, the retrospective of early short films directed by Sergei Loznitsa (who actually lives in Germany) will be shown to the audience within the sphere of documentary filmmaking (although only in Kiev). After all, he has grown as the author and director of documentary films and received international recognition and respect in this status. Two of the three demonstrated films were awarded prizes at the international festivals of documentary films. For now, Loznitsa has returned to documentaries and presented at the international film festivals two of his works in this genre, so you can watch with a special interest his early short films: “Portrait” (2002) about population of the Russian province, “Factory” (2004) about one working day at the factory and “Today we build a house” (2006) about one day at the construction site.
Fans of short films should not miss the new selection of German films where you can find a lot of genres, storylines and works of both debutants and well-known studios. All films are shown in their original language with Ukrainian subtitles.
Kiev, October 13-19, venue - Cinema “Kiev”;
Chernovtsy, October 20-26, venue - Cinema “Kinopalats “Chernivtsi”;
Dnepr, 27 October - 1 November, venue - Cinema “Pravda Kino”;
Odessa, November 3-8, venue - Cinema “Rodina”;
Lvov, November 3-8, venue - Cinema “Planeta Kino” in the shopping and entertainment center “Forum”;
Kharkov, November 10-16, venue - Cinema “8 ½”
Photographs provided by the company«Артхаус Траффик»