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The Robber-Movie Review 09/13/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Action/Thriller, Austrian Film Awards, Based on true events, Bavarian Film Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Crime, German Film Critics Award, German language film, Movies, Suspense.
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The Robber (German/Austrian) 2010
Based on true events

Directed by Benjamin Heisenberg
Starring Andreas Lust and Franziska Weisz

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Director (Heisenberg); Best Actor (Lust); NOMINATED, Best Screenplay; Best Feature Film; and other wins and nominations, Austrian Film Awards.
WINNER, Best Direction-Young Film (Heisenberg), Bavarian Film Awards
NOMINATED, Golden Berlin Bear (Heisenberg), Berlin International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Gold Hugo-Best Feature; Best Feature (both Heisenberg), Chicago International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Lust), German Film Critics Association Awards

In Austria, Johann Kastenberger (Lust) serves time in prison for bank robbery, where he diligently pursues physical training. After he is released in 1984, he begins to win marathons but pursues a double life as a serial bank robber. Kastenberger doesn’t seem motivated by simple greed–but by a desire to win, perhaps?

The film is based on a real events in the life story of Kastenberger, who was finally stopped in the late 80s after eluding the police for several years. The film has very little dialogue, but plenty of action and chase scenes as it portrays the string of brazen robberies and incredibly successful getaways. It leaves much of the psychological interpretation behind events to the viewer.

97 min. Unrated.

For more info:
The Robber

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Jerichow-DVD Review 02/22/2013

Posted by Films to consider in Action/Thriller, German Film Awards, German Film Critics Association Awards, German language film, Movies, Suspense, Venice Film Festival.
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Jerichow (German) 2008

Written and directed by Christian Petzold
Starring Benno Fürmann, Nina Hoss, and Hilmi Sözer

NOMINATED, Best Direction; Outstanding Feature Film, German Film Awards
WINNER, Best Film (Petzold), German Film Critics Association Awards
NOMINATED, Golden Lion – Petzold, Venice Film Festival

Ali (Sözer), a German citizen of Turkish background, hires dishonorably discharged veteran Thomas (Fürmann) to help him run a string of snack bars. Thomas falls in love with Laura (Hoss), Ali’s wife, who has more than one reason to be indebted to her abusive husband.

A satisfyingly suspenseful retelling of The Postman Always Rings Twice. Christian Petzold directed The State I Am In as well as Yella (which also starred Nina Hoss) and Gespenster which together comprise what is known as Petzold’s Gespenster trilogy.

93 min. Unrated. Adult themes and content.

For more info:
Jerichow

When We Leave-DVD Review*** 12/05/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Action/Thriller, Drama, Emotional Drama, European Film Awards, German Film Critics Association Awards, German language film, Ghent International Film Festival, Movies, Tribeca Film Festival, Turkish language film.
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When We Leave (German/Turkish) 2010 ***
Die Fremde

Written and directed by Feo Aladag
Starring Sibel Kekilli and Nizam Schiller

Among many wins and nominations:
NOMINATED, European Discovery of the Year (Aladag); Best Actress (Kekilli), European Film Awards
WINNER, Best Actress (Kekilli); Best Cinematography; Best Editing; Best Feature Film Debut (Aladag); Best Film; Best Film Score; Best Screenplay, German Film Critics Association Awards
WINNER, Audience Award-Best Film; Grand Prix-Best Film, Ghent International Film Festival
WINNER, Best Narrative Feature (Aladag); Best Actress (Kekilli), Tribeca Film Festival

Umay (Kekilli), a young Turkish woman, is in a loveless and physically abusive marriage. She leaves home with her young son Cem (Schiller) to return to Germany where she was raised. But Umay finds that she is not welcomed back into her family because of traditional beliefs about a woman’s role.

Highly recommended, but with the caveat that this is not a movie with a happy ending (understatement). Winner of many awards, When We Leave is the first feature film for director Feo Aladag, who is also a German actress.

119 min. Unrated. Adult themes and violence.

For more info:
When We Leave

Michael-DVD Review 08/25/2012

Posted by Films to consider in British Film Institute Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Drama, Dublin International Film Festival, European Film Awards, German language film, Markus Schleinzer, Movies, Psychological Suspense.
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Michael (Austrian/German) 2011

Directed by Markus Schleinzer
Starring Michael Fuith and David Rauchenberger

WINNER, Best Actor (Fuith), Dublin Film Critics Award, Dublin International Film Festival
WINNER, Vienna Film Award-Best Feature (Schleinzer), Viennale
NOMINATED, Sutherland Trophy (Schleinzer), British Film Institute Awards
NOMINATED, Palme d’Or (Schleinzer), Cannes Film Festival
NOMINATED, European Discovery of the Year (Schleinzer), European Film Awards

Don’t mistake this for the 1996 movie starring John Travolta as the archangel Michael!

Trying to come up with a word to describe this film, I bow to so many other reviewers and use the word chilling. It’s definitely a case of caveat spector, with subject matter that is not easy to portray or to watch. But sometimes a reminder is needed that monsters such as the title character exist in this world.

Michael (Fuith) is a mild-mannered but decidedly odd insurance agent who is secretly holding a ten-year-old boy prisoner in his house. Michael leaves clues by his weird behavior but no one heeds them.

Director Schleinzer lets the viewer fill in many of the blanks along the way, which leads to a restrained telling of a difficult story and a very effective ending. The film includes what I thought was the scariest version of the song “Sunny” I can imagine.

96 min. Not rated (not suitable for children)

Check it out on Netflix
or
Amazon: Michael

Young Goethe in Love-DVD Review 07/08/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Bambi Awards, Based on true events, Comedy, Drama, German Film Awards, German Film Critics Award, German language film, Movies, New Faces Awards, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Philipp Stölzl, Romance.
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Young Goethe in Love (German) 2010
original title: Goethe!

Directed by Philipp Stölzl
Starring Alexander Fehling, Moritz Bleibtreu, and Miriam Stein

NOMINATED, Best Actor (Fehling), Bambi Awards
WINNER, Film Award in Gold for Makeup; NOMINATED, Film Award in Gold, Best Leading Actor (Fehling); Outstanding Feature Film; Best Production Design, German Film Awards
NOMINATED, Best Film (Stölzl), German Film Critics Association Awards
WINNER, New Faces Award (Stein), Germany
NOMINATED, Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature, (Stölzl et al.), Palm Springs International Film Festival

A lighthearted and touching look at a year in the life of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Fehling). At 23, Goethe is not serious about the law career his father insists he follow but is serious about poetry and about the love he feels for Lotte Buff (Stein).

After Lotte marries someone else, Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, based upon his romance with her, is published, paving the way for his literary fame. A period film for the romantics among us, perhaps not as satisfying to history buffs.

102 min. Not rated.

Check it out on Netflix
or
Amazon Young Goethe in Love

Cherry Blossoms-DVD Review *** 03/09/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Bavarian Film Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, Butoh performance, Emotional Drama, European Film Awards, German Film Awards, German Film Critics Award, German language film, Seattle International Film Festival, Valldolid International Film Festival.
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Cherry Blossoms (German) 2008 ***

Written and directed by Doris Dörrie
Starring Elmar Wepper, Hannelore Elsner, and Aya Irizuki

WINNER, Best Actor (Wepper); Best Production, Bavarian Film Awards
NOMINATED, Golden Berlin Bear (Dörrie), Berlin International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Wepper), European Film Awards
WINNER, Film Award in Gold, Best Leading Actor (Wepper) and Best Costume Design; Film Award in Silver, Outstanding Feature Film; NOMINATED, Film Award in Gold, Best Direction (Dörrie); Best Supporting Actress (Elsner); Best Screenplay (Dörrie), German Film Awards
WINNER, Best Actor (Wepper), German Film Critics Association Awards
WINNER, Golden Space Needle Award-Best Film (Dörrie), Seattle International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Golden Spike (Dörrie), Valldolid International Film Festival

When a doctor tells Trudi (Elsner) that her husband Rudi (Wepper) doesn’t have much longer to live, she decides it would be best to keep the prognosis from him. Instead, she tries to get Rudi to visit his children, one of whom lives in Japan, a place she herself always longed to visit.

A story of love and grieving, beautifully photographed and beautifully acted. Especially entrancing are the sequences of Butoh, an avant garde performance form that began in Japan in the 1960s.

Highly recommended.

124 min. Not rated.

Here’s a short Butoh performance (not from the movie):

For more info about the film:
Cherry Blossoms

The Edge of Heaven-DVD Review *** 09/11/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Cannes Film Festival, Drama, Emotional Drama, European Film Awards, German Film Awards, German language film, Movies, Turkish language film.
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The Edge of Heaven (German/Turkish) 2007 ***
Auf der anderen Seite

Highly recommended

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Screenplay; NOMINATED, Palme d’Or, Cannes Film Festival
WINNER, Best Editing; Best Screenplay; Best Supporting Actor (Kurtiz); Best Supporting Actresses (Köse and Ziolkowska), Ankara International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Film, César Awards, France
WINNER, Best Screenwriter (Akin); NOMINATED, Best Director (Akin); Best Film, European Film Awards
WINNER, Best Direction; Best Screenplay; Best Editing; Outstanding Feature Film; NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actress (Schygulla), German Film Awards

Written and directed by Fatih Akin (director of Head-On)

Starring Nurgül Yesilçay, Baki Davrak, Tuncel Kurtis, Hanna Schygulla, Patrycia Ziolkowska, and Nursel Köse

An excellent and moving film about six people in three families whose very different lives become interconnected: Nejat (Davrak) and his father Ali (Kurtis); Susanne (Schygulla) and her daughter Charlotte (Ziolkowska); Yeter (Köse) and her daughter Ayten (Yesilçay). All are searching for someone or something; eventually, they will find what they need, but not necessarily what they were looking for. As the searches take on a life of their own, the action moves from Germany to Turkey.

At the end of this almost two-hour film, I felt as if I knew much more about these people than the time allowed. Director Akin foretells the outcome of a segment, and then leads us there in unexpected and very satisfying ways. We sometimes know what is about to happen to whom, but that doesn’t take anything away from how it happens.

116 min. Not rated. Adult themes and subject matter.

For more info:
Edge of Heaven

North Face-DVD Review 08/21/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Adventure, Based on true events, Drama, German Film Awards, German Film Critics Award, German language film, Movies.
3 comments

North Face (German) 2008
Nordwand

Based on the 1936 attempt to conquer the North Face of the Swiss Eiger

WINNER, Film Award in Gold, Best Cinematography; Best Sound, German Film Awards
WINNER, Best Cinematography; Best Screenplay, German Film Critics Award
NOMINATED, Golden Reel Award, Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA

Directed by Philipp Stölzl
Starring Benno Furman, Florian Lukas, Johnanna Wokalek, and Ulrich Tukur

Toni Kurz (Furman) and Andi Hinterstoisser (Lukas) are two young climbers determined to be the first team to conquer the North Face. Ironically, although they are not sympathizers with the Nazi regime, if they do conquer the “Murder Wall,” they will be lauded as German heroes.

With a mix of romance and adventure, along with atrocious weather conditions, this film made me once again wonder “Why???” while at the same time marveling at what mountain climbers undergo to get to the top.

I especially liked the character of Luise (Wokalek), a brave photojournalist who grew up with the two climbers and is in love with one of them. Her boss, the cold and calculating Henry is well played by Ulrich Tukur (from the Lives of Others).

The cinematography in this film is absolutely incredible; the view of the climbers is as if you are hanging nearby, watching these men make decisions between life and death.

121 min. Not rated. Intense scenes.

For more info:
North Face

Das Boot-DVD Review *** 08/04/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Based on a novel, Drama, German language film, Movies, World War II.
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Das Boot (German) 1997/1981

The Director’s Cut released in 1997
Originally released in 1981
Based on the novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim

NOMINATED, Best Cinematography (Jost Vocano); Best Director (Wolfgang Petersen); Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (Mike Le Mare); Best Film Editing; Best Sound; Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Wolfgang Petersen), Academy Awards
WINNER, Film Award in Gold Outstanding Individual Achievement: Sound/Sound Mixing (Milan Bor); Film Award in Silver, Outstanding Feature Film, German Film Awards

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch, and Martin Semmelrogge

The physical hardships and emotional toll faced by the young men of a German U-boat crew, who went to battle facing almost certain death.

This remastered version of the film, which was first shot as a German TV miniseries, gives an incredibly realistic portrayal of the close quarters in a submarine, and of the terrifying sounds in a submarine under attack.

Over three hours long, the film maintains the suspense throughout.

209 min. Rated R. Adult themes and violence.

For more info:
Das Boot – The Director’s Cut

Solo Sunny-DVD Review *** 02/06/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Emotional Drama, German language film, Movies, Musical.
1 comment so far

Solo Sunny (Germany) 1980

Winner, Silver Berlin Bear, Best Actress, Berlin Film Festival
Winner, Critics Award, FRIPESCI Prize, Berlin International Film Festival
Winner, Gold Plaque, Best Script, Chicago International Film Festival

Directed by Konrad Wolf and Wolfgang Kohlhaase
Written by Wolfgang Kohlhaase
Starring Renate Krössner

In East Germany, Sunny is a singer who is determined to become a star. When she becomes haunted by a melody, her new lover writes English lyrics for her. But Sunny doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. When she quits the group she’s been singing with, her life takes a downward turn. She has to remake her image and strike out in a new direction if she wants to continue in the business.

With depressing surroundings that are bleak and crumbling, the film realistically portrays the times that in turn mirror Sunny’s life. As she tries to figure out where she fits in, Sunny constantly changes her look and her music. While Renate Krössner’s personality is engaging enough to carry the film, the music is also very memorable.

Listen to the melody that haunted Sunny, performed by the Gunther Fischer band in 2008

If you’re NOT planning to watch the film, here’s the song, performed in 2008 by Regine Dobberschütz

102 min. Not rated. Some sexual content and language.

For more info:
Solo Sunny