German Film Festival

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Mountain Miracle German Film Festival
Photograph: Supplied Mountain Miracle

More than 30 films have been packed into this year’s festival to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

The German Film Festival 2019 is recognising the 30th anniversary of the reunification of Germany with a program of comedies, dramas, thrillers, docos and more.

Opening the festival on a high is Balloon (Ballon), the true story of two families who constructed a hot air balloon in secret and used it to escape East Germany in 1979. The film stars David Kross (The Reader) and Freidrich Mücke.

Three films co-presented by the German Embassy also commemorate the 30 years since the Wall fell. Adam and Evelyn (Adam und Evelyn) is a lighthearted look at a woman who wants to move to the West while her partner doesn’t understand the appeal. Gundermann is a memoir that documents the life of East German folk singer, activist, family man and spy Gerhard Gundermann. And Sealed Lips (Und Der Zukunft Zugewandt) stars Alexandra Maria Lara (Downfall, Control) as a German communist returning home following imprisonment in a labour camp in the Soviet Union.

The Centrepiece Selection of the festival is The Captain (Der Hauptmann), a black-and-white war thriller from German-born Hollywood director Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler’s Wife). Young private Willi Herold deserts his ranks in the final weeks of World War II, chances upon a Luftwaffe uniform, and uses it to gain and abuse power.

Styx concerns a paramedic who takes a solo yacht trip from Germany to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic Sea, only to encounter a trawler that has desperate refugees on board.

A documentary tackles one of the most influential artistic movements of this century – Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus (Vom Bauen Der Zukunft – 100 Jahre Bauhaus). The Bauhaus only lasted 14 years (1919-1933) but its impact on architecture, art, and modern life continues to be felt.

There’s something for the little ones with Kino for Kids, a selection of films that cover comedy, drama and adventure. Goodbye Berlin (Tschick) follows two teenage boys who take a roadtrip through East Germany in a stolen Lada Niva, fleeing from the police and meeting strange characters along the way. In Mountain Miracle (Amelie Rennt), Amelie is an ailing 13-year-old city girl who is sent to a country rehabilitation centre. She meets a farm boy who helps her climb a mountain as part of an ancient ritual she hopes will cure her.

The Keeper tells the inspirational story of Bert Trautmann, a paratrooper and POW who remained in the UK after WWII and ended up as goalkeeper for Manchester City from 1949 to 1964. And the closing night film is a restored jewel of early German sound cinema, 1931’s The Threepenny Opera (Die 3 Groschen-Oper), based on the satirical musical by Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill.

Screenings take place at Palace Norton Street and Chauvel Cinemas.

By: Larissa Shearman

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