Brand New Films From Germany
November 30 - December 10, 2017
Istanbul Modern Cinema presents a selection of Brand New Films from Germany in the program’s ninth edition, introducing audiences to leading features from contemporary German cinema.
This year's program is titled Freedom!. The selection is made up of films from different historical periods that are all committed to a theme of freedom. Another recurring theme is borders, both in terms of societal norms and in terms of geography. Moreover, this year’s selection includes several films about art and artists. Either as documentaries or as fictional features, these films invite viewers to think about freedom in terms of artistic production.
One of the highlights of this year’s program is master director Volker Schlöndorff's new film Return to Montauk. Adapted to the screen from the famous Swiss author Max Frisch’s long story Montauk, which was also published here in Turkey, follows the story of the 60 years-old Max Zorn, and the events that take place after he runs into his ex-girlfriend during the publicity tours for his new book. Among the films that will be presented this year is a film that competed for this year’s Golden Bear award, Beuys by Andres Veiel, which portrays one of the most important figures of the 20th century art, Joseph Beuys. Other films in this year’s selection include Freedom (Freiheit), Jan Speckenbach’s second film which premiered in Locarno, also giving its name to this year’s program; Casting, directed by Nicolas Wackerbarth,a film that depicts the behind the scenes of television films and the delicacies of acting; Romuald Karmakar’s new documentary If I Think of Germany at Night (Denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht), which invites the audience into the world of electronic music; and Jakob Schmidt’s To be a Teacher (Zwischen den Stühlen) focusing on the profession of teaching and its ever-growing difficulties.
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FREEDOM (FREIHEIT), 2017
Germany, Slovakia| DCP, Color, 100'| German, English, Slovak
Director: Jan Speckenbach
Cast: Johanna Wokalek, Hans-Jochen Wagner, Inga Birkenfeld
A mother abandons her husband and two kids without any explanation. A force pulls her—an undesirable desire to be free... Nora walks around a museum in Vienna, flirts with a young man, and hitchhikes to Bratislava. She tries to hide her identity by telling little lies. She changes her appearance, finds a work as a maid in a hotel, befriends a Slovakian stripper named Etela and her chef husband Tamás. Meanwhile, Philip tries to hold on to his family in Berlin, his job and his relationship with Monika. It is not easy raising kids as a single parent and since his daily life has turned into a mess after Nora’s disappearance, he also finds it hard to relate to Monika. Freedom! competed at this year’s Locarno Film Festival, and is the second feature length film from Jan Speckenbach whose first filmReported Missing (Die Vermissten)was presented at the Brand New Films from Germany program in 2012.
RETURN TO MONTAUK (RÜCKKEHR NACH MONTAUK), 2017
Germany, France, Ireland| DCP, Color, 106'| English
Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Nina Hoss, Susanne Wolff
Master director Volker Schlöndorff's Return to Montauk, which competed for the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale is an adaptation of Max Frisch’s autobiographical long story Montauk that was also published here in Turkey. With this film, Schlöndorff returns to the world of this famous author exactly 26 years after Homo Faber. Bringing together a cast filled with favorite names from European cinema, Montauk is about a famous author’s reckoning with the past. 60 years-old author Max Zorn (Stellan Skarsgård) goes to New York during the publicity tours for his new book and meets with his wife Clara (Susanne Wolff). This very personal book is about a great and unfinished love. During the trip, Zorn runs into the very subject of his book, his ex-girlfriend Rebecca (Nina Hoss). As the two begin to reminisce about the past, they decide to return to Montauk, a small town they had travelled to before.
Germany, Blu-ray, Color & black-white, 107'I German, English, 2017
Director: Andres Veiel
The documentary portrays the life and works of Joseph Beuys, one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century art history, and illustrates how his works maintain their revolutionary status. As the result of an intensive archival study, the film is a portrait of Joseph Beuys, the artist with his unmistakable felt hats, provocative and eye opening with his works and statements, and who always maintained his sense of humor. Andres Veiel juxtaposes never seen before audiovisual recordings, photographs and interviews with Beuys experts. Beuys premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival where the documentary competed for the Golden Bear.
STEFAN ZWEIG: FAREWELL TO EUROPE(VOR DER MORGENRÖTE), 2016
Germany, Austria, France Blu-ray, Color, 106', German, English
Director: Maria Schrader
Cast: Josef Hader, Barbara Sukowa, Aenne Schwarz
One of the most acclaimed features of this past year, this biographic film focuses on the Austrian Jewish author Stefan Zweig’s years of exile in the American continent. Zweig relocates to London after he flees Nazi Germany in 1934. In 1940, he emigrates to the United States with his wife to first live in New York, and then to Brazil until the time he commits suicide.Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europeis comprised of four parts and focuses on the latter stages of Zweig’s life, the years between 1936 and 1942. The film successfully depicts Zweig’s efforts to evaluate the events taking place in his country as an intellectual, and how he slowly sinks into a depression. Maria Schrader won the Best Director award at the 2016 Bavarian Film Awards for Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europe, her second feature film as a director.
DISORIENTATION IS NOT A CRIME (ORIENTIERUNGSLOSIGKEIT IST KEIN VERBRECHEN), 2016
Germany, Greece |HDD, Color, 76'| German, English
Directors: Marita Neher & Tatjana Turanskyj
Cast: Nina Kronjäger, Anna Schmidt
Greece, 2014. Lena is a journalist whose life is in disarray. She is doing research on the safety of areas around Greece that are outside the EU zone, and migrant policies. After a chance encounter and following friendship, Amy also gets involved in the research. Amy is an activist from the Welcome Immigrants movement, and starts assisting Lena in her research both because she is bored and intrigued. Co-directed by Marita Neher and Tatjana Turanskyj, the film’s title is actually a testament to what the film is about. Lena and Amy slowly begin losing the consistency in their viewpoints on the world. What follows the two women’s distinct and clashing approaches to the refugee crisis, work and capitalism, is a road movie taking place in the rural parts of Greece. During this trip, the characters investigate invisible boundaries and seek to make sense of the world today.
Germany|DCP, Color, 91'|German
Director: Nicolas Wackerbarth
Cast: Andreas Lust, Judith Engel, Ursina Lardi
Director Vera is searching for the right leading actress for the first film she will be directing for television. However, it is one day before filming is scheduled to begin, and even after numerous attempts, she can’t seem to be able to decide which actress to cast as Petra von Kant in this new adaptation of Fassbinder’s famous The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. While the producer and set team become desperate, Gerwin is quite content with the workload. Because that is how he makes a living: by undertaking supporting roles during the casting process. Casting offers an easygoing, direct, witty and pleasant glance at the behind the scenes of casting processes and self-promotion, which has already crossed the boundaries of the world of cinema to become an everyday reality.
BUNCH OF KUNST, 2017
Germany| HDD, Color, 103'| English
Director: Christine Franz
Sleaford Mods is a musical duo from Nottingham. Their song lyrics reflect the English working class and the austerity measures that were taken following the recent economic crisis. Their fans call them the "Voice of Britain," while The Guardian newspaper deemed them to be "Britain's angriest band." Punk legend Iggy Pop, on the other hand, thinks of Sleaford Mods as "the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band." During the filming of this documentary, director Christine Franz accompanied the musicians Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn as well as the group’s manager Steve Underwood during their two-year long tour. As a result, she was able to document Sleaford Mods’s journey from small town bar concerts to billboard success.
PATHS (EIN WEG), 2017
Germany | DCP, Color, 107' | German
Director: Chris Miera
Cast: Mike Hoffmann, Mathis Reinhardt, Tom Böttcher
This is a small, quiet and peaceful place in the state of Thurungia in Germany. 42 years old Andreas’s carpenter workshop has good and steady work. Meanwhile, thankfully his 43 years old partner Martin is not travelling so much for work anymore. Their 19 years old son, on the other hand, is leaving home. After many years, the couple finally can find time for each other, and decide to take a trip to the Baltic Sea in November like they used to do in the past. But the atmosphere in their vacation home becomes tense with the clashing expectations of the couple. Paths tells the story of love between two people. Not how they find each other or a peak to sample their relationship, but the time they spend together: the years spent between their first ever kiss to today…
IF I THINK OF GERMANY AT NIGHT (DENK ICH AN DEUTSCHLAND IN DER NACHT), 2017
Germany|DCP, Color, 105'|German
Director: Romuald Karmakar
Romuald Karmakar’s new documentary, which takes its name from a poem by Heinrich Heine, is about German electronic music. Throughout the film we are presented with interviews with 5 DJs: Ricardo Villalobos, Sonja Moonear, Ata, Roman Flügel and David Moufang or with his nickname Move D. The DJs talk about how they work in the studio, in clubs or on stage; their music careers; and their thoughts on the musical genre they occupy. All five DJs are pioneers of an artistic category that has brought about countless sub-categories. Romuald Karmakar intersperses the interviews with footage taken at empty clubs during daytime, jam-packed dancefloors, around music studios or at DJs homes where they work alone away from the dancing crowds.
TO BE A TEACHER (ZWİSCHEN DEN STÜHLEN), 2016
Germany|DCP, Color, 102'|German
Director: Jakob Schmidt
Anna, Katja and Ralf have two difficult years ahead of them. Although they have completed the theoretical component of their teacher’s training, they still have to go through the pedagogical practice component to finish. The intern stage brings about several challenges for these trainee teachers, because they have to succeed both as students and as teachers. To be a Teacher can also teach new things to the audience, because the profession of teaching is much more difficult when compared to decades ago. Unfortunately, it is an impossible quest to reach their targets for all three prospective teachers. Just as it is impossible to not question one’s belief in the education system or to hold on to one’s hopes throughout the whole process… To be a Teacher was the recipient of the Best Documentary Film prize from the Goethe-Institut in 2016.
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