by RICA AREVALO
Based on the current crop of feature films at the fourth German Film Week, six of them feature the fall of the Berlin Wall with the popular Good Bye, Lenin! in the line-up. Most productions in modern Germany provoke the mind, prompted by inventive storytelling targeting the populace.
Directed by Wolfgang Becker, Good Bye, Lenin! follows a son trying to protect his comatose mother from seeing the fall of communism in Berlin. As the mother awakens, Alex (Daniel Brühl) conceals the truth that the Socialist Unity Party has lost its cause and East Germany has opened doors to Coca-Cola and Burger King. He redecorates their apartment to its old look, makes “fake news” TV segments to conceal the reality to his mother, and even supplied the rare Spreewald gherkins to satisfy his mother’s cravings. For a son who joined anti-government rallies, Alex made his mother believe that Lenin is still a powerful figure. The film has a bit of comedy, drama, and romance, winning the 2003 European Film Award for Best Film and the German Film Award for Best Feature Film. One thing stands out, though: a son’s unconditional love for his mother to be well again.
Back in 2017, Markus Goller was in the country to showcase his My Brother Simple. This time around, his road movie about two brothers 25 km/h takes centerstage. Both are estranged and haven’t seen each other for decades—Georg (Bjarne Mädel) is a typical son who cared for his father and stayed in their hometown as a carpenter while Christian (Lars Eidinger) is a flashy, jet-setting businessman based in Asia. Upon hearing the song “Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure, there is an assumption that the two brothers will eventually bond. True enough, Christian and Georg reunite during their father’s funeral. But booze, ping pong, and their love for vintage motorbikes brought them together again. The film won the Ernst Lubitsch Award 2018 for Best Comedic Achievement in a German film.
The comedy film, 100 Things is about two childhood friends who invented an app on artificial intelligence that can determine a person’s mood. Paul (Florian David Fitz) is the creative inventor while Toni (Matthias Schweighöfer) is the vain marketing guru. A bet on giving up luxury and material possession for 100 days, and who’s the best between the two friends, will test the once solid relationship. US billionaire David Zuckerman (Artjom Gilz) playing a Mark Zuckerberg impersonator is willing to buy the app at any price. Money can make or break a friendship. Who will win?
A must see is Sherry Hormann’s A Regular Woman about a Muslim woman’s conflict with her family’s hardcore values resulting to her death. Hormann uses photographs to incite more emotional moments. A voice over of German-Turk Hatun Aynur Sürücü (Almila Bagriacik) narrates her marriage to an abusive husband and how she feld with her child to be with her family, though all are against her decision. She tries to break free from tradition and live a modern lifestyle, eventually falling in love with a German boyfriend. Her brothers threaten and insult her—due to “honor killing,” youngest brother Nuri (Rauand Taleb) who was initially perceived as a lovable and cute takes matters into his own hands and commits a murder. This film deserves a discussion on the unspeakable tragedies a Turkish woman faces in modern times.
An extraordinary sports hero emerges in Trautmann (The Keeper) when a German soldier faces public outrage for playing football in England. During World War II, soldier Bernd Trautmann (David Kross) is captured by the British. In prison, his extraordinary skills as a football player is discovered, leading him to his selection to play in the English football league. Anti-Nazi sentiments are thrown at him in every match, and Tratumann accepts them head on. He gets love and support from his family, eventually becoming one of Manchester City’s football legends—that is until a tragedy befalls him which he points out is the punishment for his war crimes.
The fourth German Film Week opens on Nov. 6, 7 p.m. at SM City Manila. In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the week will open with the film Balloonˆ—a true-to-life story of two families who took a hot air balloon in 1979 to escape East Germany and live in West Germany.
The other German titles can be seen from Nov. 7 to Nov. 12 at SM City Manila and SM Megamall for Metro Manila, before moving to Cebu, Cagayan De Oro, and Baguio from Nov. 20 to Dec. 15.