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KINO Festival Of German Films Highlights: Personal Stories of Change

Photo of Carlos Aguilar By Carlos Aguilar | SydneysBuzz June 13, 2014 at 8:05PM

Playing at the Museum of the Moving Image and the Quad Cinema in New York June 13-19 the KINO! Festival Of German Films returns for its 36th year.
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KINO Festival Of German Films ("WEST")
KINO Festival Of German Films ("WEST")

Playing at the Museum of the Moving Image and the Quad Cinema in New York June 13-19 the KINO! Festival Of German Films returns for its 36th year. Once again, the festival continues to offer the best in German cinema produced in the last year. The program features documentaries and narratives that not only focus on the German experience but also on its filmmakers’ points of view on what happens around the world. Quality is always a given with KINO and these wide-ranging stories are no exception. Some revisit the country’s historical past, others travel to distant lands in search of images, and there are also those that feel specific to our time. Here are some highlights of what we've seen so far with some additions to come soon.

For more information on the festival visit HERE

West

Dir. Christian Schwochow

West
West

In search of a more promising and free life for her and her son, Nelly Sneff (Jördis Triebel) a young East German chemist flees to the more modernized West side. Even though she speaks the same language and is as German as everyone else living in the communal living facilities for refugees, Nelly finds it difficult to adapt to the new system. Ironically, she comes to realize that she is seen as the enemy on this side of the wall. The constant questioning about the whereabouts and affiliation of her Soviet partner, who until now she believed dead, take a toll on her already complex life putting her in a state of paranoia. Her son Alexej (Tristan Göbel), who is bullied at school, befriends a neighbor, Hans ( Alexander Scheer) whose good intentions will put Nelly on the edge. Distrust is at the core of Schwochow’s film that plays as thoughtful answer to films like “The Lives of Others” and “Barbara.” While those examples condemned the system enforced by the Stasi, in “West” the tables are flipped. Nelly feels unsafe, watched, and harassed in a land that was supposed to be against those practices. Triebel's intense performance escalates from hopeful to enraged in a marvelously directed story about an unexamined subject within German history.


Nan Goldin : I Remember Your Face

Dir. Sabine Lidl

Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face
Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face
In a concisely executed documentary that runs just over 60 minutes, director Sabine Lidl manages to capture the essence of renowned photographer Nal Goldin. Given that her friendships are the inspiration and subjects for her work, the filmmaker follows the eccentric artist as she visits old friends and reminisces about their youth, her failed attempts at seducing attractive gay men, and their role in her career. Her photos are raw and vivid. They shine with colorful nuances that only intimacy can provide. Drunk, naked, and unique people experience sadness and joy in front of her camera. Goldin’s extravagant collections and her turbulent past with drugs and alcohol also make an appearance in this short portrait of a fascinating woman across her beloved Berlin and other European cities.


Art War
Dir.

Marco Wilms

Art War
Art War
While shot by a German filmmaker, the film is very similar to the Academy Awards-nominated film “The Square.” It follows the revolutionary youth of Egypt in the aftermath of the Arab Spring that brought down the Mubarak regime. While the aforementioned film tries to depict a holistic picture of the events, the deaths, and the shaky political processes that followed, Wilms decides to focus on the artistic expression that emerged from the movement. Including politically charged rap songs, and more extensively graffiti, the documentary advocates for the youth’s effort to protests by peaceful means. However, it also points at the non-stop attacks by Islamist conservative groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Among their many undertakings, the art on Mohamed Mahmoud Street near the iconic Tahrir Square is of particular importance because it is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the carnage. Young Egyptians turned martyrs are immortalized on the city’s walls as constant reminder of an incessant struggle. There are clearly a great number of similarities between the two films, and though this is less achieved in scope, it can definitely work as a complementary piece.

Finsterworld
Dir.

Frauke Finsterwalder

Finsterworld
Finsterworld
With a multi-story concept that scrutinizes modern German society, the tonally eclectic “Finsterworld” provides some vexed assumptions about the country’s history of violence. A high school class is taking a fieldtrip to a concentration camp, Dominik (Leonard Scheicher) and his unofficial girlfriend Natalie (Carla Juri) are enjoying the day despite having to deal with obnoxious spoiled kid Maximilian (Jakub Gierszal). Meanwhile Franziska (Sandra Hüller), an pretentious aspiring filmmaker wants to capture something profound, inevitably her egocentric personality crashes with her loving boyfriend police officer Tom (Ronald Zehrfeld), who is also a closeted “furry.” Then there is Claude (Michael Maertens), a lonely masseur specialized in feet, and his friendship with elderly woman Frau (Margit Carstensen). Lastly, there are the Sandbergs (Corinna Harfouch &Bernhard Schütz), a wealthy couple on the road who encounter a difficult situation. Touching on the subject of German identity having Hitler as only representative figure and being a nation defined by guilt, Finsterwalder’s feature is heavily provocative. It’s strange tone that shifts between absurd comedy and gruesome violence can come across as uncomfortable or even offensive, but there are a handful of brilliant moments that make the film rather compelling.


This article is related to: KINO Festival Of German Films, Kino , West, Nan Goldin , Art War , Finsterworld , International Film Market, International Film Festival, International Sales Agent, International, International Film Business

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