Forget Oktoberfest! The hippest German event is happening right here in Hollywood.
The Goethe-Institut Los Angeles and the American Cinematheque are collaborating to present German Currents 2013 - 7th Annual Festival of German Film Los Angeles. From Oct. 4 to 7, the festival will be showcasing the best of new German cinematography at the Egyptian Theatre. And for the first time ever, the festival will be showing more than just German films. This year, the Consulates General of Austria and Switzerland will be involved in the festival as well.
Films will range from comedies and dramas to classic adaptations of books and beer - yes, beer! All of the films will be screened in German, but if your knowledge of the language is limited, you don’t need to worry because all of the films will have English subtitles. Below is a full schedule of the films to be shown at this year's festival:
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5, AT 7:30 PM EGYPTIAN THEATRE
Directed by Jan Ole Gerster
Jan Ole Gerster's wry and vibrant feature debut Oh Boy, which swept the 2013 German Film Awards, paints a day in the life of Niko, a 20-something college dropout going nowhere fast. Niko lives for the moment as he drifts through the streets of Berlin, curiously observing everyone around him and oblivious to his growing status as an outsider. Then on one fateful day, through a series of absurdly amusing encounters, everything changes: his girlfriend rebuffs him, his father cuts off his allowance, and a strange psychiatrist dubiously confirms his 'emotional imbalance'. Meanwhile, a former classmate insists she bears no hard feelings toward him for his grade-school taunts when she was “Roly Poly Julia,” but it becomes increasingly apparent that she has unfinished business with him. Unable to ignore the consequences of his passivity any longer, Niko finally concludes that he has to engage with life. Shot in timeless black and white and enriched with a snappy jazz soundtrack, this slacker dramedy is a love letter to Berlin and the Generation Y experience.
In Person: Director Jan Ole Gerster
Germany (2012), 85 min. In German with English subtitles
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5 AT 9:30 PM EGYPTIAN THEATRE
DOUBLE FEATURE - L.A. PREMIERE
Directed by Matt Sweetwood
Matt Sweetwood hails from the Midwest. Though he has lived in Germany for over ten years, the people and their culture remain a mystery to him. He undertakes a last-ditch attempt to figure the place out: by exploring the heart of German culture, their beer. If he delves into their rites and rituals, explores all the contradictions and stereotypes, will that make him, finally, a part of them? The infinite variety of beers, breweries and beer fests, the age-old history of beer, is more overwhelming than the American ever imagined. The trail of his research leads him to places far off the beaten tourist path, light-years away from the Oktoberfest. He encounters people whose dialect he barely understands. Amazingly, he finds that a country as small a Germany is subdivided into a thousand different tongues and customs, with beer as the common thread. He discovers a land full of oddities and contradictions. The Germans are deathly serious and silly at the same time, tradition-bound and weirdly visionary. Ultimately, he forms a real bond with them, finding friends where he least expected them.
In Person: Director Matt Sweetwood
Germany (2012), 85 min. In German and English with English Subtitles
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6 - 2:00 PM EGYPTIAN THEATRE
THE ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN (DIE ABENTEUER DES HUCK FINN)
Directed by Hermine Huntgeburth
A lively German language adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic satire. Huck Finn, having found treasure with his best friend Tom Sawyer, is now chafing in the shoes and starched shirts that come with his new wealthy lifestyle. He’d like nothing more than to kick off his shoes and run wild along the river. He gets his chance when his drunken father (August Diehl) arrives and demands a share of Huck’s money. Huck decides to escape downriver and he brings along Jim, the house slave who has recently discovered that he will be handed over to a slave trader. The two travel the Mississippi River on a makeshift raft, hoping to outrun Huck’s violent father and find a place where Jim can be accepted as a free man. Twain’s timeless adventure is exuberantly brought to the screen in a film that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Germany (2012), 101 min. In German with English Subtitles
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6 AT 5:00 PM EGYPTIAN THEATRE
DOUBLE FEATURE - US PREMIERE
Directed by Thomas Arslan; starring NIna Hoss
Official selection (competition) at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, GOLD is a Western about seven German immigrants who set out in search of gold in the backwoods of British Columbia during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. Each have their motives: an older couple seeking security, a father (Lars Rudolph) hoping to help his impoverished family, an unpleasant newspaperman (Uwe Bohm) chronicling the journey, and a mysterious packer (Marko Mandic) with a past to outrun. The last to join is Emily Mayer (Nina Hoss), a metropolitan woman whose delicate demeanor masks a steely determination to survive. Assembled by a deceptively confident businessman of questionable motives, the settlers must travel through a relatively uncharted stretch of Canadian wilderness to reach their goal, the gold fields of Dawson. As the path grows more treacherous, betrayals come to light and desperate choices are made. Following in the footsteps of McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Meek’s Cutoff, Gold is an epic that offers an unconventional take on the well-worn Western genre.
Germany (2013), 101 min. In German with English Subtitles
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, AT 7:00 PM EGYPTIAN THEATRE
DOUBLE FEATURE - NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Directed by Pia Marais
Winner of the Jury Special Mention at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, LAYLA FROURIE is a film about Layla, who is a single mother living with her son in Johannesburg and getting by with casual work. After training as a polygraph operator she manages to secure a job with a company specialising in lie detectors and security. On her way to her new workplace she is involved in an accident which will fundamentally change her life. Layla becomes entangled in a web of lies and deceit. The truth could lead to the loss of her son. ?For her third feature film Pia Marais - who has lived in Berlin for many years - returned to South Africa where she grew up to make this classic thriller. She uses the genre to take a look at a country which still bears the scars of apartheid. In this way, everyday life in South Africa enhances the tension in the screenplay which she co-wrote with Horst Markgraf. Almost casually, Layla Fourie develops into a political thriller which takes the audience into the paranoia, fear and mistrust of a society that is still profoundly affected by racial conflict.
Germany (2013), 108 min. In English
MONDAY, OCTOBER 7 AT 7:30 PM EGYPTIAN THEATRE
DOUBLE FEATURE - L.A. PREMIERE
THE SHINE OF THE DAY (DER GLANZ DES TAGES)
Directed by Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel
Philip (Philip Hochmair) is is a young and successful actor working for the most important theatres in Vienna and Hamburg with a committed and single-minded approach to his craft. During a season in which he is busy with a production of Buchner’s Woyzeck, Philip is visited by the elderly Walter (Walter Saabel), who introduces himself as the uncle he’s never met. Walter is a former circus artist and the two men soon bond over stories of their careers. These two entertainers, both at different stages in their lives, learn from each other’s experiences. As his conversations with Walter grow more philosophical, Philip slowly emerges from his once isolated lifestyle. He is even inspired to enlist Walter’s assistance in helping a Moldavian neighbor with an immigration issue. The actors, though not related, essentially play themselves and the largely improvised script was developed around their personal experiences. The result is a rare onscreen friendship that feels warm and sincere. Co-directors Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel draw on their documentary filmmaking background to create a naturalistic atmosphere in which these performances can flourish.
Austria (2012), 101 min. In German with English Subtitles
MONDAY, OCTOBER 7 AT 9:15 PM EGYPTIAN THEATRE
MORE THAN HONEY
Directed by Markus Imhoof
Winner of multiple awards, including 2013 German Film Award (Lola) for Best Documentary film, MORE THAN HONEY, directed by Oscar-nominated director Markus Imhoof (THE BOAT IS FULL) tackles the vexing issue of why bees, worldwide, are facing extinction. With the tenacity of a man out to solve a world-class mystery, he investigates this global phenomenon, from California to Switzerland, China and Australia. Exquisite macro-photography of the bees (reminiscent of MICROCOSMOS) in flight and in their hives reveals a fascinating, complex world in crisis. Writes Eric Kohn in Indiewire: "Imhoof captures the breeding of queen bees in minute detail, ventures to a laboratory to witness a bee brainscan, and discovers the dangerous prospects of a hive facing the infection of mites. In this latter case, the camera's magnifying power renders the infection in sci-fi terms, as if we've stumbled into a discarded scene from David Cronenberg's THE FLY." This is a strange and strangely moving film that raises questions of species survival in cosmic as well as apiary terms.
Switzerland/Germany/Austria (2012), 90 min. In English and German w/English subtitles
On Oct. 6 from 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 4:50 p.m., attendees can take part in film workshops from the Echo Park Film Center and its legendary “Filmcicle,” a cinema and film school on wheels!
Tickets are on sale now on the festival’s website, and lucky for you, the student discount will save you a couple of bucks. This is a cultural experience you don’t want to miss out on!
The German Currents 2013: 7th Annual Festival of German Film Los Angeles takes place Oct. 4-7 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
Student discount tickets are only $9! To purchase tickets, click here.
For more information on the festival, click here.