Award-winning films by celebrated German filmmakers Christian Petzold (UNDINE), Caroline Link (WHEN HITLER STOLE PINK RABBIT), and Jan-Ole Gerster (LARA) will be part of this year’s line-up of the annual German Currents Film Festival. The festival will take place as a virtual cinema event, allowing audiences from all over California, and across the US chance to watch the best of current German film this November.
The festival Director and Director of the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, Mrs. Lien Heidenreich-Seleme shares: “Cinema has the unique power to bring people from all walks of life together, to learn, discuss, and engage in a dialogue with the world around us. Over the history of German Currents, the festival has presented groundbreaking and thought-provoking films from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and has offered a platform for audiences in Southern California to discover these films together. Although we cannot gather in the cinema this year, the unique and exciting opportunity to share the festival’s program via an innovative virtual Cinema platform allows us to reach a wider audience and grow as a community of cinema fans. I am pleased to share this year’s program, which offers an exciting and diverse cross-section of recent German films, and a series of thought-provoking discussions with the filmmakers behind them. I look forward to welcoming a new audience to experience the power of these films.”
The festival will spotlight the North America Premiere of the light-hearted and fun musical I’VE NEVER BEEN TO NEW YORK, based on the music of Udo Jürgens, one of the most successful Austrian/ German entertainers. Furthermore the festival will screen the 2020 Teddy Award winner (at Berlinale) for Best Feature Film NO HARD FEELINGS, the eerie genre “Heimatfilm” SLEEP(starring Toni Erdmann’s Sandra Hüller), the winner of Best Documentary at the 2020 German Film Awards BORN IN EVIN, and the West Coast Premieres of RELATIVITY, SISTERS APART, and I WAS, I AM, I WILL BE. A selection of Short Tiger Award-winning short films and filmmaker panels, live Q&As, and filmmaker discussions will round up the impressive program.
The festival takes place as a virtual cinema event at https://watch.eventive.org/germancurrents
The German Currents Film Festival is produced by the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles and the American Cinematheque in kind cooperation with the German Consulate General, and with the support of The Friends of Goethe, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, German Films, and media partners Deutsche Welle.
2020 FESTIVAL LINE-UP:
ALL FILMS are available as virtual cinema screenings, streaming from Monday November 9th – Sunday, November 15th
2020, IFC Films, 90 min. Dir. Christian Petzold.
From writer-director Christian Petzold, one of Germany's most celebrated auteurs. Set in contemporary Berlin, UNDINE is a modern retelling of a timeless myth about a water nymph who is destined to kill the man who betrays her before returning to the water. Told through Petzold's precise visual style, Undine follows the titular character (Beer), a city historian and tour guide, who is reeling from an unexpected breakup. Following Undine's chance encounter with the shy but amicable industrial diver, Christophe (Rogowski), the intense bond between them proves that no destiny is inevitable. Beer, who won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, reunites with her TRANSIT co-star Franz Rogowski in this romantic yet chilling fantasy, whose mysteries lie submerged in water. Winner of the Berlin FIPRESCI Critics Award.
2019, Beta Cinema, 98 min. Dir. Jan-Ole Gerster.
Director Jan-Ole Gerster (A COFFEE IN BERLIN) returns with this nuanced drama about a mother’s day-long journey into a troubled past. On her 60th birthday, Lara (Corinna Harfouch) prepares for her son Viktor’s (Tom Schilling) all-important debut piano concert by spreading the word (and free tickets) all over town. Lara has every reason to be the proud mother, but a dark history prevents her from reconnecting with those from her past, especially with Viktor. With echoes of Michael Haneke’s THE PIANO TEACHER and mysteries that unravel with delicate precision, LARA is a fascinating character study with a surprising sense of warmth beneath its cold exterior. “There are powerful, profound moments in store for audiences here, mysteries to be resolved, and those […] for which we can never pretend to have a solution.” - Peter Debruge, Variety. In German with English subtitles.
WEST COAST PREMIERE
2020, 102 min. Dir. Michael Venus.
Once upon a time, there was a house in the woods where something terrible happened. Sandra Hüller (TONI ERDMANN) stars in this tense psychological thriller by director Michael Venus set in the idyllic (and possibly haunted) German village of Stainbach. Marlene (Hüller) is plagued by horrific dreams, which seem to have a strange connection to the town's nightmarish events. The stress of Marlene's revelations leads to her nervous breakdown and a comatose sleep. Looking for answers, Marlene's 19-year-old daughter, Mona (Gro Swantje Kohlhof), sets out to uncover the dark mysteries surrounding the town's past, that which threatens her mother, herself, and everyone around her. Making his directorial debut with this artful horror-thriller, Venus received a nomination for Best First Feature at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival. In German with English subtitles.
WEST COAST PREMIERE
RELATIVITY (MEIN ENDE. DEIN ANFANG)
2019, 111 min. Dir. Mariko Minoguchi.
In this moving feature debut by director Mariko Minoguchi, a new romance is upended by a tragic twist of fate when lovers Nora (Saskia Rosendahl) and Aron (Julius Feldmeier) find themselves in the middle of an armed bank robbery. After the life-changing event, Nora meets Natan (Edin Hasanovic), who evokes in her an odd, yet appealing sense of déjà vu. As their paths continue to cross and the relationship deepens, Nora navigates a spiraling echo chamber of memories as her past grief continually resurfaces. Told through a unique narrative structure of flashbacks and flash-forwards, RELATIVITY is both a heartbreaking melodrama and a thoughtful study on the nature of time. In German with English subtitles.
WEST COAST PREMIERE
BORN IN EVIN
2019, Syndicado, 95 min. Dir. Maryam Zaree.
In this powerful documentary, filmmaker and actress Maryam Zaree (UNDINE, NO HARD FEELINGS) embarks on a personal journey to uncover the violent circumstances surrounding her birth inside one of the most notorious political prisons in the world. Through an exceptionally personal lens, Zaree examines Iran’s oppressive regime in the 1980s that saw tens of thousands of political opponents arrested, persecuted and murdered. Through a series of emotional interviews with her parents, who sought asylum in Germany after years of imprisonment, Zaree overcomes a decades-long silence to reveal the true extent of her family’s unimaginable experience. Winner of Best Documentary at the 2020 German Film Awards. In German, French, English and Farsi with English subtitles.
WEST COAST PREMIERE
SISTERS APART (IM FEUER)
2020, The Match Factory, 93 min. Dir. Daphne Charizani.
In writer-director Daphne Charizani’s thoughtful drama, Rojda (Almila Bagriacik), a young woman young with Kurdish-Iraqi roots who has lived in Germany since childhood, and now serving in the German army, attempts to reunite her family despite the separation caused by borders and military conflicts. After successfully negotiating her mother’s release from a camp for displaced Kurds and bringing her to Germany, Rojda sets out to find her missing sister, who is somewhere in Iraq fighting in a Kurdish battalion of women soldiers. In her thinly veiled rescue mission, Rojda volunteers as an interpreter to support the women’s battalion, which leads her to dangerous and surprising encounters. Part of the Perspektive Deutsches Kino special selection at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival.
NO HARD FEELINGS (FUTUR DREI)
2020, M-Appeal, 92 min. Dir. Faraz Shariat.
In this stunning debut from director Faraz Shariat, Parvis Zareh (Benjamin Radjaipour) is a young, proud, and openly gay son of Iranian immigrants, who immerses himself in pop culture, fashion, clubbing, and casual internet sex-dates as a means of escaping the suburban boredom of his home in central Germany. As punishment for shoplifting, he is sent to perform community service in a refugee shelter where he meets and falls in love with Amon (Eidin Seyed Jalali), a young migrant who has fled Iran with his sister Banafshe (Banafshe Hourmazdi). As the three become friends, and Parvis and Amon fall in love with each other, Parvis finds himself caught between the generation of migrants before him, the third generation of newcomers, and the rest of German society. Shariat's semi-autographical story challenges homophobia and xenophobia through a vibrant visual style full of pop culture references. Winner of the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film at the 2020 Berin International Film Festival. "NO HARD FEELINGS is a love story, an immigrant tale and the announcement of an exciting new talent in Shariat." - Jessica Kiang, Variety.
WEST COAST PREMIERE
I AM, I WAS, I WILL BE (ES GILT DAS GESPROCHENE WORT)
2019, LevelK, 122 min. Dir. Ilker Çatak.
Ilker Çatak’s sophomore feature is a nuanced examination of life's unpredictability, the progression from a troubled past to a complicated present, and the hopeful promise of the future. Opposite worlds collide when Marion (Anne Ratte-Polle), a self-confident, airline pilot from Germany, meets Baran (Ogulcan Arman Uslu), a charming Turkish gigolo at a beach resort in Marmaris. With dreams of a better life beyond the Bosphorus, Baran convinces Marion to take him back to Germany. What begins as a selfless good deed and a simple arrangement develops into something deeper, as Marion’s emotional barriers begin to crumble, and the two come closer than planned. “Çatak keeps the focus on a human level as the couple faces the kind of dilemmas that might have fueled a melodrama by Douglas Sirk or Fassbinder.” - Allan Hunter, Screen International.
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
I‘VE NEVER BEEN TO NEW YORK (ICH WAR NOCH NIEMALS IN NEW YORK)
2020, 122 min. Dir. Ilker Çatak.
Philipp Stölzl’s (Goethe!, North Face) light-hearted and off-beat film adaptation of Germany’s wildly successful stage musical brings the music of Udo Jürgens to the big screen. For self-centered Talk Show host, Lisa (Heike Makatsch), her show means everything. When her mother, Maria (Katharina Thalbach), lands in a hospital following an accident, Maria can only remember one thing: she had never been to New York! Without further ado, Maria flees the hospital and boards a cruise ship headed to New York as a stowaway. With her make-up Artist, Fred (Michael Ostrowski), in tow, Lisa catches up with Maria, only to be stuck on the ship as it sets sail. As the three stowaways try to make the best of the situation, they each meet an unexpected stranger: Lisa meets Axel (Moritz Bleibtreu), who is far from her type; Maria meets the aging Gigolo, Otto (Uwe Ochsenknecht), and Fred falls for Costa, the ship’s magician. What ensues is a colorful, syrupy-sweet sing-along voyage across the Atlantic and into the uncharted waters of memory and love. Nominated for 5 German Film Awards, and 3 Romy Awards.
LA PREMIERE | FAMILY FEATURE | SCHOOL SCREENING
WHEN HITLER STOLE PINK RABBIT (ALS HITLER DAS ROSA KANINCHEN STAHL) 2019, Greenwich Entertainment, 119 min., Dir. Caroline Link.
Veteran filmmaker and Oscar-winner Caroline Link (NOWHERE IN AFRICA) returns with this heartfelt and imaginative adaptation of Judith Kerr's bestselling eponymous children's novel, based on Kerr's own experiences and observations growing up during the rise of Nazi Germany. When nine-year-old Ana Kemper's (Riva Krymalowski) father, Arthur (Oliver Masucci), a Jewish Journalist persecuted by the National Socialist regime, is forced to flee Germany in 1933, Ana, along with her mother Dorothea (Carla Juri) and twelve-year-old brother Max (Marinus Hohmann) quickly follow him. Leaving her childhood home and beloved stuffed pink rabbit behind, Ana embarks on a new life, first in Switzerland, then France, and ultimately America. Through the family's journey, Ana discovers the resilient power of the human spirit that emerges when one faces humanity's darkest sides. Winner of the Outstanding Children or Youth Film at the 2020 German Film Awards.
SHORT FILM SHOWCASE | US PREMIERE
“Next Generation Short Tiger”
Germany (2020), 101 min. (German/English with English Subtitles).
Presented by German Films and the German Federal Film Board (FFA), this beloved annual showcase premieres the most remarkable student shorts – the NEXT GENERATION of German Cinema – together with the best German shorts under 5 minutes – the winners of the FFA’s SHORT TIGER Award 2020.
This year's expert jury includes Katrin Küchler (MDR unicato), actress Marleen Lohse, and Dr. Christian Bräuer (Yorck Cinemas) who have selected 13 short films
These deeply personal and universal stories confirm the notion that short film is an independent art form deserving of the big screen and the awareness of audiences worldwide.
NEXT GENERATION SHORT TIGER 2020 Program:
APOCALYPSE AIRLINES - Camille Tricaud, Franziska Unger (Animation, 2019, 3 min.)
ASCONA - Julius Dommer (Documentary, 2019, 15 min.)
THE BEAUTY - Pascal Schelbli (Animation, 2019, 4 min.)
BRAND | ABLAZE - Jan Koester, Alexander Lahl (Documentary, Animation 2019, 5 min.)
GLÜCK IM KEKS | FORTUNE COOKIE - Nina Weilbächer (Animation, 2019, 3 min.)
GRAVEDAD - Matisse Gonzalez (Animation, 2019, 10 min.)
IN DEN BINSEN | RUSHES - Clara Zoe My-Linh von Arnim (Fiction, 2020, 6 min.)
INTERSTATE 8 - Anne Thieme (Fiction, 2019, 15 min.)
THE LOST WEDDING RING - Elisabeth Jakobi (Animation, 2020, 4 min.)
REVOLVO - Francy Fabritz (Fiction, 2019, 8 min.)
UND WEINEN KÖNNEN | 5 WAYS TO CRY - Michael Fetter Nathansky (Fiction, 2019, 12 min.)
WHERE WE USED TO SWIM - Daniel Asadi Faezi (Documentary, 2019, 8 min.)
WILD WEST COMPRESSED - Christian Kaufmann (Animation, 2019, 3 min.)
About the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles:
The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. The institute promotes knowledge of the German-language abroad and fosters international cultural cooperation. The Goethe-Institut Los Angeles operates on a partnership basis. For individual projects, as for longer-term joint ventures, the Goethe-Institut connects with stakeholders in the cultural scene – institutions, organizations, companies, people in and from Southern California and Arizona, Germany, and other countries.
For more information, please visit: www.goethe.de/losangeles
Facebook: www.facebook.com/goetheinstitut.losangeles ,
Twitter: @gi_losangeles and Instagram @goetheinstitut_losangeles
About the American Cinematheque:
The American Cinematheque is a non-profit cultural organization whose mission is to celebrate the experience of cinema as a moving art form; we create spaces where both the public and members of the film industry come together as a community with the common language and love of film. Since it began screening films to the public in 1985, the American Cinematheque has provided diverse film programming and live in-person discussions and events with thousands of filmmakers and luminaries, presenting both new and repertory cinema to Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.americancinematheque.com