Michael Krüger was not only one of the most important publishers and literary mediators in Germany and worldwide – first and foremost he is a poet. We have an appointment in the unofficial spaces where poems and an unconventional, fateful life meet. “How a poem is really made? If you knew, no more poems would be created. That’s very clear to me.”
DE 2022, 91 Min., Regie, Kamera und Schnitt: Frank Wierke
Bewildering, amusing, insightful: Anke Engelke acts out eight authentic interviews, assembling them into a gigantic mosaic about motherhood.
This film tells of the joy and doubt, the power and powerlessness, the anger and love involved in motherhood. It is at its heart a documentary project: eight women aged between 30 and 75 talk about their lives as mothers. What all these women have in common is their realization that motherhood is a highly ambivalent experience. For the film, these documentary statements are brought together visually in the form of a fictional character portrayed by Anke Engelke. The actress combines the women’s reports into a laconic narrative about the everyday life of a mother.
DE 2022, 88 Min., deutsche OmeU Regie & Buch: Carolin Schmitz Kamera: Reinhold Vorschneider Schnitt: Stefan Oliveira-Pita, Annett Kiener mit: Anke Engelke
Fahrije’s husband has been considered missing since the end of the war – like so many other men from her village in rural Kosovo. When she decides one day to get her driver’s license so she can sell her homemade sauces in town, she immediately faces opposition from her conservative, patriarchal village. Fahrije, however, is not intimidated and soon other women dare to help her in this revolutionary venture. The film, which won three awards at Sundance, tells the story of a daring woman who, against all the odds, builds a new existence for herself and other women.
The title refers to the eponymous 1937 poem by Else Lasker-Schüler, in which the poet writes that “what once was: love” can be found at the cinema. Two decades on from this, it was a love of cinema that brought together two people who significantly expanded – today one might say, diversified – the film history of post-war Germany, encompassing both the way films are viewed as well as the discourse surrounding the medium: Erika and Ulrich Gregor. Alice Agneskirchner’s documentary follows various paths to get right up close to the founders of Arsenal and the International Forum of New Cinema: on the one hand via the eventful life of the couple, who have been married for over 60 years; on the other via those who have accompanied them along the way, including such prominent figures as Jutta Brückner, Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch. The films of which the Gregors are particularly fond and to which they gave their full backing are also central, as the duo becomes reacquainted with Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, István Szabó’s Apa and Helke Sander’s Die allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit – Redupers. This is not only a film about love and cinema but also a piece of West German history.
DE 2021, 155 Min. Regie & Buch: Alice Agneskirchner Kamera: Jan Kerhart Schnitt: Silke Botsch mit Erika Gregor, Ulrich Gregor
As with the rest of his oeuvre, duplication and mirroring of female characters once again informs Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s latest work, Guzen to sozo. It would not be out of place to make a literary analogy and, if one were to regard his two previous films (Happy Hour and Asako I &II) as novels, this new work could be described as a collection of short stories. The film’s recurring rhythm amplifies this effect. The three episodes, which each revolve around a woman, are in turn divided into three movements, like a piece of music. They tell stories of an unexpected love triangle, a failed seduction trap, and an encounter that results from a misunderstanding. The fragmentation serves to emphasise rather than undermine the exquisitely organic storytelling and mise en scène. Although most of the action takes place in a single space and involves just two actors, not once does it feel like filmed theatre. The secret lies not only in the writing, but also in the notion of a more complex temporality in each episode that flirts with science fiction in the final instalment. The moments we witness are crystallised into touching universal destinies marked by choices, regrets, deception and coincidences. They are the film’s true protagonists.
Clara is 39 and is taking a PhD in philosophy. She lives in a Kreuzberg flat share while her teenage daughter lives with her ex. Clara is having a secret relationship with one of her students. Her thesis supervisor, the strong and independent Margot, provides her with professional encouragement. When Clara visits her home in provincial Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for her mother’s birthday, she finds herself struggling with the pride and expectations but also with the rejection of her family and former companions. She begins to realise just how far she has moved away from her roots in her search for a self-determined life. But perhaps she had to move away. Because one’s perception of home can change. Annika Pinske’s quiet drama is a study in familiarity and distance, liberty and compulsion, the countryside and the city. Sensitive, nuanced performances from an outstanding cast with an assured command of the local dialects allow the audience to experience the atmospheres of both Berlin’s university milieu and the rural family get-together.
DE 2022, 89 Min. Regie & Buch: Annika Pinske Kamera: Ben Bernhard Schnitt: Laura Lauzemis mit Anne Schäfer, Anne-Kathrin Gummich, Judith Hofmann, Marcel Kohler, Max Riemelt, Emma Frieda Brüggler, Thomas Bading, Christine Schorn, Sandra Hüller, Alireza Bayram
Muzamil was only a newborn when a prophecy foretold his death at 20. His father is unable to live with this curse and abandons his family. Long resigned to his fate, the young man starts to question his preordained death when he meets Suleiman, a cameraman who has returned to the village of his birth. The Sudanese director won the Lion of the Future at the 2019 Mostra di Venezia.
SD 2019, 105 Min., OmU Regie: Amjad Abu Alala Schnitt: Heba Othman Kamera: Sébastien Goepfert mit: Mustafa Shehata, Islam Mubarak, Mahmoud Elsaraj, Bunna Khalid
„The Good Boss” takes place in and around the Blancos Básculas factory, where all things must be in balance at all times. After all, they manufacture scales of all shapes and sizes. There, the seemingly benevolent boss, Bardem’s Blanco, is preparing his workforce for an upcoming inspection by a group visiting local businesses to select one for a prestigious prize. Tensions begin to mount, however, when recently fired employee Jose shows up with his two children and begins making demands for the reinstatement of his employment. When Blanco’s management team refuses, the employee begins a one man crusade to discredit Blanco and prevent him from winning the much-coveted award.
El buen patrón ES 2021, 120 Min., span. OmU Drehbuch und Regie: Fernando León de Aranoa Schnitt: Vanessa Marimbert mit: Javier Bardem, Manolo Solo, Almudena Amor, Óscar de la Fuente, Sonia Almarcha Kamera: Pau Esteve Birba
A bunch of friends yearning for excitement broadcast a free radio station from their hometown in the countryside. Jerome leads it with unique charisma while Philippe, the technical genius, lives in the shadow of Jerome, his big brother. When called for the military service, Philippe has no choice but to leave for West Berlin. He’s determined to keep on broadcasting, but realizes that he just lived the last glorious moments of a world on the verge of extinction.
Les Magnétiques FR / DE 2021, 98 Min., frz. OmU Regie: Vincent Maël Cardona Kamera: Brice Pancot Schnitt: Flora Volpelière mit: Thimotée Robert, Marie Colomb, Joseph Olivennes, Meinhard Neumann
Yoko (played by the former leading member of the idolgirl groupAKB48, Atsuko Maeda) is the reporter for a television travel program who visits Uzbekistan with her television crew to make an episode for the program. She dreams of becoming a singer. The film contrasts Yoko’s upbeat on-camera persona with her internal conflicts when she is on her own.
The film consists of a series of episodes in which Yoko wades into a lake to describe looking for a possibly mythical Uzbeki fish; proclaims the delicious crunchiness of under-cooked rice in a bowl of plov, a local dish; repeatedly takes nausea-inducing turns on a fun-park pendulum ride until her camera crew can get enough B‑camera footage of her face; and tries to liberate a goat in captivity named Okoo only to learn that if she does, it will be eaten by wild dogs.
She and the crew visit Samarkand and Tashkent; in the latter, she sings the classic Édith Piaf anthem, Hymne à l’amour (with Japanese lyrics], in a fantasy sequence set at the Navoi Theatre which (as noted below) had been built after the war by Japanese POWs. During a visit to the bazaar, she wanders off with a hand-held camera and starts videotaping in a restricted area. She runs away from the police, who eventually apprehend her but treat her kindly, especially when she learns that her firefighter boyfriend may have been involved in a massive oil refinery fire in Tokyo Bay, where he was stationed. (The boyfriend is never actually seen or heard; all the audience learns about him comes from texts he exchanges with Yoko.)
In a finale set in the mountains, her crew once again in pursuit of a likely mythical beast, she again sings Hymne à l’amour as she imagines that she has caught sight of Okoo running free in the distance.
Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari (旅のおわり世界のはじまり) UZ 2019, 120 Min. japanisch, usbekische OmU Regie: Kiyoshi Kurosawa Kamera: Akiko Ashizawa Schnitt: Koichi Takahashi mit: Atsuko Maeda, Shota Sometani, Tokio Emoto, Adiz Rajabov, Ryo Kase
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