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German Cinema To 1960
German Cinema, 1961-1989
German Cinema, 1990--
German Film, East
Von Sternberg, Josef
Von Stroheim, Erich
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HOUSE IN MONTEVIDEO, THE (DAS HAUS IN MONTEVIDEO)
In this popular postwar German comedy, co-directors (and spouses) Curt Goetz and Valerie von Martens star as husband and wife. He, an astute professor, gets an offer from his troublesome sister living in exile in Montevideo--a tempting offer that challenges his moral code. Goetz and Martens' "brand of witty dialogue and understated but lethal critique of petit-bourgeois double standards makes them rare masters of German film comedy" (
Encyclopedia of European Cinema
). In German with English subtitles.
Curt Goetz/Valerie von Martens---West Germany---1951---104 mins.
LUDWIG II, KONIG VON BAYERN
This two-disc Edition Filmmuseum release contains newly restored silent films on the fascinating life of the mad king of Bavaria, Ludwig II--
The Silence at the Starnberg Lake
(Rolf Raffe, Germany, 1920, 82 mins.) and
Ludwig II, King of Bavaria
(Wilhelm Dieterle, Germany, 1930, 111 mins.). These are joined by
In the Ocean of Longing
(Christian Rischert, West Germany, 1986, 104 mins.), a documentary on the historical figure. In German with English subtitles.
NAPOLEON IS TO BLAME FOR EVERYTHING
Curt Goetz directs and stars as Lord Arthur Cavershoot in this witty German comedy about a respectable man who grows obsessed with Napoleon. Neglecting his wife (Valerie von Martens) as a result, Arthur travels to Paris for a Napoleon conference, where he tries to help a young dancer and gets into even hotter water. In German with English subtitles.
Curt Goetz---Germany---1938---88 mins.
SCREAM OF STONE / THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO
A double feature of mountain movies. Twin peaks, if you will. Werner Herzog contributes to his cinematic heritage with
Scream of Stone
(Germany, 1991, 102 mins.), a contemporary version of the classic German mountain film. The rivalry between two climbers, one a seasoned mountaineer (Vittorio Mezzogiorno) and the other a champion indoor climber (Stefan Glowacz), escalates when a journalist (Donald Sutherland) proposes a challenge to determine the better. The rivalry heats up when a woman enters the picture. As always, Herzog captures the grace and danger of the landscape beautifully and with a master's touch. Also stars Brad Dourif and Mathilda May. In
The Snows of Kilimanjaro
(Henry King, USA, 1952, 114 mins.), based on Ernest Hemingway's short story, Gregory Peck stars as Harry Street, a renowned writer who reflects on his life and loves while lying wounded on the slopes of the East African mountain Kilimanjaro. With Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner, Leo G. Carroll. In English.
UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD (DIRECTOR'S CUT)
Wim Wenders filmed this epic, futuristic drama in fifteen cities in eight countries around the world. The year is 1999. Solveig Dommartin, the enchanting trapeze artist from
Wings of Desire
, pursues William Hurt, who helped himself to stolen money she was guarding for some very nice criminals. She also just might be in love with the mysterious Hurt who is on secret mission for Max Von Sydow, his even more mysterious father who lives in an underground laboratory in the middle of Australia. Also along for the global chase are boyfriend Sam Neill, and detectives Rudiger Vogler and Ernie Dingo. This ambitious work explores the potential end of the world and the incredible power of our dreams.
Wim Wenders---France/Germany/Australia---1991---279 min.
is the last fiercely independent gesture of the cinema's most uncompromising visionary. Von Sternberg narrates this true story of 12 Japanese sailors who, isolated on a jungle island, continue to believe for years that the war is not yet over. When a girl appears on the island,
becomes the spectacle of man's dignity and honor crumbling before the assault of desire. With Akemi Negishi, Tadashi Suganuma. In Japanese and English with French subtitles.
Josef von Sternberg---USA---1953---95 mins.
CHRONICLE OF ANNA MAGDALENA BACH / SICILIA! / UNE VISITE AU LOUVRE
A collection of three diverse films from the French-born cinematic provocateurs, Daniele Straub and Jean-Marie Huillet: In the austere biographical film
The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach
(West Germany/Italy, 1968, 94 mins.), Christiane Lang plays Anna Magdalena Bach, the impoverished widow of the brilliant composer Johann Sebastian Bach (Gustav Leonhardt). Narrated from Anna Magdalena's point of view, the film recounts the couple's tumultuous relationship and the musician's rampant discontent with their marriage. The highlights, naturally, are performances of some of Bach's finest works. "A masterpiece. This film
music" (Richard Roud,
Sight and Sound
). In German with English subtitles. Loosely based on Elio Vittorini's 1939 novel,
(Italy/France, 1999, 64 mins.) is a minimalist, black-and-white portrait of a Sicilian man (Gianni Buscarino) who returns to his native city after spending years abroad. In conversations with strangers and his mother (Angela Nugara), we learn how his biography is closely tied to the city and its traditions, for better or worse. In Italian with German subtitles. The experimental documentary,
Une Visite au Louvre
A Trip to the Louvre
, France, 2004, 44 mins.), is Straub-Huillet's interpretation of poet Joachim Gasquet's biography of painter Paul Cezanne. Put plainly, the filmmakers employ Julie Koltai to read excerpts of the text in voiceover, as the camera studies the particular Louvre artworks that Cezanne admired and derided. "Resonating in a similar vein as the...cultural elegies of Aleksandr Sokurov...or a stylistically flattened early Alain Resnais art documentary" (
Strictly Film School
). In French with English subtitles.
DISHONORED (JOSEF VON STERNBERG)
In this variation of the
tale, Marlene Dietrich plays a whore who is recruited by a covert spy ring; she's given the code name "X 27" and falls for a rogue agent (Victor McLaglen). "
is to the cinema what Ravel's
is to music--the Viennese Waltz disintegrating into the First World War" (Herman G. Weinberg).
Josef von Sternberg---USA---1931---91 mins.
STUDENT OF PRAGUE ( 1926 )
Conrad Veidt stars in this dark tale (filmed previously in 1913 and again in 1935) about a poor student who sells his soul to the devil. As part of the bargain, the devil also takes the student's mirror reflection, creating an evil doppleganger that haunts his world. Director Henrik Galeen contributed to the German cinema's move toward expressionism, and this atmospheric film demonstrates his considerable talents. Previously available in an 84-minute release, this is a restored, 95-minute version, with new English titles and an organ score by David Knudtson. Henrik Galeen---Germany---1926---95 mins.
Winifred Bonengel's film takes a harrowing look at neo-Nazism in 1980s East Berlin. Based on the experiences of co-screenwriter Ingo Hasselbach, the plot centers on a pair of friends, Heiko (Christian Blumel) and Tommy (Aaron Hildebrand), whose failed plan to escape the Iron Curtain lands them in prison and fuels their hatred. A compelling and unflinching examination of how personal and political forces work to shape friendships and lives. In German Winfried Bonengel---Germany---2002---105 mins.
MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL
A Los Angeles flophouse populated by several bizarre and suspicious characters is the site of a murder investigation in Wim Wenders' offbeat production. Mel Gibson plays an FBI agent looking into the case who proves to be every bit as peculiar as the residents of "The Million Dollar Hotel." The cast includes Jeremy Davies, Milla Jovovich, Jimmy Smits, Amanda Plummer, Peter Stormare, Bud Cort, Julian Sands, and Gloria Stuart. Based on a story by U2's Bono (who also contributed to the soundtrack). In English. Wim Wenders---Germany/USA---2000---122 mins.
NOSFERATU: FIRST VAMPIRE
Digitally remastered version of Murnau's
Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror
, hosted by David Carradine, with music by Type O Negative and their music video "Black No. 1." Friedrich W. Murnau---Germany/USA---1922/1997---75 mins.
WILD BLUE YONDER
Hypnotic and baffling, Werner Herzog's self-described "science fiction fantasy" stars Brad Dourif (
) as an alien telling the story of his people's plan to colonize the nearly-uninhabitable earth, while humans rove space in search of a new home. By combining this plot with actual NASA footage, the gorgeous underwater photography of Henry Kieser, and interviews with leading scientists, Herzog renders the natural world strange and makes unreality his narrative universe. "Mr. Herzog has gathered a trove of ravishing images in which you can get lost, especially if you don't get hung up on how they fit together" (
New York Times
). Winner of the FIPRESCI Werner Herzog---Great Britain/USA/France/Germany---2005---81 mins.
Not to be confused with the Oscar-winning Fred Zinnemann film, this erotic feature stars Sylvia Kristel (
) as a young woman trying to lose her virginity during a summer vacation in Switzerland. Sigi Rothemund---West Germany---1974---83 mins.
MAEDCHEN IN UNIFORM (MADCHEN IN UNIFORM)
Romy Schneider and Lilli Palmer appear in this remake of the 1931 German classic about a girl who falls in love with her female teacher at an authoritarian boarding school. "With its two Technicolored international beauties in the lead, it is an artfully manicured copy of its predecessor" (
The Faber Companion to Foreign Film
BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB
Wim Wenders intoxicating documentary captures the rehearsals, recording sessions and performances of several giants of Cuban son music, a popular form that dates back to the 1930s. American musician Ry Cooder rounded up these musical greats, some nearly forgotten, and organized a joyous, celebratory collaboration that brought their style of song back into the spotlight. Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo and Ruben Gonzalez are just a few of the bright lights who enjoy a most deserving revival here. "Fame and acclaim apparently had to wait until these particular musicians were in the twilight of their careers. Like vintage wine and instruments, they seem to have improved with age" (Richard Harrington,
). English and Spanish. Wim Wenders---Germany/USA/France/Cuba---1999---101 mins.
FOX AND HIS FRIENDS
A lower-class carnival entertainer professionally known as Fox the Talking Head strikes it rich, after a life of hard knocks, by winning the lottery. His new-found wealth attracts an elegant bourgeois lover, who proceeds to vamp Fox as thoroughly and unthinkingly as Lola Lola or Theda Bara. This ill-fated romance between "the capitalist and the lottery queen" makes for one of Fassbinder's most skillfully wrought films, expertly evoking a brittle, upper-class gay milieu where, as one character puts it, "God's dressed up like Marlene Dietrich, holding his nose." In German with English subtitles. Rainer W. Fassbinder---West Germany---1975---123 mins.
LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY
An unusual portrait of an unusual man, Werner Herzog's
Little Dieter Needs to Fly
shares the unforgettable, mostly true story of pilot Dieter Dengler, a German who came to America at age 18 and joined the navy. Flying a mission over Laos in 1966, he was shot down and made a prisoner of war. Revisiting some of the locations where Dengler experienced the horrors of war, Herzog recreated some of the events and reportedly suggested imagery that his clearly traumatized subject would then make a part of his story. "Herzog sees his mission as a filmmaker not to turn himself into a recording machine, but to be a collaborator. He does not simply stand and watch, but arranges and adjusts and subtly enhances, so that the film takes the materials of Dengler's adventure and fashions it into a new thing" (Roger Ebert,
Chicago Werner Herzog---Germany/Great Britain/France---1997---74 mins.
ALFRED NOBEL STORY
The life of the great Swedish inventor, chemical scientist, industrialist, and philanthropist, for whom the Nobel Prize is named, is dramatized for the screen. His story is told through the eyes of Bertha von Suttner, who worked as his assistant and later emerged as an important peace activist and won one of the first Nobel Peace Prizes. Hilde Krahl plays von Suttner and Mathias Wieman stars as Nobel. Dubbed in English. Harald Braun---West Germany---1951---108 mins.
CLOAK & DAGGER
Fritz Lang directs Gary Cooper in this tense WWII drama. Cooper delivers a great performance as an American physicist who confronts a maze of intrigue behind enemy lines in Nazi Germany. Also stars Lilli Palmer. Fritz Lang---USA---1946---106 mins.
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