March 31, 2009

German Film

I see that two of my blogging freundin, Willow and Anna at Mit Herz und Hand, have been talking about German films today. I thought I’d better jump into the fray. The German movies in my collection are as follows:

Mostly Martha, a food and relationship movie, is one of my all-time favourites in any language. I just want to crawl up and live inside this film. An obsessed chef becomes the guardian of her niece and a zesty Italian helps her see the light and relax. There is an Americanization of Mostly Martha called No Reservations. While the American film follows the movie verbatim, the German version is much more real. This film also introduced me to the great music of Paolo Conte. The movie stars Martina Gedeck and the gorgeous Italian Sergio Castellitto. Marry me!

Run Lola Run, known as Lola Rennt, is so hip it hurts. It involves two young lovers, a theft (die tache! die tache!) and three possible endings. Oh, and lots of running. It’s different from any other movie I’ve seen. It stars Franca Potente and Moritz Bleibtreu.

Moritz (Pillows-for-Lips) Bleibtreu also stars in Im Juli. Serendipity leads a mild mannered teacher on the trip of a lifetime. This movie is really fun and edgy. If you watch it you will be deceived by the first 10 minutes, but stick to it.

What To Do In Case of Fire is the story of a group of happy-go-lucky German revolutionaries who left a bomb behind in 1980s Berlin only to have it explode 10 years later when everyone has gone on with their lives to various degrees of success. I’m a push-over for an ensemble cast. This film features the sternly handsome Til Schweiger who I saw at the Frankfurt airport!

Nirgendwo in Afrika – Nowhere in Afrika is a movie we first saw at our local repertory cinema. My son received it from us at Christmas. Willow did a good job describing it. I’ll send you over to her place.

We also own the complete Heimat series. This is an amazing tour-de-force. Made for TV, it chronicles the Simon family from 1918 to the mid-1990s. It was written and directed by Edgar Reitz and was made over 20 year span. It’s a big investment of time, but it’s a masterpiece.


A Woman Of No Importance said...

I love Tom Tykwer's films - Lola Rennt was part of a trilogy of films, and my favourite is Der Krieger und die Kaiserin - Try looking for 'The Warrior and the Princess' - Sad and curiously quirky, but a wonderful love story, also with Franke Potente - Fabulous actress in my opinion...

Thank you for showcasing your films - I shall really look out for the others now!

Poetikat said...

As I noted at Willow's, I just love "Nowhere in Africa" (pardon my slip-up with that casting-link). We own Run, Lola Run and Mostly Martha (far superior to the remake with Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckart). I particularly liked (here I go again...Bruno Ganz?)as the oddball neighbour.

I'll look out for the others. I remember when "Heimat" was on TVO. We should have watched it (I don't know why we didn't; we saw everything else on PBS and TVO), but we missed it.

Have you seen "The Harmonists"?

I like Paolo Conte too! I was introduced to him through that goofy film with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline, "French Kiss".
"Cheeps, bee doo be doo!"


The Clever Pup said...

Kat, you crack me up! I'm glad my husband found me before he found you.!!

Ulrich Thomsen is the quirky neighbour Sam. I wish we all had such nice neighbours. Aaron Eckhardt was too cute and the little girl wasn't sad enough. It was directed by the same woman and Zeta-Jones seemed to mimic the German actress quite well. Paolo Conte sings the same song in Mostly Martha and the American one I think.

I've seen the Harmonists on late night TV. Anna over at Mit Herz und Hand is talking about that one today.

The Clever Pup said...


I've rented Der Krieger und die Kaiserin. I liked it myself but I didn't think the other family members would. He definitely has an "eye". One movie I was really let down by was Joyeux Noel. It had all the ingredients right but it fell flat.

Gal Friday said...

One of my favorite movies in the "sweet and feel good" department is "Im Juli". :-)
Do you know..I never ever got around to seeing "Run Lola, Run" and had never heard of the "Heimat" series. I'll have to look for them at Netflix..
Great topic--it seems German films get overlooked, generally.(well here in the US that is)

Poetikat said...

How did you like "Das Leben der Anderen"--The Lives of Others? I know YOU know the translation; I had to look it up. I thought it was brilliant!


The Clever Pup said...

Kat, I liked The Lives of Others (wink) a lot, but I was not as blown away by it as others were. Martina Gedeck was the woman in that one too.

The actor that played the writer in that one, Sebastian Koch, can be found in a saucy and sensationalized depiction of German-occupied Holland called Zwartboek, directed by Paul Verhoeven. Very enjoyable but I wouldn't recommend watching it with any kids under the age of 13 or 14. Lots of nudity and suggestive situations.

Poetikat said...

I think I know the one you mean - Black Book, right. I'm intrigued, but saucy isn't really my preference, generally. Although, I do make exceptions for the British, of course.

I didn't see The Lives...until a long time after the Oscar win.

We collect predominantly foreign films. There's a Russian one called The Return (don't ask for a translation) that is really memorable. Also, a fine Czech film called Zelary, that you may have missed.

Please send your own recommendations. We're always looking for new, good films for elsewhere.


willow said...

I checked out The Lives of Others from the library to watch this week. I saw it some time ago and want to watch it again.

Also adding Mostly Martha to my Netflix queue right now! Thanks for the tips. :^)

giulia said...

I know this is days & days ago but just got round to it. Love these films. But huge admirer of The Lives of Others. I was in Berlin off & on for some years & over into the East several times. The film got it so exactly "right" & so upsetting, as well, that I sat stuck to my seat in great gulping sobs. A few people around me just said, "Oh but it's over now..." They had no idea what it was like for people there...or in connection with other writers, academics, poets, journalists whose lives have been so compromised or hellish or whatever...there was no explaining it. If people don't get that from the film, then I don't know what else to say. Well, this is awfully late so apologies...

The Clever Pup said...

Giula, I remember first being exposed to the inequity of all this in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I've never experienced it first hand. The main character was so well acted in the Lives of Others. I should watch it again.

secret, fragile skies said...

Love your blog. Great film selections! (Mostly Martha!) I look forward to your posts.