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:: Spotlight :: 2008 Audi Festival of German Films

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

CHERRY BLOSSOMS – HANAMI, from director Doris Dörrie, a critically acclaimed drama about a man’s final journey to self-awareness, will open the 2008 Audi Festival of German Films in Sydney and Melbourne. Elsewhere, Brisbane’s opening night attendees will be treated to a screening of THE WAVE, a compelling tale about a high-school experiment with fascism that goes horribly wrong, whilst Perth audiences will view the Academy Award winning feature, which explores the secret currency-counterfeiting unit established by the Nazis during World War II.

With over 110 screenings showcasing twenty-two eclectic new films, the 2008 Festival casts a spotlight on Germany’s contemporary film industry, which is currently enjoying its strongest growth period in over a decade. In 1997 Germany produced 61 feature films, 14 of which were co-productions. Ten years on, and the country’s cinematic output has increased 100%, with 122 films being shot in 2007, including 46 co-productions; a strong indication of German cinema’s burgeoning international popularity. And with something to please everybody – from hit comedies including WHERE IS FRED?, RABBIT WITHOUT EARS and SPECIAL ESCORT, to more dramatic fare such as BORDER OF DESPAIR, THE OTHER BOY and ALONG CAME TOURISTS, the 2008 Festival is guaranteed to satisfy all celluloid appetites.

The old saying, “good things come in threes,” could be referring to the guests of the 2008 Festival. Jürgen Vogel, one of Germany’s biggest box office names, will be in Melbourne on April 22, Brisbane on April 23 and Sydney on April 25. A phenomenally in-demand and versatile actor, with more than 100 features to his credit, Vogel stars in no less than six films in this year’s program (DUEL IN THE NIGHT, THE WAVE, RABBIT WITHOUT EARS, SHATTERED GLASS, WHERE IS FRED? and NAKED).

From the other side of the lens, ‘hot’ young director, Martin Gypkens, who gained his first industry experience in New York, will also be on hand to introduce and discuss his latest movie NOTHING BUT GHOSTS, which follows the travails of five diverse groups of people as they explore their life choices against the backdrop of Germany, Iceland, Italy, the USA and Jamaica. Gypkens will visit Sydney (April 20 and 21), Melbourne (April 25 & 26) and Brisbane (April 27), as will leading German film writer and reviewer, Anke Zindler, who will be a key speaker at several of the Festival’s planned discussion forums.

Sydney - April 16-27 at Chauvel Cinema & Palace Norton Street
Melbourne - April 17-27 at Palace Cinema Como & Palace Brighton Bay
Perth - April 18-20 at Cinema Paradiso
Brisbane - April 23-27 at Palace Centro

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