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:: Spotlight :: 2009 Audi Festival of German Films

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Presented by the Goethe-Institut in conjunction with German Films, the 2009 Audi Festival of German Films will screen throughout Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane from mid-April onwards.

For its 8th annual outing, the Festival, which is again proudly sponsored by Audi, Europe’s leading manufacturer of exquisite cars, has assembled a fascinating line-up of more than 20 films, which illustrate the rich diversity of contemporary German cinema, along with an amazing retrospective of seldom seen features from the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The Festival is also delighted to announce that THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX, directed by Uli Edel and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Oscars, has been selected as the opening night film in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX will screen courtesy of Icon Film Distribution.

The 2009 event promises to draw a wide audience, with a planned 150 screenings comprising current productions such as TRADE, KRABAT, NOVEMBER CHILD, PEACEFUL TIMES, JERICHOW and BERLIN CALLING. Also featured is legendary director Billy Wilder’s 1961 comedy ONE, TWO, THREE starring the immortal James Cagney as a West-Berlin based Coca-Cola executive, frantically trying to stop the daughter of his American boss from marrying a Communist.

Amazingly, it is now 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down, reuniting East and West Germany. The Festival’s GDRetro celebrates this anniversary with a retrospective of never or rarely seen films from the surprisingly prolific film industry of the former German Democratic Republic. “In 2009 we are enriching the program through a section dedicated to the ‘culture of remembrance’,” explained Klaus Krischok, director of the Goethe-Institut Australia. "Many pivotal films from the GDR have never before been shown in this country. We are therefore excited to screen milestones from and about the former GDR, such as director Frank Beyer’s JACOB THE LIAR, TRACES OF STONE and CARBIDE AND SOREL as well as THE LEGEND OF PAUL AND PAULA plus East Germany’s only explicitly gay film COMING OUT, both from director Heiner Carow, which ironically premiered on the night the Berlin Wall was dismantled.”

In keeping with tradition, the 2009 Festival will again welcome guests from Germany including acclaimed director Marco Kreuzpaintner (SUMMER STORM, TRADE, KRABAT) along with Der Spiegel journalist and author, Christian Buss. Lively film debate will be encouraged via a serious of panel discussions and seminars focusing on director Michael Althen’s fascinating documentary on cinematic history EYE TO EYE – ALL ABOUT GERMAN FILM. Australian film critics will confer on the Festival’s blog, entitled Vote and Win, and for the second year running, the Festival will hold the Golden Gnome Audience Award. Entrants will have the chance to win a ‘trip for two to Berlin’ plus other great prizes. There will also be a supporting program entitled Berlin Sessions, featuring DJs all the way from Berlin who will perform in the cities' clubs along with a special national program for young students of the German language.

Highlights of the Audi Festival of German Films 2009 include:

12 MEANS: I LOVE YOU (12 heißt: Ich liebe dich)
Director: Connie Walter
East Germany in the 70s. A prisoner falls in love with her Stasi officer. Their intense relationship takes a twist when they revisit the prison after the Berlin Wall has ceased to be.

THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX (Der Baader Meinhof Komplex)
Director: Uli Edel
Academy-Award nominated drama about Germany’s infamous RAF terrorist gang, with an all-star cast.

BERLIN CALLING
Director: Hannes Stöhr
DJ Ickarus flies too high – on illegal substances and his own music. The big city forms the background to a highly emotional drama – and delivers the soundtrack of a lifetime.

CLARA (Geliebte Clara)
Director: Helma Sanders-Brahms
Clara Schumann, a brilliant concert pianist in her own right, was more than the woman behind composer Robert Schumann, as revealed in this intense drama, which takes the viewer on a journey of love, deceit, ambition and hope.

JERICHOW
Director: Oskar Roehler
A road movie and a journey to unexpected interiors – as Laura, Ali and ex-soldier Thomas, meet in this small town by the Baltic. Stunning performances by Nina Hoss and Benno Führmann

DR ALEMÁN
Director: Tom Schreiber
A young German doctor wants to make a positive impact in Columbia’s drug infested cities. However, his idealism is soon tested when he finds himself immersed in the dangerous currents of his new environment.

THE INVENTION OF THE CURRIED SAUSAGE (Die Entdeckung der Currywurst)
Director: Ulla Wagner
Hamburg 1945. A middle-aged housewife hides a young German soldier in her apartment. An unusual and dramatic love affair unfolds, as the lonely woman rediscovers passion, only to have it threatened by the onset of peace.

PEACEFUL TIMES (Friedliche Zeiten)
Director: Neele Leana Vollmar
Germany 1968 - beehives and cocktail dresses. In this compelling drama, the move from East to West is not the success that one family hopes for, as wife and mother, Irene Striesow, can’t shake off the demons of her past – a situation which forces her children to take matters into their own hands.

A YEAR AGO IN WINTER (Im Winter ein Jahr)
Director: Caroline Link
Academy-Award winner Caroline Link’s long awaited return. Eliane asks Max (to paint a portrait of her children. However, one of them is dead, and the other does not want to be in the picture…

KRABAT
Director: Marco Kreuzpaintner
A colourful, adventure-fantasy. 14 year-old Krabat discovers a terrible secret in the old mill where he learns his trade alongside 11 companions. Based on an ancient legend and the international bestseller of the same name.

PALERMO SHOOTING
Director: Wim Wenders
Wim Wenders’ latest film, starring rock-star Campino. When his life starts spinning out of control, renowned fashion photographer, Finn, abandons his career and leaves Duesseldorf for Palermo. Just as his new life takes shape, his peace is shattered when he finds himself the target of a mysterious shooter

TRADE – WELCOME TO AMERICA (Willkommen in Amerika)
Director: Marco Kreuzpaintner
Terrible things happen on the US-Mexican border, as a young man who sets out to unveil the secrets of prostitution and child trade, soon discovers, in this thrilling German-Hollywood production.


2009 FESTIVAL DATES & VENUES:

Sydney: April 15 - 26 - Chauvel Cinema / Palace Norton Street
Melbourne: April 16 - 26 - Palace Cinema Como / Kino Palace Cinemas
Perth: April 16 - 20 - Cinema Paradiso
Brisbane: April 22 - 26 - Palace Centro