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:: Spotlight :: 2010 Audi Festival of German Films

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The 9th annual Audi Festival of German Films has a heady mix of ingredients guaranteed to tempt the most jaded cinematic appetite. With 30 new features, a ‘menu’ that includes a course devoted to culinary comedies and a ‘mixed platter’ of gala launches, special guests, discussion panels and the ever-popular Golden Gnome Audience Award, the 2010 Festival will have audiences demanding a second helping.

With more than 170 screenings over 14 days across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and, for the first time, Adelaide, from late April to early May, the Festival will open in most cities with a gala preview of SOUL KITCHEN (courtesy of Sharmill films) from renowned director Fatih Akin (THE EDGE OF HEAVEN), which dazzled critics at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, winning the Special Jury Prize, Young Cinema Award and a Golden Lion nomination, whilst Sydney and Perth will launch with WHISKY WITH VODKA, a satirical look at the vagaries of filmmaking that garnered director Andreas Dresen the ‘Best Director’ Award at the prestigious 2009 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

As in past years, Audi, Europe’s foremost manufacturer of luxury cars, will be the Festival’s major sponsor and international guests will travel courtesy of Lufthansa. The first guest will be famed German director, Sönke Wortmann, who will present his latest film POPE JOAN, starring Joanna Wokalek (THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX), David Wenham, John Goodman and featuring a cameo appearance from Tigerlily Hutchinson as the young Joan, along with his 1994 classic MAYBE, MAYBE NOT starring German heartthrob, Til Schweiger. Additional guests will be confirmed shortly.

The 2010 Festival will be divided into several sections highlighting the depth and diversity of German cinema. Within the culinary comedy section, there will be movies such as the aforementioned SOUL KITCHEN, TANDOORI LOVE and KEBAB CONNECTION, whilst the Berlin component will feature a slate of Berlin-based films, from THE WOLVES OF BERLIN and BERLIN ’36 to the 1999 classic AIMÉE & JAGUAR. In tandem with these, there will also be a showcase of the latest German titles, along with a select retrospective on the work of SOUL KITCHEN writer/director Fatih Akin.

The Audi Festival of German Films has rapidly gained a loyal audience since first launching in 2002, with 2009 attendance figures in excess of 19,000. And with many of Germany and Europe’s finest actors from Daniel Brühl (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS), Hannah Herzsprung (FOUR MINUTES) David Kross (THE READER), Jürgen Vogel (THE WAVE), Kerry Fox (BRIGHT STAR) to Annamaria Marinca (4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS & 2 DAYS), Mads Mikkelsen (CASINO ROYALE), Steve Buscemi (FARGO), Heike Makatsch (LOVE ACTUALLY) and Robert Stadlober (KRABAT), starring in a brilliant line-up that includes director Michael Haneke’s THE WHITE RIBBON, winner of the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and two-time nominee at the 2010 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography, there is great anticipation of record cinemagoers come April.

2010 Festival highlights include:

Director: Fatih Akin
A run-down restaurant gets a fresh lease of life when the owner hires a temperamental new chef who alienates the regular customers, inadvertently turning the eatery into the toast of the ‘it’ crowd.

POPE JOAN (Die Päpstin)
Director: Sönke Wortmann
A 9th century woman of English extraction born in the German city of Ingelheim disguises herself as a man and rises through the Vatican ranks.

Director: Florian Gallenberger
The true story of a German businessman who saved more than 200,000 Chinese during the Nanjing massacre in 1937-38.

Director: Oliver Paulus
Europe’s first ‘Bollywood-style’ film follows the romantic tribulations of a waitress in a village restaurant who finds herself torn between her love for her boss and the romantic overtures of a master chef whose charm and culinary magic she finds hard to resist.

Director: Hans-Christian Schmid
Hannah Maynard, a prosecutor of Hague's Tribunal for war crimes in former Yugoslavia, charges a Serbian commander for killing Bosniaks. However, there’s a chance that her main witness might be concealing the truth, so the court sends a team to Bosnia to investigate the true nature of the events that occurred.

VISION – Aus dem Leben der Hildegard von Bingen
Directed by Margarethe von Trotta
The life story of the multi-talented German nun Hildegard von Bingen, best known as a composer and religious visionary - whose grand actions often ran counter to the patriarchal world around her.

GRAVITY (Schwerkraft)
Director: Maximillan Erlenwein
When an average, seemingly content bank employee witnesses the suicide of a customer, for which he blames himself, something within him snaps, causing him to explore his darker side.

THE WHITE RIBBON (Das Weisse Band)
Director: Michael Haneke
In a small village north of Germany in the years prior to World War 1, strange events reminiscent of ritual punishment occur. Could the abused and suppressed children of the villagers be at the heart of this mystery?

MÄNNERHERZEN (Men in the City)
Directed by Simon Verhoeven
Told from a male viewpoint, this comedy follows the ups and downs of five guys who belong to the same Berlin gym, striving to be ‘real men’ without any real concept of just what this means in today’s society.

THE DOOR (Die Tür)
Director: Anno Saul
A successful artist loses control of his life after his young daughter's death. A chance for a new start appears, but all is not what it seems.

Sydney - April 21 - May 2, Chauvel Cinema / Palace Norton Street
Melbourne - April 22 - May 2, Palace Cinema Como / Palace Brighton Bay
Perth - April 22 - 26, Cinema Paradiso
Brisbane - April 28 - May 4, Palace Centro
Adelaide - May 7 - 9, Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas

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