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:: Spotlight :: 12th annual Audi Festival of German Films

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Presenting a wonderfully audacious collection of contemporary German cinema, the 12th annual Audi Festival of German Films celebrates the rich diversity of one of Europe’s most dynamic and creatively renowned cultures. Showcasing 45 award-winning films and documentaries from inspiring thrillers to wry comedies and critically lauded feature dramas, the Festival will take place across eight cities throughout the first two weeks of May, and, for the first time, will include Newcastle and Byron Bay.

Presented by the Goethe-Institut in association with German Films, screening partner Palace Cinemas, and the generous support of Audi, whose superb vehicles combine elegance with innovative technology, Festival Director, Dr. Arpad Sölter has crafted a ground-breaking programme which will showcase over 230+ screenings across eight distinct and aptly titled categories from Eastern Promises, Retro, German Currents and Kraut Pleasers to Hot Docs, Russian Roulette, Our Neighbours and Kinder Kapers.

Two Lives, from writer/director Georg Maas, who will be one of the Festival’s many international guests, will launch the event in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Starring the legendary Liv Ullmann, along with Ken Duken and Juliane Köhler, Two Lives is a thrilling drama that seeks to discover the true identity of a woman whose mysterious past lies in the buried secrets of a wartime liaison between a Norwegian woman and a German soldier.

Additional Festival highlights include:

Bliss (Screening in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide & Perth)
From filmmaker Doris Dorrie (Cherry Blossoms) comes Bliss, an uncompromising study of the consuming love between Irina, an illegal Macedonian immigrant who sells her body on the streets of Berlin, and Kalle, a homeless man, from filmmaker Doris Dorrie (Cherry Blossoms).

Break-Up Man (Screening in Sydney, Melbourne & Canberra)
This smash-hit comedy tells the tale of Paul Voigt, a charmingly ambitious professional who works for a ‘relationship break-up’ agency. A master at delivering bad news to husbands and wives on behalf of partners lacking the courage to say ‘it’s all over,’ Paul’s on the verge of a big promotion until he meets Toto, a neurotic client who decides to cling to cool-and-calm Paul for dear life with dire results!

Breathing (Screening all cities)
Directed by actor Karl Markovics (The Counterfeiters) Austria’s entry in the Foreign Language Oscar category tells the story of Roman Kogler, a 19-year-old ward-of-the-state living in a detention centre following a serious crime. As part of the centre’s day release program, Roman’s only hope for rehabilitation comes when he is offered the position of assistant undertaker at the local morgue.

Dreileben Trilogie (Screening all cities)
Directed by three of Germany’s leading filmmakers, Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf and Christoph Hochhäusler, this intriguing trilogy of films, each plays upon figures of three, to form a series of subtle repetitions and triangulations of characters and events.

Famous Five (Screening in Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra)
There’s much to enjoy in this fast-paced and entertaining film that captures author Enid Blyton’s spirit of fun and adventure. Based upon the exploits of four children and a dog, the story follows their quest to uncover the secrets behind a smuggler’s cave, a kidnapping and a secret scientific laboratory.

German Sons (Screening Sydney & Melbourne)
When Harald Grosskopf, the son of a Nazi Party member soldier, and filmmaker Philippe Mora, the son of artistic Jews, met in 2009 Berlin, Mora decided to make a documentary on their incredibly disparate upbringing, resulting in an engrossing portrait of two people impacted by the Hitler years.

Mercy (Screening Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra)
A slow-burning thriller about a couple, torn apart by infidelity, brought together when they attempt to conceal a tragic accident.

Russendisko (Screening Sydney, Melbourne & Canberra)
Based on Russendisko, the runaway 2000 bestseller by Russian author and disc-jockey Wladimir Kaminer, this poignant, modern-day fairytale charts the adventures of Wladimir, Mischa and Andrej, three young men from Moscow who arrive in Berlin soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Sound of Heimat (Screening Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane)
What happens when a New Zealand saxophonist embarks upon a search for the roots and living traditions of German folk music? In this exuberant documentary, Kiwi horn blower Hayden Chisholm seeks to discover the musical embodiment of the quintessential German notion of Heimat (homeland).

The Wall (Sydney, Melbourne & Adelaide)
Set amidst the Austrian Alps, this Robinson-Crusoe like drama tells the story of a woman who becomes separated from the rest of humanity by an invisible, impenetrable wall. A metaphor rich mediation on loneliness, fear and survival, based on the acclaimed 1963 novel by Marlen Haushofer.

This Ain’t California (Screening Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle, Canberra & Byron Bay)
A fascinating documentary about teenage rebellion and skateboard riding in East Germany that follows three childhood friends from the 1970s until present day.

Turkish for Beginners (Screening Sydney, Melbourne & Perth)
The most successful German film of 2012, this lively romantic comedy reunites characters from the hit TV sitcom about German-Turkish relationships and follows the adventures of Lena Schneider, a sensible but slightly neurotic young woman, who is stranded on a desert isle with Cem, a young Turkish-German man with raging hormones, his deeply religious sister, Yagmur, and a stuttering Greek named Costa.

Festival dates and venues are as follows:

SYDNEY: 30 April - 14 May Chauvel Cinema, Palace Verona
MELBOURNE: 1 - 15 May Palace Cinema Como, Kino Cinemas
BRISBANE: 3 - 9 May Palace Centro
NEWCASTLE 4 - 5 May Tower Cinemas
CANBERRA: 7 - 12 May Palace Electric Cinema
ADELAIDE: 8 - 13 May Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas
PERTH: 9 - 13 May Cinema Paradiso
BYRON BAY: 10 - 12 May Palace Byron Bay

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