Wednesday, March 16, 2011

German Films on Netflix - A Recommendation or Two ... or Three

If you have a subscription to Netflix, don't miss the foreign language selections. Here are a few recommendations for German films and you can click here to access a more comprehensive list of German films available on Netflix. Just scroll down to "Foreign Regions" and then click on "Germany".

JOHN RABE (2009)

Florian Gallenberger directs this gripping drama about John Rabe (Ulrich Tukur), a German businessman living in Nanking, China, who in 1937 used his Nazi party affiliation to save some 200,000 Chinese civilians from slaughter at the hands of the Japanese army. As Rabe labors to establish an official safety zone to shelter the innocent, he forms an unlikely friendship with an American doctor (Steve Buscemi). Anne Consigny and Daniel Brühl co-star.
Cast: Ulrich Tukur, Steve Buscemi
Director: Florian Gallenberger
Genre: Foreign
Format: DVD and streaming


Set in 1980s East Berlin, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's debut feature (which earned an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film) provides an exquisitely nuanced portrait of life under the watchful eye of the state police. When a successful playwright and his actress companion become subjects of the Stasi's secret surveillance program, their friends, family -- and even those doing the watching -- find their lives forever changed.
Cast: Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Genre: Foreign
Format: DVD and Blu-ray


In 1936, young German climbers Toni Kurz (Benno Fürmann) and Andreas Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas) face off against a rival Austrian duo in an attempt to be the first team to scale the infamous north face of the Eiger in the Swiss Alps. As the men make the treacherous climb, journalist Luise (Johanna Wokalek) -- Toni's childhood love -- covers the biggest story of her career. Philipp Stölzl helms this drama based on a true story.
Cast: Benno Furmann, Florian Lukas
Director: Philipp Stölzl
Genre: Foreign
Format: DVD and streaming

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Max Raabe in Oakland!

For those of you who aren't familiar with Max Raabe und sein Palast Orchester, here's your chance. They'll be playing at the Paramount Theater in Oakland on Saturday, April 9. Just who is Max Raabe? Briefly, he and his orchestra specialize in recreating the sound of German dance and film music of the 1920s and 1930s, especially by performing songs of the Comedian Harmonists. Founding the Palast Orchester in 1986, his first hit in 1992 was "Kein Schwein ruft mich an" ("Why does no one call me?", a pop song in 1920s' style, and the film Der bewegte Mann (English title: "Maybe, Maybe Not") in 1994. By the way, "Maybe, Maybe Not," is available for viewing in the Language Center. See and hear for yourself and, if it is your "glass of beer", get thee to the Paramount!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Do You Want to Learn Better? Here's How

Do you think you can't learn German (or any other language?) There's too much der, die and das, and why does German have four cases anyway? And those adjective endings? Um Himmel's Willen! Hilfe! Nur keine Panik! From the BBC come these helpful tips to address typical concerns students have about learning a second language. You can do it! But it's good to have strategies to help you through it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And Speaking of East Germany - Propaganda Mixed With Limited Commercialism in the Former Volksrepublik

Have fun viewing this commercial for the Warttburg, one of the two types of cars produced in the GDR (German Democratic Republic) The very maligned Trabant, or Trabi, was the other.

And then there was the constant mingling of propaganda with limited consumerism, as the GDR attempted to convince its population that it was as well off as its rich brother to the west.

From the Wild West to Outer Space: East German Genre Films

Before the Wall came down, East Germany was a world unto itself, but its film industry could travel: to outer space and the Baltic! If you're at all curious about this period in German film, don't miss the upcoming features at the Goethe Institute. Films start at 7 p.m. on Thursdays, March 3, 17th, and 31st.

When We Leave (Die Fremde) Coming to the Bay Area

What would you sacrifice for your family’s love? Your values? Your freedom? Your independence? German-born Umay flees her oppressive marriage in Istanbul, taking her young son Cem with her. She is hoping to find a better life with her family in Berlin, but her unexpected arrival creates intense conflict. Her family is trapped in their conventions, torn between their love for her and the values of their community.
Director, producer and writer Feo Aladag‘s breathtaking debut When We Leave has won numerous acclaimed film awards and screened last fall in the Bay Area at our film festival Berlin & Beyond. If you missed it then or would like to watch this masterpiece again, When We Leave will be at the two Bay Area Landmark theaters (see below)'.

The film’s running time is 119 minutes; it is not rated. In German and Turkish; fully subtitled in English.
Landmark’s Opera Plaza Cinema
601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
(415) 267-4893

Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas
2230 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley
+1 (510) 464-5980