Monday, April 23, 2012

53 Million Americans Claim German Heritage

Did you know that it was a German who gave America its name? The cartographer Martin Waldseemüller (1470-1520) was the first to draw the New World as a continent on his map Universalis cosmographia, part of which you see on your right, calling it "America" after Amerigo Vespucci, whom Waldseemüller thought to be the real discoverer of America.

But that was by far not the only footprint that Germans left in America. Since the arrival of a German botanist in the Jamestown in 1608, German immigrants and their descendants have made an indelible imprint on this country.  Today, some 43 million Americans claim German heritage.  Read more here (from the German Information Service) about how Germany and German immigrants have left their mark on American culture (think beer, brats, and, oh, yes, Christmas).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

German Films at the San Francisco International Film Festival - April and May

The San Francisco International Film Festival is in full gear, and Germany weighs in with a three-part drama/mystery Dreileben

All three films of Dreileben’s character-driven crime drama trilogy are set in and around a small town by the Thuringian Forest. This opening entry taps into the Grimm nature of the setting. Two protagonists as green as the leaves face more romantic trouble than they can handle, while a murderer lurks nearby.

Another German entry is Sleeping Sickness (Schlafkrankheit) 

A German doctor working to fight an epidemic in Cameroon must make difficult choices in director Ulrich Köhler’s subtle examination of African postcolonial ties with the West. Echoes of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and a sense of dread pervade this lush meditation on the experience of being European in Africa.