Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mittwochs Film Series at the Goethe Institute: Through the German Eye

Parallel to the exhibition “The German Eye” the Goethe Institute presents two films that show America “Through the German Eye”. Directed by German filmmakers, the feature film “Don’t Come Knocking” and the documentary “Idiosyncrasies” reflect American realities and clichés at the same time, Western movies and surf films.
First up:  

Wednesday, November 14, 6:30pm

Don’t Come Knocking
Director: Wim Wenders, Austria, 2005, 122 min.

Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) has seen better days. Once a big Western movie star, he now drowns his disgust for his selfish and failed life with alcohol, drugs and young women. If he were to die now, nobody would shed a tear over him, that's the sad truth. Until one day Howard learns that he might have a child somewhere out there. The very idea seems like a ray of hope that his life wasn't all in vain. So he sets out to find that young man or woman. He discovers an entire life that he has missed… 

Followed by: 

Wednesday, November 28, 6:30pm
© Harbor Bill, Surfing OutlawDirector: Patrick Trefz, USA, 2010, 60 min.
The documentary portraits ten people who have influenced the surf history during the last 30 years tremendously. “Idiosyncrasies” presents an exploration of some truly unique minds, revealing what's behind the impact of some of surfing's most influential underground individuals, with their unique characteristics that manifest both on land and in the water. 

Filmmaker and photographer Patrick Trefz will be at the Goethe-Institut for the film screening which is followed by a Q&A with him. His Photographs are part of the exhibition “The German Eye”.

Monday, October 29, 2012

German Word of the Week: the Yiddish files

MeschuggeDid you know that Yiddish derives in large part from German?  It's true!  And here's a good Yiddish word that's become not only part of the German language, but is also used in English, as anyone who's watched a Woody Allen film would know!

Word of the Week: meschugge

Oct 26, 2012 and The Week in Germany highlight a different "Word of the Week" in the German language that may have serve to surprise, delight or just plain perplex native English speakers.
Enlarge imageThe slang expression "meschugge" (crazy) is one of several German words derived from Yiddish, which in turn was also influenced by German.(© German Information Center USA)

Derived from Yiddish, the adjective "meschugge" is used colloquially in German to describe someone or something as crazy.
The original Yiddish expression meshuge or meshige (meshigge) was used to describe someone as insane, overwrought, or crazy. The Yiddish usage was in turn based on a Hebrew word that included the verb form of "to lose one's way."
The slang expression "meschugge" had wended its way from Yiddish into German by the 19th century. It has been used ever since as a milder form of "verrückt" (crazy).
In this vein, you could drive someone slightly crazy as in "jemanden meschugge machen" or you could consider someone crazy as in "jemanden für meschugge halten."
Just as several Yiddish words have entered the German language, Yiddish - apart from its Hebrew origins - derived a large part of its vocabulary from German, and sometimes German speakers can even come close to comprehending a Yiddish phrase.
In the United States, this slang expression was also adopted with varius spellings - minus the "c" in the Germanic "sch" - as meshuga, meshugge, meshugah or meshuggah.
The German version of the word has even been used as the title for an English-language feature-length film: A 1998 German-Swiss-American co-production by Swiss actor-director Dani Levy and starring German actress Maria Schrader was called "Meschugge."
And an event held in a Berlin nightclub in 2010 featuring music provided by an Israeli DJ, moreover, was officially dubbed a - you guessed it - "Meschugge Party."

Monday, October 22, 2012

KuBus - Cultural Films from the Goethe Institute

These 49 videos, made between 2003 and 2007, are all about 15 minutes long and they cover all kinds of events and phenomena that occurred in the cultural, social and political life of Germany. An accompanying text provides background information on each topic, there is also a text transcript for each video. Films and accompanying materials can be accessed in German, English, Spanish, French, Russian and (since 2005) Chinese.   Check them out!  Topics include film, literature, music, visual arts, towns and regions.   To start, here's one on Chinese students living and studying in Berlin.  

Speaking of Language - Just for Fun, but .... Seriously!

German Word of the Week: Fuchsteufelswild

Each week, a very informative newsletter "The Week in Germany" offers up a "Word of the Week" to amuse or puzzle English speakers learning German.  This week, it's Fuchsteufelswild and it is used in German to describe an enraged person who is as wild as a fox and mad as the devil. This adjective is most likely rooted in the fox's much-maligned medieval reputation as a sly troublemaker.   To read more click here.   You can also subscribe to The Week in Germany and receive the Word of the Week, and much more!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Nina Hagen - Rare 1980's Clip from the Goethe Institute

Hey, all you German music fans out there, did you know that before there was Lady Gaga, there was Nina Hagen?  In this rare clip she takes you on a short Reise through German pop music of the 1980's. Try the closed caption option if you dare!