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From Deutschland With Love – German Film Fest Australia

by Suzanne Yanko

Melbourne is fortunate indeed in having yet another celebration of German culture to mark the end of 2016. Opening just before the first opera in Wagner’s Ring cycle is the 15th German Film Fest Australia, in Melbourne from November 17-30, (as well as in other cities).

Now in its 15th year, the German Film Fest Australia is a major cultural event organised by the Goethe-Institut and German Films. In November 2016 the Festival takes place at Palace Cinemas in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. The Institut promotes the study of German abroad and encourages international cultural exchange.

The Festival showcases Germany’s thriving filmmaking industry bringing contemporary, award-winning, and internationally acclaimed German- language films with English subtitles to Australia.

The Fest will open and close with two films, Goodbye Berlin and Varieté, both based on significant German novels.

Goethe-Institut Australia Director, Sonja Griegoschewski said, “The Goethe-Institut and German Films are delighted to bring these essential films to premiere in Australia at the German Film Fest.

“We look forward to bringing a colourful kaleidoscope of German stories and storytellers to share perspectives, creativity, and important and current German filmmaking,” she said.

The latest feature film by multiple-award-winning director Fatih Akin (Head-On, Soul Kitchen) Goodbye Berlin (2016) will take audiences on a road trip through provincial Germany. The film is based on the best-selling cult novel Tschick by the late author Wolfgang Herrndorf. One of Germany’s biggest literary successes in recent years, the book has also been published in Australia under the title Why We Took the Car.

SYNOPSIS: Goodbye Berlin (2016)

Summer. A stolen car, with nothing less than the whole world to discover. Fatih Akin tells the story of two outsiders who experience a life changing road trip together. To Maik and Tschick, two unlikely friends, it becomes a road trip into adulthood. Tschick is a teenager from a poor district of Berlin who was born to Russian immigrants. Emotionally neglected Maik, however, is from an upper middle class family. The film is based on Wolfgang Herrnsdorf’s best-selling coming of age story Tschick (English title: Why We Took the Car).

The closing night film Varieté (1925) is a new restoration of the classic 1925 silent drama, firstly presented at the Berlinale 2015. Directed and written by Golden Globe winner Ewald Andre Dupont, the film has been updated with a new soundtrack by British musical trio The Tiger Lillies to tell the story of trapeze artist Boss Huller, played by first-ever Oscar recipient Emil Jannings.

SYNOPSIS: Varieté (1925)

Love, lust and jealousy are the main ingredients of E. A. Dupont’s circus fairy tale. Former trapeze artist “Boss” Haller leaves his wife and children behind in order to run away with Berta-Marie. The beautiful and seductive young dancer, however, begins an affair with artist Artinelli. Varieté’s timeless fascination derives from its sophisticated staging as well as the suspense created by the actor’s facial expressions. Originally shot in 1925, the film was restored and digitalised in 2015 with a new soundtrack by The Tiger Lillies. This new version was premiered at the Berlinale in 2015.

Presented by the Goethe-Institut, Germany’s cutting edge promoter of cultural exchange, in collaboration with German Films, the country’s world-wide film promotions service, these two films are just a teaser of what’s to come when the Festival reveals a full program of features, documentaries, guests and special events in early October.

More information.

German Film Fest Handles

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Classic Melbourne thanks the Goethe-Institut for this year’s stellar line-up of films; we suggest it’s the perfect night out … when you’re not at the opera!

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