An interesting lineup of films that presents the breadth of contemporary German cinema makes up the 2017 German Film Week organized by the Goethe-Institut Philippinen. Following its successful launch last year, the festival will once again offer a diverse selection of films for audiences, with the goal of promoting German language and culture.
This year’s slate of films was carefully selected from the latest releases in Germany, some of which have already received numerous awards in international film festivals. “We are truly excited to unveil this year’s films and new voices to Philippine audiences,” said Dr. Ulrich Nowak, the director of the Goethe-Institut Philippinen. “Whether mainstream, romantic
“We are truly excited to unveil this year’s films and new voices to Philippine audiences,” said Dr. Ulrich Nowak, the director of the Goethe-Institut Philippinen. “Whether mainstream, romantic comedies, or micro-budget indies, we made sure our festival attendees will be entertained and pleased.”
Adding to the German contemporary films, this year’s German Film Week will also feature works of acclaimed Filipino filmmaker, Brillante Mendoza. His films Tirador (Slingshot) and Captive will be screened during the week-long festival. Both films have been recognized internationally, with the latter having been screened at a previous Berlin International Film Festival, the prestigious Berlinale. “The Brillante Mendoza screenings are an addition to this year’s program,” said Dr. Nowak. “Our goal at the institute has always been to promote cultural exchange between Germany and the countries we support. And this is one way to achieve that goal—to share German features and highlight Filipino creativity.”
“The Brillante Mendoza screenings are an addition to this year’s program,” said Dr. Nowak. “Our goal at the institute has always been to promote cultural exchange between Germany and the countries we support. And this is one way to achieve that goal—to share German features and highlight Filipino creativity.”
The German Film Week opening night takes place at the SM Mall of Asia Cinema 1 on Sept 27 and will have as its guest German filmmaker Markus Goller, director of My Brother Simple (Simpel, 2017) which opens this year’s festivities. Goller, whom the Goethe-Institut is flying in especially for the occasion, will hold a Q&A after his film’s screening. The succeeding film screenings will run from September 28 to October 5 at SM Mall of Asia and SM North EDSA for Metro Manila. Subsequent screenings will take place in the Clark, Cebu and Davao in October.
Tickets to the 2017 German Film Week are priced at PhP100 for all German films and PhP200 for the Brillante Mendoza movies. The opening screening on September 27 is free and open to all on a first-come-first-served basis. Tickets may be purchased at the cinema counters of participating SM malls or via smtickets.com.
As a boon to the filmgoers, the Goethe-Institut is giving away special prizes for those who would vote for their favorite film online via the Goethe website. Called “VOTE AND WIN”, the raffle contest will select random voters who would get a gift package from the Goethe-Institut.
The German Film Week is made possible through the partnership with SM Lifestyle Malls and SM Cinemas and the support of the Film Development Council of the Philippines. For more information, visit www.Goethe.de/Manila.
SIMPEL (MY BROTHER SIMPLE), 2017 *Opening Film*
Director: Markus Goller /1 hr 40 mins
When their mother dies on their rural farm, Ben finds out that his mentally handicapped brother, Barnabas, who’s been nicknamed “Simple”, will be sent to a home. This decision was made by their father, David, who lives in Hamburg and whom they haven’t seen in 15 years. In total disagreement of this, Ben decides to visit David in an attempt to change his mind and he takes Simple along with him. Featuring stellar performances from its cast, “Simpel” is a tug at your heartstrings and a highly entertaining road trip movie.
MEIN BLIND DATE MIT DEM LEBEN (MY BLIND DATE WITH LIFE), 2017
Director: Lone Scherfig / 1hr 56 mins
An ambitious young man, who is also strongly visually impaired, is set on becoming an employee at a luxury hotel in Munich, despite the circumstances. With a campy plot and an unlikely central character (which was based on an actual living person who contributed to the film’s storyline and concept), “Mein Blind Date Mit Dem Leben” is a smart and entertaining film to see. Pun intended.
KUNDSCHAFTER DES FRIEDENS (OLD AGENT MEN), 2017
Director: Robert Thalheim / 1 hr 33 mins
It is 2015 in Germany and the Berlin Wall has been down for 25 years. The once legendary GDR Spy, Jochen Falk, finds himself called back on duty to rescue the kidnapped president of the peaceful republic of Katchekistan. The perpetrators are from a group of separatists, along with Berlin’s man on the ground, Franz Kern. With him now working for the BND on this mission, Falk decides to rally back his old team, and apart from saving the president, aims for revenge from his longtime competition.
WILLKOMMEN BEI DEN HARTMANNS (WELCOME TO GERMANY), 2016
Director: Simon Verhoeven / 1 hr 56 mins
A refugee-themed comedy with an optimistic theme, “Willkommen bei den Hartmanns” tells the story of a Nigerian asylum seeker named Diallo who is taken in by a well-off family in Munich. Soon as Diallo starts to make friends with the family members, his presence triggers a series of domestic dramas and suspicions.
DIE WELT DER WUNDERLICHS (THE WORLD OF THE WUNDERLICHS), 2016
Director: Dami Levy / 1 hr 43 mins
Mimi’s life is far from ordinary. Her son Felix is a hyperactive kid, and her ex-husband is a chaotic character with a gambling addiction. With an impending debt to be paid, Felix signs Mimi up for a casting show abroad, which she reluctantly agrees to go to. But the trip might not go just as planned when everyone else wants to join, too.
HAPPY BURNOUT, 2017
Director: André Erkau / 1 hr 42 mins
Andreas, who is better known as Fussel, is 43 years old and regularly unemployed. He lives in a small and messy apartment, resisting work and responsibility, leading him to lose contact with his young daughter. Left with no other choice, Fussel agrees to be sent to a sanatorium to receive therapy in exchange for financial support from the government.
TONI ERDMANN, 2016
Director: Maren Arde / 2 hr 42 mins
Ines is a cautious and grudging daughter to Winfried, who unexpectedly decides to spend time with his daughter one day and hand her a birthday present. With the brief passing of his dog, Ines tries to humor her father, but while he refuses to play along with her, he surprises Ines by putting on a shaggy wig and buck teeth, and introducing himself to her colleagues as “Toni Erdmann”, the life coach.
SMS FÜR DICH (YOU’VE GOT A MESSAGE), 2016
Director: Karoline Herfurth / 1 hr 47 mins
A young woman is finding it difficult to cope with the loss of her boyfriend who had died in a car crash. A way for her to mourn of his passing is sending messages to his mobile phone which, without her knowledge, had already fallen under the hands of a sports journalist. Based on a popular novel of the same title, “SMS Für Dich” features prominent locations in Berlin, and a cast of the current famous faces in German mainstream cinema.
DIE BLUMEN VON GESTERN (THE BLOOM OF YESTERDAY), 2016
Director: Chris Kraus / 2 hr 6 mins
A Holocaust researcher and scholar named Toto is assigned to work with an assistant named Zazie, who is the granddaughter of a Holocaust victim. An unlikely pair, Toto is on the other hand, the grandson of a notorious Nazi war criminal, and his dedication to his work is a seemingly act of atonement for the previous generation’s sins. An offbeat romantic comedy, “Die Blumen Von Gestern” is largely enjoyable and features glossy cinematography and a great soundtrack.
Director: Michael Koch / 1 hr 40 mins
Marija is an Ukraninan woman who earns a living cleaning hotel rooms in Dortmund. Her goal is to have her own hair salon, and she tries to achieve this by saving up her earnings. But life suddenly hits her hard and Marija loses her job and falls under financial pressure which forces her to resort to the worst alternatives to actualize her goal. A universally relevant portrait of immigrant life, “Marija” patiently observes the silent process of finding one’s place in society.
RÜCKKEHR NACH MONTAUK (RETURN TO MONTAUK), 2017
Director: Volker Schlöndorff / 1hr 46 mins
Max Zorn is an author who is now in his 60’s. While on a promotional book tour in New York, Max meets up once again with the woman he met 17 years ago, but could never forget. High on love, Max pursue the woman, but is still uncertain about the future he’d have with his young lover.
NEBEL IM AUGUST (FOG IN AUGUST), 2016
Director: Kai Wessel / 2 hr 6 mins
During the Nazi regime, boys, called Roma boys, were placed in a mental hospital to undergo a euthanasia program. Aware of this procedure, 13-year old Ernst Lossa was also committed to such a hospital. During his stay, he discovers the truth behind the hospital’s façade and decides to sabotage the euthanasia program to save the friends he’s made there. “Nebel Im August” is based on the authentic life story of Lossa, from the historical novel of the same title.
Director: Brillante Mendoza / 2 hrs
In 2001, at the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan, Philippines, a group of rebels called the Abu Sayyaf took around a huge number of hostages, which included a lot of foreign nationals, and had put the country on a black list for tourism. Faithfully following the sequence of events in these kidnappings, “Captive” presents the torturous life the hostages faced, and recreates a realistic but neutral approach that neither justifies nor vilifies the actions of the terrorists involved.
Director: Brillante Mendoza / 1 hr 26 mins
Late one night in an impoverished neighborhood in Manila, an ongoing raid leads cops to put some interesting characters in prison. Not long after, a local politician bails these people out in exchange for votes in the ongoing elections, all the while with a religious procession happening in the backdrop.