33rd Max Ophüls fest opens with Weingartner’s Hut in the Woods
by Bénédicte Prot
17/01/2012 - Yesterday evening, the Max Ophüls Film Festival kicked off its 33rd edition with a screening of the latest title by Hans Weingartner (The Edukators): Hut in the Woods, a story penned by the director. Set in a forest hut, it centres on a former mathematics genius who suffers from psychiatric problems that have reduced his life to chaos and a mysterious boy who doesn’t speak his language.
Out of 100 German-language features submitted by young directors (on their first, second or third film at the most), artistic directors Gabriella Bandel and Philipp Bräuer selected 16 titles in competition, including Colour of the Ocean [trailer] by Maggie Peren (the director of Special Escort [trailer]); Cracks in the Shell [trailer] by Christian Schwochow (in competition this summer at Karlovy Vary – see review); Jessica Krummacher’s Totem, about a family from the Ruhr; Linus de Paoli’s Berlin-set dystopia Dr. Ketel; Manipulation [trailer] by Switzerland’s Pascal Verdosci; Austrian director Markus Schleinzer’s former Cannes competition title Michael [trailer]; and Still Life by fellow Austrian director Sebastian Meise. Other competitions are dedicated to medium-length films, short films and documentaries, respectively.
This year, audiences will also find the festival’s many traditional sections, including the section dedicated to children’s films and Spektrum, which focuses on the latest work by the new generation of German-speaking directors.
Tribute will be paid to another young current in German cinema with the retrospective marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Oberhausen Manifesto, signed in February 1962 on the initiative of Haro Senft by directors including Alexander Kluge and Edgar Reitz to announce the arrival of the "new German film", in such a way that the movement was associated with the slogan "Papas Kino ist tot" ("the cinema of Dad’s era is dead"). The films chosen to illustrate the young national cinema range from Ula Stöckl’s The Cat Has Nine Lives (1968) to Maren Ade’s The Forest for the Trees (2003). There will also be a homage to actress Ursula Werner.
The festival will run until January 22.
(Translated from French)