German films turn heads at Venice
by Birgit Heidsiek
- VENICE 2014: The Cut, Von Caligari zu Hitler and The Council of Birds represent the whole spectrum of German filmmaking
With Fatih Akin’s competition entry The Cut [+see also:
interview: Fatih Akin
interview: Tahar Rahim
film profile], the documentary Von Caligari zu Hitler by Rüdiger Suchsland and Timm Kröger’s drama The Council of Birds [+see also:
film profile], three German films celebrated their world premieres at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. “With a debut feature, a documentary and a big epic movie, we are presenting the whole spectrum of German filmmaking at Venice,” states Mariette Rissenbeek, managing director of German Films.
The Armenian genocide and the way in which Turkey has dealt with it are subjects that Fatih Akin has had on his mind for many years. “I wanted to make a film about the devil and the evil inside of us,” stresses the Turkish-German director. “I believe that every human being has the power to kill somebody, and that same human being could equally reach out a helping hand,” he said. “What is it that makes us kill, and what is it that makes us reach out that hand? I tried to understand and analyse that, and put my thoughts on celluloid.”
International film festivals and film institutes are paying a great deal of attention to Rüdiger Suchsland and producer Martina Haubrich for the documentary Von Caligari zu Hitler. “So far, there has not been a single movie that shows the variety and richness of German films in the period between 1918 and 1933,” reports Suchsland. It was in this same era that Timm Kröger set his first feature, The Council of Birds, which he made as his graduation film at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg without any funding or TV support. “It was a huge surprise for me that my film was invited to Venice,” says Kröger, who is competing with his picture for the Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” Award, worth $100,000.
Christian Petzold is also enjoying an international festival career with his new drama, Phoenix [+see also:
interview: Christian Petzold
film profile], which will have its world premiere at Toronto and its European premiere at the tenth Zurich Film Festival. “We will also present three German films as gala premieres at the upcoming Rome Film Festival,” concludes Rissenbeek. “We hope that the success of German films at international festivals will also pay off at the box office.”