Favourite titles at German Film Festival
by Bénédicte Prot
The Audience Award, or “Coup de cœur”, at the 13th Paris German Film Festival, which closed on Tuesday, went to Ulla Wagner’s The Invention of the Curried Sausage [+see also:
film profile]. The film won Best Actress at the Montreal Film Festival for Barbara Sukowa, who plays a vivacious woman who while the Nazi forces are growing weary transforms her apartment into an island of tranquillity for her young lover, a deserter. When the war ends, the only way to keep him by her side is to hide this fact from him.
The film – launched domestically on September 11 by Schwarz-Weiss – was produced by TAG/TRAUM Filmproduktion (who are also handling international sales), in co-production with Berlin-based Känguruh-Film and several regional and domestic funds.
Among the excellent selection of films, The Heart is a Dark Forest [+see also:
film profile] demonstrates the talent of the young generation of German directors. This second directorial feature by actress-turned-filmmaker Nicolette Krebitz explores a modern form of maternal sacrifice in the face of male liberties, through the utter confusion and stupefaction of Marie (played by a remarkable Nina Hoss), a wife and mother who discovers that her husband (Devid Striesow) has a second family.
The protagonist thus drifts, with total indifference for the other characters and in a haze of memories, towards a Medea-like epiphany against the unreal backdrop of a nocturnal masquerade in a castle that recalls Kubrick’s last film. The dynamic cinematography (lauded by the Association of German Critics) and the meticulous screenplay and dialogues were acclaimed by Paris audiences. The film was produced by X Filme Creative Pool and international sales are being managed by The Match Factory.
The festival’s closing film, A Year Ago in Winter [+see also:
film profile] by director Caroline Link (who won an Oscar in 2003 for Nowhere in Africa [+see also:
film profile]), also touched viewers. A painter (Josef Bierbichler) is commissioned to produce a painting by a mother (Corinna Harfouch) who has just lost her son and wants him to come back to life on canvas beside his sister Lilli (Karoline Herfurth), a beautiful and timid dancer. During the artist’s attempts to understand this family and the son’s suicide in order to produce a true painting, Lilli becomes the real subject of the portrait, as well as her relationship with her brother.
As the brushstrokes (as gentle as the film’s cinematography) give life to a gaze of knowing tenderness, the sister learns to accept her brother’s death. The film was produced by Bavaria and Constantin, while international sales are being handled by French company Celluloid Dreams.
(Translated from French)
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