The German Film Festival

Palace Electric from 22 May to 9 June 2019

This year’s German Film Festival marks some significant events in German history and culture – the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and  the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus architectural movement.

A special event and the closing night are devoted to the work of Bertolt Brecht with Mack the Knife – Brecht’s Threepenny Film about the making of the film and the celebrated classic 1931 film The Threepenny Opera itself.

Listen to Barbie’s interview with festival director Bettina Kinski

Audiences can choose from 31 feature films of which 29 are Australian premieres.

The festival opens with Michael  Herbig’s Balloon. The film is set in ‘1979, East Germany at the height of the Cold War. Günter Wetzel (David Kross, The Reader), a bricklayer, and his friend Peter Strelzyk (Friedrich Mücke), an electrician, can no longer bear the oppressive regime.

The two men and their wives resolve to undertake a mission to secretly build a hot air balloon from scratch that will carry them and their families over the border fence to freedom. Over the course of the next 18 months they sew 1,000 square metres of cloth and gather countless weather reports from West German radio with the Stasi (State Police) hot on their heels.

As we expect with German cinema, even the comedies will give us pause for thought. The festival menu includes all genres and we recommend that you visit https://germanfilmfestival.com.au to search out what may appeal to you. We highly recommend the wonderfully directed and acted Austrian film Styx:

Rike (Susanne Wolff) is an educated, confident and determined paramedic from Cologne. Seeking restorative calm from her hectic day-to-day life, she takes a solo yacht trip headed for Ascension Island, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. When her days of sunbaking, swimming and reading are thrown off by a powerful storm, Rike comes face-to- face with a far greater challenge- a fishing trawler filled with distraught refugees situated several hundred feet away from her.

Powered by Wolff’s outstanding performance, this gripping cinematic experience and astoundingly unsentimental morality play has screened to acclaim at film festivals worldwide, including Berlin, where it took out the prestigious Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.