Just to prove James Franco can do absolutely anything, he pops up (in 3D no less) in a Wim Wenders feature at this year’s German Film Festival, which is back at Palace Cinemas this month. He’s the star of the raw and emotional drama Everything Will Be Fine alongside Rachel McAdams and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
And it is fine indeed – how could it not be with that talented line-up? Though cinema-lovers who eagerly wait for the Goethe Institut’s annual festival often do so for the more adventurous, tough and less commercially accessible fare the Germans are renown for.
As usual, there’s plenty of that amongst the 31 features in the German Currents section, plus five more hard-hitting docos. Apart from those mentioned as critic’s favourites (see right), you shouldn’t miss Toni Erdmann – a weird and wonderful three-hour comedy about a man trying to connect with his adult daughter. Nor My Buddha is Punk for that title alone.
Other highlights are the opening night’s Goodbye Berlin, a teenage coming-of-age road movie from multiple-award-winning director Fatih Akin (Head-On, Soul Kitchen); Fassbinder, a doco about the legendary controversial director Rainer Werner Fassbinder; and any one of the four retro classics from DEFA – the former East German film studio. One of those, Coming Out, is the one and only film from the East to tackle gay life and punk culture.
Families are not forgotten, there are five films on offer in the Kids+Teens section – including the first (and it’s been highly acclaimed) German version of The Diary Of Anne Frank.
At Palace Cinemas Nov 15-29. Full program, info and bookings: www.goethe.de/ozfilmfest/
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The Critic’s Choice
Four of Australian most well-known and respected critics advised on this year’s line-up. Here are their favourites:
Peter Krausz: In Love With Lou: A Philosopher’s Life
A sensual and smart biopic of Lou Andreas Salomé, one of Europe’s most influential thinkers. She was also a feminist and femme fatale. And (above), a keen swimmer!
Paul Byrnes: Original Bliss
It’s about religious faith, domestic abuse, mental anguish and pornography. Ingredients for a romantic drama? Only in Germany…
Margaret Pomeranz: 24 Weeks
A hard-hitting drama about a woman forced into an agonising decision after learning her baby will be born severely disabled.
Richard Kuipers: Der Nachtmahr
It’s hard not to agree with Richard, the Variety reviewer who also organises the Sydney Film Festival’s Freak Me Out sidebar. At the end of a massive rave, a young girl keeps seeing a grotesque creature. Her parents pack her off to a shrink, but when it comes home to live with her, the story takes a bizarre twist. Honestly, you’ll never take another party pill in your life!
Meet German Stars At Palace Norton Street
Jella Haase – One of Germany’s most promising young talents, Jella is a triple feature in this year’s festival, appearing in 4 Kings, Heidi and Looping. She’ll be at Palace Norton St on Sunday Nov 27 for Q&A appearances for all three of those films.
Clemens Schick – You may have seen him in Casino Royale or Point Break, now meet the celebrated actor in person at the Australian premiere of Hidden Reserves on Monday Nov 21, and again on Tuesday Nov 22.