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MikeBSG

German language films

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What German language films do you like?

 

I've seen some East German films recently. "The Gleiwitz Case" from 1961 was fascinating. It deals with the fake border incident before the invasion of Poland. It rockets along at 70 minutes and is very stylish. It feels like a demented caper movie. Apparently the government banned it because it didn't have a "positive hero" and was too stylish, what the Communists called "formalism." Still, I am very glad I saw it.

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When I was in Vienna (twenty years ago!), I saw some great old classic musicals, and wish I knew what they were and how I could get ahold of them. I've often sought Zarah Leander movies, but have only been able to get ahold of one: La Habanera. This was directed by Detlef Sierck, who later moved to the United States and became known as Douglas Sirk. Unfortunately, this Kino DVD only plays about 2/3 before it gets stuck and skips numerous scenes. (I exchanged it for another copy, but this second one behaved in the same way!) I'm also curious to see some of the old Tyrolean mountain genre films.

 

Following are some favorite german films that I've managed to see:

 

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

M

Metropolis

Die B?chse der Pandora

Nosferatu (1922)

Der Letzte Mann

Der Blaue Engel

Alice in den St?dten

Fitzcarraldo

Der Himmel ?ber Berlin

Querelle

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Let's see, I like

 

Weimar era: Destiny, Metropolis, Student of Prague (1926), Diary of a Lost Girl, M, Testament of Dr. Mabuse.

 

1933-45 era: Munchhausen

 

DDR: Murderers Among Us, Axe of Wandsbeck, Sun Seekers, Stars, Gleiwitz Case

 

BDR pre-1968: The Bridge

 

New German Cinema: Young Torless, Augierre, Every Man for Himself and God Against All, Ali Fear Eats the Soul, Lili Marlene, Das Boot, The White Rose, Sugarbaby, Wings of Desire.

 

Post Unification: Downfall

 

Haven't seen much from the pre-1968 era in the West or much post unification films.

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For a long time Metropolis was my favorite Fritz Lang movie until I saw Die Nibelungen. Both Fritz Lang and Werner Herzog are two of my favorite directors so naturally I would list most of their films as my favorites of German Cinema.

 

Outside of those two, Maedchen in Uniform is an interesting curio. Creature with the Blue Hand starring Klaus Kinski is fun to watch.

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I've been catching up on some Fassbinder I've never seen before. "Merchant of Four Seasons" was interesting, but I was really impressed with "Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven." That was a very gripping film as we watch a woman deal with the aftermath of her husband going insane and killing someone and then himself at work.

 

What really struck me was that the DVD showed the original German ending, in which Frau Kusters gets suckered into a terrorist plot and act of violence (off-screen) that she will not survive. Then the DVD gave the ending Fassbinder filmed for the American version, in which the same act of protest that was a front for terrorists in the German version, is instead just a protest that everyone ignores and leads Frau Kusters to find a nice widower to settle down with. The scene and the contrast between endings was very funny.

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I've seen some interesting German films lately. First, I finally caught up with "Europa Europa," about the Jewish teenager who pretends to be volkdeutsche during WWII. I was very impressed with this one, which was well made and thought-provoking. The director, A. Holland, was a Polish woman who now, apparently has directed a few episodes of "The Wire" premium cable series. (What a career arc!)

 

"Naked Among Wolves" was an East German drama from the early 60s about the last days of Nazi rule in Buchenwald. It was a very interesting film, but the plot was all over the place and didn't hold together. However, I enjoyed seeing Armin Muehler-Stahl as a young man. He started out in East German films, went west to work with Fassbinder (Lola) and ended up in Hollywood (The Music Box and other films.)

 

Much better than "Naked" was "Carbide and Sorrel," a comedy by the same director from the same era. This was a comedy set in 1945 about a factory worker who is trying to transport seven barrels of carbide across the Soviet zone to help rebuild a cigarette factory. This was very funny and reminded me a bit of a few Italian comedies I've seen with Alberto Sordi. The star was Ernst Geschonneck, who was equally at home with comedy and serious drama.

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I've seen a few more Fassbinder movies. "Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?" was very good. It builds up a grinding sense of oppression, yet when the final explosion comes, it is a surprise. "Beware of a Holy ****" is not as good, but it is interesting (and funny) as something of a "behind the scenes" look at how Fassbinder made his films.

 

Switching gears, I watched "The Marquise of O," directed by Eric Rohmer. Yes, he is French, but the film is in German, and I guess it launched the career of Bruno Ganz. I found the film gripping and wondered why Hollywood never made it in these days of relaxed censorship. Meryl Streep as the Marquise, and who as the Count? (Hard to picture Ganz playing Hitler based on this film, but he was magnificent in "Downfall.")

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TCM is showing two German films from 1943 in January. There is the German version of "Titanic," which is okay if you view it as a generic disaster film and stop worrying about historical details about the Titanic sinking. The other is "Munchhausen," about the fantastic adventures of the wandering Baron. It is a very enjoyable movie and Terry Gilliam's "Adventures of Baron Munchhausen" owes a lot to it. Gilliam's work feels like a sequel to the 1943 film.

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I've seen a couple of interesting East German films lately. "A Berlin Romance" is about two teenagers in 1956 Berlin. One lives in the east and the other in the west, but they can get together because the Wall hasn't yet been built. It is a pretty charming film and would make an interesting counterpoint to "Rebel Without a Cause." The film doesn't seem like socialist realism at all (although it clearly favors the east over the west.) It even has a pretty catchy theme song.

 

The other was "The Legend of Paul and Paula" from the mid-Seventies. This is about a bureaucrat who falls for a single mother. It might make for an interesting comparison with "Petulia." Again, this doesn't feel like socialist realism in the least. The best scene is when the two lovers imagine they are on a trip to the tropics.

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"Stalingrad" is a pretty good war movie. Not as good as "Das Boot" but still worth seeing.

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Does anyone here know of a German "online movies" site. You know like in the US ... where one can download movies to watch? I would love to find one. I watch German news online and also to the various radio stations.

 

BTW -- where are you all finding these German movies? I hardly ever see any for rent.

 

Danke! :)

 

Karoline

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> What German language films do you like?

 

Herzog's movies, especially Aguirre, Wrath of God.

Fassbinder's The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, which I've just watched.

Win Wenders' Wings of Desire (slow but hypnotically beautiful)

Fritz Lang's M

von Sternberg's The Blue Angel

 

And lots of German silent films - The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Murnau's Faust, The Golem, Waxworks, Metropolis, Pabst's Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl

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I rent my German movies from Netflix and Facets Multimedia. The later has access to a number of East German DEFA films on tape. The company that has the rights to the DEFA films is Icestorm. Wellspring is the company that seems to have most of the Fassbinder films.

 

 

Remember, TCM will be showing the 1943 "Titanic" and "Munchhausen" this month on Sunday night/Monday morning.

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Surprised to hear you can't find german films to rent. Netflix has 219 on dvd. Any decent video store has many of the titles available only on vhs.

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I just happen to have some Netflix mail in my spam folder. I guess I better have a look and see what they can offer. :) I just hope these films are in German.

Thank you for the tip.

 

I would still like to find German Language films to downlaod.

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Just a reminder. The 1943 "Titanic" is on at 2:15 AM the morning of the 15th. (I guess that's when all fugitive war criminals are watching TV.)

 

There is a good discussion going on about that movie on "General Discussion."

 

Next week TCM shows "Munchhausen."

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Just watched a very good recent (2005) German film called "Before the Fall."

 

The title really has nothing to do with the movie, which is about a teenager who gets enrolled in a Nazi Party school in 1942. In some ways, this plays like a National Socialist version of Hogwarts (the Harry Potter school.) I never heard of the director (Dennis Gansel) or any of the cast before, but it was a gripping experience.

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I'd like to add Michael Haneke's early films. He resently did "Cache" but his earlier Austrian films are some of the very best of the ninties. "The Seventh Continent", "Benny's Video", "71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance" and "Funny Games" are all some of the most disturbing film out of the region in a long time. And in the case of Benny's Video, a pretty accurate prediction about modern violence and children.

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dfordoom,

 

"Bitter Tears" is a trip to say the least. If you like Fassbinder check out "Chinese Roulette" (1976). Great film and my personal favorite of his work. "Veronika Voss" (1982) is another of my faves.

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MikeBSG,

 

If you liked "Before The Fall" you might be interested in another Picture This release called "King Of Theives". It's a very good film. A German?Czech production I believe.

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I've watched three German films this week.

 

"Lost Honor of Katharina Blum" was not what I expected. It was good, but the mix between thriller and political statement meant that it left me a little disappointed. I guess I never expected the heroine to be so politically unaware and emotionally unstable. I found myself agreeing with her employers that the whole business would be quickly forgotten, so the film's ending seemed a bit forced.

 

"Coup de Grace" was much better. This is my favorite of any Schlondorff film I've seen. What I liked about this movie was that while the action and events were clear, the motives of the characters were not spelled out, so that even now, days later, I find myself thinking about the characters. This was miles better than David Lean's "Dr. Zhivago." Indeed, this was almost an anti-Zhivago.

 

"Jacob the Liar" (the East German original) was very well done. In some ways, this was the most "realistic" Holocaust film in that it showed how people were so consumed with day to day survival that the big picture of what was happening couldn't be grasped. it would make a provocative triple feature with "Shop on Main Street" and "Life is Beautiful" in showing different approaches to "telling the truth" in times of utter catastrophe.

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i'd like to see more German films

so far ive seen...

 

Das Boot

Goodbye Lenin

Metropolis

-many old WWII movies with some German dialogue including The Longest Day, The Enemy Below (love anything with Curd Jurgens!), Stalag 17, Battle of Britain

Bourne Supremacy and Octopussy

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> i'd like to see more German films

> so far ive seen...

>

> Das Boot

> Goodbye Lenin

> Metropolis

 

make sure you catch M?nchhausen next time it's shown...

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I also love the Rohmer Marquise von O....

And Bruno Ganz stars in Der Himmel ?ber Berlin (Wings of Desire), which I like a great deal.

 

There is an earlier, silent, German version of Die Marquise von O... from 1920, directed by Paul Legband. They used to run it often on WNET, the NJ/NY PBS station, before I even had a vcr (!!) but I haven't seen it for years. It is really, really good. I have been looking for it, asking all of my friends who know about silent films. No one has even heard of it. Nothing on Amazon.de, either in dvd or vhs.

I e-mailed WNET three or four times to ask, but they never bothered to reply.

And I posted a request on the boards here: nothing.

 

Legband made only a few films; if the others are as good as the one I saw, he must have been quite a director. I wonder if any of those movies still exist.

 

If it weren't for the IMDB entry, I should begin to think that I'd imagined it.

http://imdb.com/title/tt0011442/

 

There is also a Wikipedia entry, auf Deutsch:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Legband

At the bottom there is a link to a photo.

 

Anyone out there know anything about him or his films?

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