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MikeBSG

German language films

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I liked "Downfall" a lot, although I know there are people who hate the movie.

 

I was fortunate enough to see it on the big screen. The place was packed, about 130 people, mostly college students, and you could hear a pin drop. (And this was a theater, not a classroom situation.) People even left the theater in silence and didn't really start to talk until they reached the parking lot. It is an engrossing and punishing experience.

 

Bruno Ganz is terrific as Hitler. He captures the consuming hatred and charm of the character. If it weren't for Ganz, the film wouldn't work as well as it does.

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> Kinda surprised, actually, no one's mentioned Lola

> rennt. :)

 

I liked Lola rennt, but I liked

Der Krieger und die Kaiserin (The Princess and the Warrior) even better. Tom Tykwer is definately a director I'll look for in the future. Has anyone seen his Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Das Die Geschichte eines M?rders) yet? If so, how is it?

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I haven't read any reviews of Rescue Dawn or heard any hype about it. It seems to have just dissapeared. I love Werner Herzog though. My favorite movies of his would be Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Nosferatu, Fitzcarraldo, The White Diamond, and Grizzly Man. He is definately one of the best any most visionary directors working today!!!

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> > Kinda surprised, actually, no one's mentioned

> Lola

> > rennt. :)

>

> I liked Lola rennt, but I liked

> Der Krieger und die Kaiserin (The Princess

> and the Warrior) even better. Tom Tykwer is

> definately a director I'll look for in the future.

> Has anyone seen his Perfume: The Story of a

> Murderer (Das Die Geschichte eines M?rders)

> yet? If so, how is it?

 

I've heard mixed things about Perfume but I look forward to watching it when it's out on DVD. Not sure I'd have wanted to see it in the cinema, since some people have suggested it may be overlong (like 2-1/2 hours) and there were already too many superlong movies out during the holiday season! :)

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That's a great film. Bruno S. is also amazing in "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" (1974)

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"Mephisto" is wonderful. It held me spellbound when I saw it back in 1984 or so. Istvan Szabo is a fine director. I also liked "Colonel Redl" very much, and I liked "Hanussen," although that hardly got any release in the US. "Taking Sides" was a film he did in English a few years ago that hardly got released yet was extremely well done. I also liked his "Meeting Venus," which is also in English.

 

What has Klaus-Maria Brandauer been doing lately? I haven't seen him in anything since "White Fang." I assume he returned to Germany and Austria, but I've not seen any films with him lately. Is he more of a stage actor now?

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I saw "The Lives of Others" last night at a theater. Unfortunately, they switched two of the reels, which made things a little annoying and wrecked some of the suspense. Still, this was a very good film. What struck me was that it wasn't afraid to have a complicated plot, with several characters pulling in different directions, and there were things planted at the start of the film that paid off down the line, such as the "Sonata." It is rare to see detail like that in an American film these days.

 

There was a discussion after the movie (which was shown in connection with a college's humanities series) to be led by a professor, since the movie dealt with "obscure events" in the words of the series director. None of the college age students seemed to know that East Germany had ever existed. (Of course, they were probably born around 1988, but still you'd think they'd have gotten some exposure to the Cold War in high school history classes.)

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I think it's definitely worth watching again on video. It really is amazingly well directed in that it doesn't resort to flashy camerawork or any kind of attention-grabbing technique (which many modern directors rely on a bit much sometimes), but when it's all said and done, it definitely packs a wallop.

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I don't know if anyone else here has watched the new DVD of The 3 Penny Opera.

 

One thing I didn't know until I actually received the discs from Netflix is that the set actually includes two totally different versions of the movie, the original German version, and a French-language version that was filmed simultaneously using the same sets, but with different actors.

 

I think the German version is slightly better, and it's certainly been better restored than the French one.

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There is a good review of the "3-Penny Opera" reissue in the 9/25/07 NY Times. I hope TCM picks it up sometime as they have with other recently-reissued restorations.

 

It would also be interesting to compare it with later versions of the play that were put on film.

 

Incidentally, we saw the B'way revival of "3-Penny" last year. It played at Studio 54, where the revival of "Cabaret" ran for five years, and produced by the same theater company, the Roundabout.

 

It starred Alan Cumming (who was the MC in "Cabaret"), Cyndi Lauper, and Ana Gasteyer. Like the "Cabaret" revival, it was very edgy. The reviews were somewhat mixed, but we enjoyed it.

 

Maybe it's time for a visionary producer (Weinstein Bros?) to make another film version based on something like that revival, given how popular Ebb & Kander, our modern-day Brecht-Weill team, have been with "Cabaret" and "Chicago."

 

Do I hear a second on the motion?

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I'd love it if they showed the movie on TCM, too. They have been showing quite a few foreign-language films for which Janus Films owns the U.S. rights, so this one might pop up on the schedule sometime.

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I just watched "The Ninth Day," a 2004 film by Volker Schlondorff. I was very impressed with it. It deals with a priest who is released from Dachau in order to apply pressure on a Catholic bishop. This was a real thought-provoking film, with terrific performances. (The guy who played the priest here played Goebbels in "Downfall.")

 

Schlondorff did something here I've never seen before. The Dachau scenes seemed "speeded up" somehow, which gave the viewer the impression they were seen by someone in an extreme emotional state. I have never exactly seen something like that (perhaps the closest is the editing in "Husbands and Wives," but this was not quite the same thing) and wondered how Schlondorff achieved that effect.

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I just watched "The Harmonists" from 1997. This is about a six man vocal group that was very successful in the late Weimar era but had to break up after the Nazis came to power because three of the six were Jewish.

 

A splendid movie, mixing music, humor and history. The performances were quite good, and the movie kept you guessing as to how things would turn out. It should be far better known.

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Just watched *Schultze Gets the Blues*, a great German-language film that takes a look at a retired miner's sudden love for the blues. It's a great, leisurely-paced movie that is probably ideal for a slow weekend.

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*The Ninth Day* is an amazing film. I've only seen it once so I don't have much to say here (I don't really feel I can discuss something in depth on one viewing), but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Glad to find someone else who's seen it.

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One of my favorites in KAMAKAZE 89 from 1979. It's a sci-fi/mystery film. Germany has reunified. Drugs are legal, booze is outlawed. And the directer Fassbinders stars (but doesn't direct!) as an alcoholic police captain investigating a bomb threat against a huge corporation's headquarters building.

In many ways, it's shockingly revelent to what our society is like today. I think it's one of the best sci-fi films ever made.

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Does anyone have any tips on where to find copies of certain German films from the 1926 to 1939 period?

I'm looking for any movies featuring the Dutch actress Truus van Aalten. I do already have two, as well as one she made in her home country in 1934. I have been able to view four other German movies of hers in an archive, but don't have copies of them myself. Would appreciate any leads on where to find any of her films.

Here is the IMDb listing for Truus van Aalten:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0885549/

 

.

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There's a 1954 U.K. filmof The Beggar's Opera, which was the original non-musical English play that was the source of the Three-Penny Opera. The 1954 version has Lawrence Olivier in the lead role.

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The East German musical Heisser Sommer is good. You can tell they were thinking of the American beach party films when they made it.

 

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I like the films of the 30s quite a bit. They were trying so hard to be Hollywood, and made some impressively entertaining films.

One of the best is"Congress Dances" (1931). It is a light musical farce that stars Lilian Harvey and Conrad Veidt. There is an amazing scene in which the  big hit song from the film is magnificently shot, following a young girl's carriage ride through the streets of Old Vienna to an elaborate villa in the country.

The film was made simultaneously in three languages. Lilian Harvey played in all three versions. She was English, but raised in Germany from the age of eight. She attended school in Switzerland and spoke French too.

Not only was she a great star, but it was economically advantageous to not fit three different actresses to costume for the various versions.

 

 

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