It would not be absurd to find puzzling a celebration of the German New Wave at the Institut Français. A possible explanation can be related to the fact that 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty that was signed by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer in 1963 and established the reconciliation between France and Germany ending centuries of rivalry between them. Whatever the reason is though, the most important thing is that for 5 days (22-27 January) we will have the opportunity to enjoy characteristic works of some of the most exciting contemporary German directors.
Starting with little gems that will be screened in the UK for the first time, there’s Home For The Weekend , which had its premiere at the Berlin film festival. It has been praised by critics for the effortless naturalism with which director Hans-Christian Schmid depicts the deconstruction of a seemingly perfect family, while in Sleeping Sickness, Ulrich Köhler tackles the complex issue of neo-colonialism and the first-world involvement in sub-Saharan Africa with an almost poetic visual style, offering us images of the African landscape that amaze with their sublime beauty. Then there is the 2009 film Soul Kitchen that finds Turkish-German director Fatih Akin moving away from hard-edged dramas like Head-On and The Edge of Heaven to present a screwball comedy with a big heart that deals once again with his recurring theme of immigration and cultural differences. Contrary to those three films, Christian Petzold’s Barbara received a limited release in the UK. For anyone though who has missed it, this is a great opportunity to discover one of 2012’s best films with the mesmerising performance of Nina Hoss in the titular role of a woman who is confined to living and working as a doctor in a small provincial town in East Germany and is determined to escape to West Germany where her lover awaits her.
Last but not least, there is Run Lola Run by Tom Tykwer, a film from a director that may well be the most fitting choices for this event. This high octane adventure/ meditation on the simple twist of fate forced critics and film lovers to pay close attention to the new talented voices that were coming out of Germany – and 15 years after its original release has lost nothing of its exhilarating action and breakneck spirit. Eight years later, Tykwer would direct a segment of the anthology film Paris, I Love You, proving once again the close relationship between the two formal rival countries and why this festival works a treat. (Words: Apostolos Kostoulas)
For more information about the German New Wave event visit www.institut-francais.org.uk/cine-lumiere/whats-on/festivals-series/german-new-wave/