After a break in 2017, the German Film Festival has returned in a nationwide festival at Palace Cinemas, boasting a program filled with Australian premieres. This 2018 Festival has been given a fresh start by Palace Cinemas with the support of German Films (the national information and advisory centre for the promotion of German films worldwide) and the Goethe-Institut.
It boasts a contemporary selection of 26 feature films that include award-winning dramas and box office comedies to documentaries and a selection of 6 short films ranging from documentaries to animation and experimental fiction. Goethe-Institut presents a six-film feast for young audiences (Kino for Kids) that invites schools to attend the Festival to continue to engage in cultural diversity.
Opening Night film The Silent Revolution makes an entrance complete with a sparkling Berentzen cocktail and German delicacies. Based on an inspiring true story set in 1956 post-war East Germany, a group of high school students decide to hold a two-minute silence during class in response to witnessing footage of the Budapest uprising. Their show of solidarity with the victims of the Hungarian struggle against Soviet oppression caused condemnation that damned the gesture as a counterrevolutionary act. The name of the ringleader was demanded! Will there be a weak link, or will the students stand together?
Earning Best Young Actor, Bavarian Film Awards 2018, and nominated outstanding feature film, best screenplay, best cinematography, best costume design at the German Film Awards this year, it's a must-see event you wouldn't want to miss.
Special Event film Mademoiselle Paradis on the other hand, celebrates Austrian-German friendships along with Austrian cocktails before the premiere screening. A sumptuously photographed period piece, it tells the true tale of Maria Theresia von Paradis, a gifted piano player in Rococo Vienna who lost here eye-sight as a child. Likened to 'one hell of a high-wire performance' by The Hollywood Reporter, Maria has a choice to make when she's entrusted to a forward-thinking physician who helps her slowly recover her sight. There's a price to be paid: an ordinary life in the light or an extraordinary one in darkness.
Perhaps you need to fly away on Wings of Desire, the Closing Night Event. Thirty years after its release, this newly restored version comes with a pre-film reception that includes a drink on arrival. See a young Bruno Ganz who also stars in this year's In Times of Fading Light, as Damiel an angel visible only to those like him and to children. When Damiel falls in love with a trapeze artist, love calls for a choice between becoming human or remaining immortal.
Of the Short Films SOG, directed by Jonatan Schwenk, is an animation about fish who have become stuck in branches of trees after a flood. Crying for help, this unintended gathering is not welcome by nearby inhabitants. Accompanied by 5 other short films that range from bizarre, exciting, warm-hearted and hilarious, it presents a vast artistic and stylistic variety of the German short film scene.
The six Kino for Kids are all Australian Premieres that cover a range of stories for families to enjoy. Comedy, adventure, documentary, drama, it has it all in this small selection. Will a long lost father fulfil 11-year-old Michi's dreams? Will the German 'Parent Trap' film succeed when Lotte and Luise trade places and try to reunite their parents? Will Toby and his alien robot best friend Robby find his parents? Will a stay-at-home father be able to deal with his daughter who has become a pubescent nightmare? Will young Jane succeed in defying fate when she meets the untamed stallion Rock My Heart? So many questions you need answers to, including a documentary that follows 7 children from 5 continents that shows how different their world is, yet has so much in common.
Last but not least of many to choose from, the Fack Ju Göhte trilogy can be purchased together at a special discount price of $15 per ticket. One of Germany's most successful recent franchises, it grabs you with a mix of politically incorrect, laugh-out-loud comedy and burning social issues like poor education, bullying and immigration.
Starting with a criminal who can barely spell being forced to become a substitute teacher in order to get access to his buried loot in the first film, the second and third installation are Australian Premieres, that sees Zeki Müller taking his unruly students to Thailand in the second of the trilogy, while the third sees him trying to make sure his rowdy students pass final exams while facing the possible closure of the school. With so many outstanding films at this year's Festival, you have quite a few choices to make.