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Top 10 German Films with Heart and Soul

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published July 1st 2013
Classic unmissable films you won't want to miss
When it comes to European movies, France is renowned for its sexy love stories, Spain for passion, Italy for being over-sentimental and Brits for their romantic comedies.

But one of the most overlooked is Germany - a country that has produced some of the most enduring and poignant films on the continent with its tumultuous history.

Here is a top ten list of must-see films from Deutschland (in no particular order) on the advice of Steve Richards, Rednal's resident expert on German films, music and culture.

1. Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

Goodbye Lenin
Funny and heartbreaking - Goodbye Lenin

This comedy manages to entwine east Berlin's sombre cold war history with the hope of the wall coming down, romance and the extreme lengths people will go to protect their loved ones. It's hilarious and heart-breaking at the same time.

Despite the fall of the Berlin Wall, a young man must keep his fragile mother from finding out the truth after she wakes up from a coma - as the news that her beloved East Germany has disappeared would bring about a fatal shock. This leads to plenty of escapades to stop his mother finding out the truth.

Starring Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß and Chulpan Khamatova, the film has attracted a huge following. You can find more information at:

2. The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) (2006)

Oscar winner The Lives of Others

This Oscar-winning film set in East Germany follows Wiesler, a secret police agent with the east Berlin Stasi, who is monitoring many suspicious characters.

However, as he keeps a close eye on these people, he seems to come round to their way of thinking. Once again it is a movie tinged with sadness as well as humour.

It was the feature film debut of filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, and scooped the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The film stars Ulrich Mühe in the lead role with Sebastian Koch and Martina Gedeck in supporting parts.

3. Das Experiment (2001)

A social experiment of seeing how 'normal' people react in a prison situation. Based on real life Stanford University experiments in the 1970s, this film is claustrophobic and may make you want to sleep with the light on!

Extremely watchable and gained heaps of 5 star reviews on its release.

4. Sophie Scholl - The Final Days (Sophie Scholl - Die letzen Tage) (2005)

Not a happy movie, but one that will stay with you forever and extremely uplifting.

Sophie, our heroine, is part of the Nazi resistance in 1942 and challenges the viewer to question how they would have behaved if they had the misfortune to live during those times.

5. Lore (2012)

Fascinating movie Lore

Another hard-hitting story focussing on the end of the Second World War. As the Allies sweep across Germany, young woman Lore is leading her siblings on a journey to safety but comes to question everything she has been taught to believe.

An encounter with a mysterious refugee from a concentration camp also makes Lore rely on a person she has always been taught to hate.

A thought-provoking and, at times, distressing movie.

6. The Tunnel (2001)

Low budget television movies in a foreign language should not be as tense and entertaining as this memorable film.

The tunnel in question is to go from east to west Berlin, and is based on real life events that will keep you gripped for the full two hours.

7. Run Lola Run (Lola rennt) (1998)

Run Lola Run

A quirky film where Lola, played by Franka Potente, has 20 minutes to raise 100,000 Deutsch Marks to save her boyfriend's life - but only three attempts to do it.

This is the film that made Potente a star in America.

8. Barbara (2012)

This is not as political as some of the other East German-themed films on the list, but more human.

The title character is a nurse in east Berlin, who is exiled to East Germany's countryside as she is seen as a troublemaker and escape risk.

Someone I know enjoyed it so much, they watched it five times in a week. I'm not sure it's THAT good, but it is highly recommend.

9. The Edukators (Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei) (2004)

the edukators
The Edukators is a political drama with twists and turns

The lead stars of Goodbye Lenin and Sophie Scholl come together for this extremely watchable movie.

Translated as "The fat/rich days are over", this film questions whether the rich have too much money and revolves around political activism, along with the politics of love.

As heavy as that sounds, there a few laughs and twists along the way.

10 - The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)

A film about terrorism

Another one based on real life events - this time delving into terrorists in West Germany during the 1960s-70s.

What is so provoking about this film is that you find yourself sympathising with the "bad guys".
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Why? Don't miss out on some of the most memorable films in the world.
Your Comment
Interesting choice, well done, will have to check some of these out....
by James Newcombe (score: 2|359) 3240 days ago
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