Willkommen in Deutschland! Welcome to Germany! For 16 days, Melbourne gets a little piece of the Germanic world, with 60+ German-language films vying for attention. From live caberet bands celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall, to Q&A sessions with directors — even a book launch — the Audi Festival of German Films imports the best entertainment from Europe. It runs from 27 March to 11 April.
I attended the festival last year, and boy oh boy, was it ever fun. And I’m not just saying that because I was the grand prize winner of the festival’s competition. That’s right — I scored two nights in one-bedroom hotel rooms in Berlin and Hamburg. Lazing on the couch in the living room of my hotel, within walking distance of Checkpoint Charlie, I felt like one lucky girl. And it was all due to my great experiences at the Festival of German Films.
Here are my top five picks:
- The Swiss Conspiracy – Swiss Soirée (Mon. 7 April): Remember that they speak German in Switzerland, Austria, and even Belgium. This night features a Swiss DJ spinning ‘Alpensounds’, alongside Swiss food and two Swiss movies. Fondue and film anyone?
- Sources of Life | Quellen des Lebens: What occurred after WWII ended is not often featured.That’s why I like films that reveal how Germany started the healing process — seen in the Australian-German film Lore, glimpsed in Band of Brothers, and featured in Vienna in The Third Man. This film showcases a family in 1949.
- Fall of the Wall (Tues. 1 April): 25 years after the Berlin Wall fell is certainly cause for celebration. Berlin caberet pop band The Beez (seen on Spics & Specs) will perform their show “Don’t Mention The Wall” inbetween films and documentaries.
- Home From Home — Chronicle of a Vision | Die andere Heimat – Chronik einer Sehnsucht: My favourite film last year was the doco Sound of Heimat, exploring the unique German concept of belonging to a place. This film explores the same concept, but with Germans who moved to South America in the 19th century. Looks fascinating!
- Oriental Night (Wed. 9 April): A Moroccan-themed evening, pairing a film set in Marrakesh alongside music and performance by belly-dancer Ekaterini and percussionist George El-Azar.
You can also read Time Out Melbourne’s highlights of the fest. As for me, catch me on the dance floor having a boogie to some Alpensounds! -Theresa