German cinema has a great deal to offer at this year’s Berlinale. Along with old masters back in the running, young aspiring filmmakers are introducing themselves and portraying the host country in various shades.
Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog, two of the foremost exponents of the German film scene, are screening in the main competition at the Berlinale again. Wenders’ Every Thing Will Be Fine shows the impact of a tragic accident on the parties thereto, whilst Herzog’s Queen of the Desert chronicles the life of an English woman – scholar, administrator, cartographer and spy – exploring the Middle East in the early 20th century. But alongside such great internationally renowned names, we shouldn’t overlook the other German hopefuls in the main competition. Andreas Dresen’s Als wir träumten (“As We Were Dreaming”) is a study of a group of young people experiencing the decline of East Germany first-hand as they grow older. And Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria tells the story of strangers on a road trip together across Berlin. So we have German history versus a modern portrait of the German capital.
Focus on family histories
“Wild” young directors often present their first films in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino section, and family portraits seem to be centre-stage this year. In Anatol Schuster’s Ein idealer Ort (“A Perfect Place”), a rural family seek their fortune in the big city. In Tom Sommerlatte’s Im Sommer wohnt er unten (“Summers Downstairs”), power-plays within the family put the relationship between two brothers to the test. It will be exciting in any case to observe the young auteurs’ different approaches to the family, a subject that every viewer can personally relate to.
Tribute to Wim Wenders
Fans of classics can stick to this year’s tribute to Wim Wenders. His greatest hits like Der Himmel über Berlin (“The Wings of Desire”) and Paris, Texas will be screened for older admirers to enjoy once again and for younger viewers, like myself, to discover on the screen for the very first time.