©Bedneyimages — Freepik.com Film guru Sarah Ward takes a closer look at German entertainment screening in Australia. Here you'll find everything from reviews and interviews, to festival previews. #KinoInOz 2017 © In the Fade 2017 The year in German cinema In the realm of German filmmaking, 2017 began as 2016 ended: with a loving father donning a wig and a set of false teeth, adopting a fake name and trying to spend time with his overworked daughter. CC BY 4.0 Elena Ringo http://www.elena-ringo.com Volker Schlöndorff "Almost everything we believed in did not really survive" At 78, film director, producer and screenwriter Volker Schlöndorff looks back on his years as an integral member of the group forging the 'New German Cinema', writes Australian film writer Helen Barlow. © 2017 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. Cinema release Downsizing: Dreaming big, getting small In ‘Downsizing’, clichés, quotes and adages inform a movie with well-meaning intentions but a jumbled execution. As the feature endeavours to shrink humanity down to size, while demonstrating that urges, emotions and actions don’t dwindle with them, its grasp exceeds its reach. © Jewish International Film Festival Jewish International Film Festival Bye, Bye Germany: The bittersweet struggle of moving on “Hitler is dead, but we’re still alive,” David Bermann (Moritz Bleibtreu) tells his new colleagues in 'Bye Bye Germany'. It’s not just a statement of fact shared between a cohort of Jewish survivors, but a partially comedic pep talk. © Tulip Fever Cinema release Tulip Fever: Blooming flowers, wilting fortunes The story of 'Tulip Fever'’s journey to the screen is more interesting than the film itself. That’s a reflection both of the prolonged path the movie took to cinemas, and the far-from-intriguing end result. Maximilian Bühn, CC-BY-SA 4.0 August Diehl AN AFFINITY WITH THE YOUNG KARL MARX When fair-haired, blue-eyed German actor August Diehl came to play the lead in ‘The Young Karl Marx’ he was determined to embrace the reality of the revolutionary socialist as a young man. For Kino in Oz, film journalist Helen Barlow spoke with August Diehl. © Jewish International Film Fesival Jewish International Film Festival From Berlin to Hollywood: Never Be Boring: Billy Wilder “Come to Berlin,” a young Billy Wilder was told. Stepping through the life and impact of the influential writer/director, 'Never Be Boring: Billy Wilder' charts the legacy that sprang from those humble beginnings — the initial opportunities that put him on the road to Hollywood, the leap to the US via Paris, and the resume he’d build as he found his place at the forefront of the film industry for decades. © The Exception British Film Festival 2017 The Exception: Painting history in shades of grey 52 years ago, the Austrian hills were alive for Christopher Plummer. Now, a Dutch village is as well. Gone is the sound of music on the cusp of war, replaced by the possibility of doing what’s right after the combat has begun. Image courtesy: Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation via GOMA QAGOMA Retrospective: Watching Fassbinder, watching Germany For cinephiles, it’s impossible to spend time in Germany without thinking about Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Now, a retrospective dedicated to Fassbinder graces cinema screens in Brisbane. © Anastasia Coyto Interview with director Viktor Jakovleski Brimstone & Glory: The power and the passion For his first film, Berlin-based filmmaker Viktor Jakovleski embarked upon an adventure many others might have shied away from. After hearing about Mexico’s annual National Pyrotechnic Festival by chance, he was determined to experience it. ‘Brimstone & Glory’ is the result. © Antenna Documentary Film Festival Antenna Documentary Film Festival HE SHE I: He said, she said For her debut film ‘HE SHE I’, Carlotta Kittel chats with her parents and records the outcome. Shot with her mother, Angela, and father, Christian, conversing directly to the camera, it’s a straightforward concept with a straightforward filmmaking approach. © Jewish Film Festival Jewish International Film Festival The Cakemaker: A textured recipe Making his feature debut with ‘The Cakemaker’, writer/director Ofir Raul Graizer focuses on the aftermath — not of a chance meeting that sparks a married man’s secret gay romance, but of his two lovers coping with his passing. © Sydney Underground Film Festival Sydney Underground Film Festival They’re the voice: Bunch of Kunst When ‘Sleaford Mods’ made their first trip to Germany, another first occurred: their maiden television interview. Purveyors of rapid-fire discontent spat from the heart of working-class Britain with a toe-tapping beat, the Nottingham duo chatted to Berlin-based journalist Christine Franz, which then led to drinks, and then to the drunken idea for a documentary. © MIFF ACMI’s Fashion on Film program A genre of many threads: Fashion on film Just as fashion, as a term, is synonymous with passing trends and crazes — aka something superficially alluring, but ultimately fleeting — factual explorations of fashion more frequently focus on the shiny surface of the industry. © The Square Australian Cinema Release The Square: All the world is art “All the world’s a stage,” claims William Shakespeare’s famous line from ‘As You Like It’. All the world is art, Ruben Östlund ostensibly offers back in ‘The Square’. The Swedish writer/director’s fifth feature steps inside a Stockholm art gallery to explore just what contemporary creativity means today — that is, what emboldens it and what holds it back. © The Dreamed Path Film review The Dreamed Path: Life’s mundanities flicker like memories It’s telling that ‘The Dreamed Path’s German title, ‘Der traumhafte Weg’, actually translates as “the dreamlike path”; though writer/director Angela Schanelec explores events grounded in reality, her film morphs from one image to the next as though projected onto the screen from her flickering mind. © Manifesto Brisbane International Film Festival 2017 Manifesto: From the singular to the multitudes From surrealism and minimalism to creationism and futurism Manifesto compiles a mass of 20th century art moments into a single ambitious and arresting effort, offering not only a collage of creative thinking, but manifestations and contextualisations as well. © Self-Criticism of a Bourgeois Dog MIFF 2017 Self-Criticism of a Bourgeois Dog: Absurdities of ideological aggrandising Proclaiming adherence to an ideology is easy. Putting those thoughts and words into action is another matter. A filmmaker faces the comedic reality of both in ‘Self-Criticism of a Bourgeois Dog’, off-screen as well as on. © Western MIFF 2017 Western: Earning its genre and title Contemporary cinema may be deep into a phase of emphasising western-like aspects in everything from horror to action movies, and fashioning revisionist takes as well; however, at the heart of this fascination sits the timelessness of the genre’s core elements. © Revolution of Sound: Tangerine Dream MIFF 2017 Revolution of Sound: making music, making history "This is rotten religious music!” Salvador Dali reportedly once yelled while Tangerine Dream played. It was the ‘60s, the surrealist painter was famous for his celebrity-filled garden parties, and the German synth-rockers had been invite to perform. © The Song Keepers via MIFF MIFF 2017 The Song Keepers: Joyous ode to cross-cultural collaboration While the idea of Australia’s remote indigenous populace crooning centuries-old German tunes may come as a surprise — in fact, the practice nearly died out decades ago — Naina Sen’s documentary ‘The Song Keepers’ wonders don’t stop there. © Salt and Fire GOMA RETROSPECTIVE Salt and Fire: Imbued with burning desire In ‘Salt and Fire’, two passionate figures come face to face: scientist Laura Sommerfeld (Veronica Ferres), who is sent to South America by the United Nations to investigate an ecological catastrophe; and corporate executive Matt Reilly (Michael Shannon), whose company is responsible for the situation. © Beuys: Art as a Weapon MIFF 2017 Beuys: A portrait of an artist making a statement Staring at the lens, unblinking eyes gleaming beneath his ever-present felt pork pie hat, Joseph Beuys asks the question that every artist has contemplated: “the anonymous viewer is back there, yeah?” © A Conspiracy of Faith Scandinavian Film Festival 2017 A Conspiracy of Faith: Cold cases break boundaries In this Danish-German-Swedish-Norwegian effort — a European co-production like its predecessors ‘The Keeper of Lost Causes’ and ‘The Absent One’, with the series’ multi-country origins also evidence of its lack of care for traditional bounds — the concept of belief is thrust into the spotlight. © The Untamed MIFF 2017 The Untamed: Bleak reality made otherworldly flesh This Mexican, Danish/French/German/Norwegian co-production’s two titles inspire images of wild lands, unrestrained entities refusing to hew to the world’s rules, and of feelings urges roaming free. © Manifesto via the Melbourne International Film Festival Melbourne International Film Festival 2017 Bringing Germany to Australia When the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) takes over the city’s cinemas in August, movie magic isn’t the only thing it’ll be offering. For cinephiles eager for an international experience without leaving the comfort of their chairs, however, it also provides a window into the world around them. © In the Fade via Sydney Film Festival Film review In the Fade: History’s influence cuts both ways It has taken Diane Kruger nearly two decades to star in a German-language film; however ‘In the Fade’ was worth the wait. Gracing the screen in writer/director Fatih Akin’s exploration of terror, grief and vengeance, she turns in one of the finest performances of her career. © Praxis Films 2016 Film Review Pain and gain: Risk Assange is a well-known name in much of the world for a plethora of reasons, and while Laura Poitras’ latest documentary isn’t the first attempt to delve into his exploits, it is the most personal. © The Young Karl Marx via Sydney Film Festival Sydney Film Festival 2017 A feast of German cinema For the past 64 years, Sydney Film Festival has celebrated the latest and greatest in international cinema. The city’s major movie-focused showcase, it brings together an enormous program highlighting the breadth and depth of film as an art form. © Happy End via Sydney Film Festival Sydney Film Festival 2017 Happy End: Where Happiness is relative Perhaps the greatest trick Michael Haneke continually pulls is his most obvious one. 28 years and twelve features into his filmmaking career, the Munich-born Austrian director has perfected the art of bleak portraiture. © Sydney Film Festival MIFF 2017 Axolotl Overkill: Not that kind of movie Tales of youthful excess often start at a low point, wade through raucousness and revelations, and arrive at their conclusion with a protagonist ready to face their encroaching maturity. ‘Axolotl Overkill’ is not that kind of movie. © Imperativ Film Sydney Film Festival 2017 Austerlitz: Humanity in the face of horror How does humanity cope in the face of unspeakable tragedy? A question pondered by Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa in his documentary 'Austerlitz' which is screening at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival. © Photograph: Professor Clive Oppenheimer / Image courtesy: Netflix GOMA Retrospective Experiencing the wrath and reveries of Werner Herzog Herzog’s voice, both uttered aloud and infused in the fabric of his films, will echo throughout Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art between June 2 and August 19. For nearly three months, their Australian Cinematheque plays host to a feast of his cinematic efforts. © Café Waldluft Café Waldluft There’s no place like home Perched high on a hillside in the Bavarian Alps, in the shadow of Germany’s third highest peak, 'Café Waldluft' looms large over Berchtesgaden. In the documentary that shares the hotel’s name, first-time feature writer/director Matthias Koßmehl ponders the changes from picturesque vacation destination to welcoming safe haven for asylum seekers. © eOne Films Cate Shortland An Australian filmmaker’s visions of Germany Cate Shortland’s resume may only boast three features to date; however her most recent two efforts share a location that’s far from typical for Australian filmmakers: Germany.