Presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto
11-13 March 2021
(Germany, 2011, 103 min.), drama written and directed by David Wnendt, starring Alina Levshin, Jella Haase, Gerdy Zint, Lukas Steltner and others
with a commentary by Elisa Hatega, a Canadian writer, speaker, and educator on far-right extemism.
Marisa, a 20-year-old German girl, hates foreigners, Jews, cops, and everyone she think responsible for the decline of her country. She provokes, drinks, and fights, her next tattoo is a portrait of Adolf Hitler. The only place she feels at home is with the neo-Nazi gang she joined, where hate, violence, and raucous parties are the daily norm. When 14-year-old Svenja joins the group, Marisa becomes a role model of the perfect "combat girl," embodying the group's ideology. But Marisa's convictions evolve when she happens to meet a young Afghan refugee. Confronted with him, she learns that the (literally) black and white principles of her gang are not the only way to approach the people around you. Will Marisa be able to escape the prison that is the group’s ideology and take Svenja with her?
“Wnendt’s Combat Girls caused a stir. A daring, unadorned film.” – Der Tagesspiegel
“Wnendt’s feature film debut hits a contemporary topic in an almost uncanny way.” – epd film
“From start to finish, it is the density of the film that does not let go of the viewer’s attention. Because the film does not fast forward us from one scene to the next but focuses on the multidimensionality and layers of the protagonists’ environments, it allows an in-depth view into a right-wing radical group. Like through a burning glass.” – German Film and Media Assessment
German Film Awards for Best Film in Bronze: Best Screenplay, Best Lead Actress (2012)
Best Lead Actress, First Steps Award (2011)
Best Actress Sao Paulo (2011)
Bavarian Film Prize Best Newcomer Director & Best Newcomer Actress (2012)
was born in 1977 in Germany and grew up as the son of a diplomat in Islamabad, Miami, Brussels, and the German town of Meckenheim. He made his first forays into the world of theatre and film production in a variety of jobs, such as lighting technician, editor and production assistant. After graduating in Business Administration and Journalism from Berlin's Free University and completing a one-year film course at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, he was accepted to the renowned University of Film & Television “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam-Babelsberg in 2004. Wnendt‘s powerful graduation film Combat Girls
, which he both wrote and directed, was met with great acclaim. His next successful films include Wetlands
(Sundance 2014) and the Hitler satire Look Who's Back
(2015). Wnendt is in pre-production for crime drama Sun and Concrete
is a Toronto-based author, public speaker, journalist, filmmaker, the Executive Director of the Changemaker Project, a non-profit charitable organization, and a Regional Coordinator for Central Canada and the United States at Against Violent Extremism (AVE), a global network of former extremists and survivors of extremist violence working in partnership with ISDGlobal, a London, UK, NGO and think tank creating operational responses to violent extremism and radicalization. As a teenager, Elisa was the inspiration behind the 1998 CBC film White Lies, starring Sarah Polley as a fictionalized character based on Elisa's story. Her controversial story has since been published in the memoir Race Traitor: The True Story of Canadian Intelligence's Greatest Cover-Up.
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Part of the Goethe-Institut's focus on German film