Goethe Films Loneliness the City © Real Fiction Tiff logo Tiff

Presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto
with the Canadian Urban Institute

                                                                                                                                         BUY TICKETS

Should I stay or should I go? How to live our lives very much centres around whether to live in or out of our (imagined) urban spaces. Cities can mean connectivity and community or boredom and loneliness, they are projections of dreams and disappointment, places of becoming or despair.

Across three new films —poetic, rough, melancholic, hopeful, curious and longingly— GOETHE FILMS enters worlds of urban absence and aspiration: around social struggles and gentrification (“The Mover”), around provincial and urban (queer) lives (“Neubau”), and of the yearning for participation and human contact in Berlin, across gender, generations, and backgrounds (“A Lonely City”).

 “I would like to move to Berlin.”   - When?

When I’m not needed here anymore.   - But what will become of us?

Maybe we could go together.”


The GOETHE FILMS series “Loneliness In the City” features three fresh cinematic perspectives with multiple angles on the interplay between our well-being and our physical environment. While the dozens of characters on-screen are distinct and diverse in their life choices, the viewer can relate to each of them in their moments of urban alienation and distancing. 

David Nawrath’s celebrated feature film debut “The Mover” provides a solitary and intense portrait of a working-class man whose life consists of his job —until a chance encounter leads him to question not only his occupation but past personal decisions. Nicola Graef’s new documentary “A Lonely City” reveals the single reality behind the togetherness often expected in a city as vibrant as Berlin. Through the moving stories of young student Tessa, out-on-the-town elderly gentleman Efraim, just-broken-up artist Thomas, and other absorbing big city dwellers opening up, we witness their personal isolation despite their best efforts. In Johannes Maria Schmit’s drama “Neubau” we follow Markus, a young man torn between the care for his colourful grandmothers in the countryside and his longing for self-determination in Berlin’s alluring queer community.

15-17 May 2021 6pm-6pm EST streaming window
"The Mover” (“Atlas”) (Germany 2018, 99 min.), directed by David Nawrath, starring Rainer Bock, Thorsten Merten, Albrecht Schuch, Nina Gummich, Friederike Bellstedt, and others.

18-20 May 2021 6pm-6pm EST streaming window
"A Lonely City” (“Eine Einsame Stadt”) (Germany 2020, 90 min.), documentary directed by Nicola Graef. 

International premiere!

21-23 May 2021 6pm-6pm EST streaming window
"Neubau" (Germany, 2020, 82 min.), directed by by Johannes Maria Schmit, starring Tucké Royale, Monika Zimmering, Jalda Rebling, Min Duc Pham. 

Canadian premiere!

Bonus Material: Filmmaker introductions plus commentary by urbanism Prof. Ahmed Allahwala

Ahmed Allahwala is a German-born and Toronto-based professor of human geography at the University of Toronto. He received his MA at the Free University Berlin followed by his PhD from York University Toronto. His research and teaching focuses on community development and urban social change, city politics and urban planning, as well as migration and multiculturalism.

Tailored to fit the moment GOETHE FILMS resume at the digital TIFF Bell Lightbox with exclusive online access for Canadian viewers. Tickets on sale May 6.. Once purchased, viewers will have a 48h watch window to hit play. After hitting play, you have 24h to watch the film once. For further questions feel free to visit digital TIFF FAQs, contact TIFF customer support at customerrelations@tiff.net, or the support chat at tiff.net/help daily from 2- 8 pm (incl. weekends and holidays).

Part of the Goethe-Institut focus on German film