AUGUST 2019: Get up - Stand up - Don't give up

Film package_AUG
© Die akte General

A selection of 6 feature films + 1 documentary film package, showing how people dare to challenge the impossible with their chins up, in the hope of making a difference.

All films can be found in the library of the Goethe-Institut Hong Kong. 

Director: Margarethe von Trotta
109 min., 2012

The film portrays Hannah Arendt, the famous German-American political theorist, during the four years (1960-1964) that she observes, writes, and endures the furious reception for her work about the trial of the Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann. In the report that she wrote for the New Yorker, she introduced the phrase “banality of evil” to describe Eichmann, raising the question of whether evil is simply a function of thoughtlessness. Watching Arendt as she attends the trial, staying by her side as she is both barraged by her critics and supported by a tight band of loyal friends, we experience the intensity of this powerful Jewish woman who fled Nazi Germany in 1933. 


2. DIE BLEIERNE ZEIT (En: Marianne and Juliane)
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
103 min., 1981

Two women in Germany, two sisters. Marianne and Juliane fight for social change during the 60s, however their means are totally different. While Juliane makes her way as a committed journalist, Marianne joins the political underground. After Marianne is arrested and put into jail, Juliane remains her only connection to the outside world. During a holiday in Italy, Juliane learns of Marianne’s sudden death. The “official” cause of death: suicide. However, Juliane is convicted that her sister did not kill herself.


3. DEMOKRATIE FÜR ALLE? (En: Why Democracy)
Director: various, 5 DVDs, 11 hours 26 mins, 2007

Democracy is arguably the greatest political buzzword of our time and is invoked by political leaders, corporations and citizens alike – but what does it mean? Can it be defined, measured, safeguarded? Can it be sold, bought, and transplanted? What does it mean to people who can’t even talk about it? What does it mean to people who don’t believe in it? And what does it mean to you?

In October 2007, ten one-hour films focused on contemporary democracy and its underlying values were broadcast in the world’s largest ever factual media event. More than 48 broadcasters on all continents participated, airing the films in over 181 countries.

Director: Christian Petzold
108 min., 2012

In the first film of Petzold’s “Love in Times of Oppressive System” trilogy, Barbara is a skilled physician banished to a rural East German town as punishment for applying for an exit visa. Regarded with suspicion and thinly veiled hostility by the locals – even as she is kept under surveillance by a Stasi officer – Barbara steadfastly refuses to ingratiate herself, only revealing her considerable reserves of empathy and kindness in the treatment of her patients who include a young dissident, Stella, desperate to escape a labour camp.


5. FREISTATT (En: Sanctuary)
Director: Marc Brummund
104 min., 2015

May 1968: Rolly Stones, bell-bottoms, mini-skirts, sexual revolution, protests against the Vietnam War…While Germany sets off for a new era of freedom, rebellious fourteen-year-old Wolfgang gets sent to Freistatt, a foster home for difficult children. There he shall be “educated” to become a decent boy. Wolfgang puts up a determined resistance against the brutal working conditions and the perfidious education methods of the wardens; he doesn’t allow them to get him down. But for how long can he manage to resist the system of violence and oppression without brutalizing himself?


Director: Heiner Carow
109 min., 1989

As a boy, Philipp was strongly attracted to his best friend, but he put that behind him in order to live within the “norm”. He meets a shy girl who falls for him, and soon the couple is sharing an apartment. But Philipp cannot deny his passionate desire for a young man. After years of repressing his sexuality, he finally accepts himself for who he truly is.
Hailed as the first and only feature film about gay life ever produced in communist East Germany, COMING OUT premiered on the night of the Berlin Wall opened, November 9, 1989.


7. DIE AKTE GENERAL (En: The General Case)
Director: Stephan Wagner
89 min., 2016

The political drama sheds light on the historical figure Fritz Bauer, the Hessian Chief Public Prosecutor who was involved in the capture of Adolf Eichmann between 1959 and 1962.

In the early years of the Federal Republic, politics and the law in the late 1950s are still being controlled by an old-boy network made up of Nazis who had only been reformed on the surface. The Hessian Chief Public Prosecutor Fritz Bauer is fighting a lone battle against the cover-up of Nazi crimes and the restorative policies of the Adenauer government – he’s convinced that this is the only way the young democracy can stabilize. 


All films are available for loan at the Library of Goethe-Institut Hongkong.