Virtual Filmfestival German Films at the Chicago European Union Film Festival

Deutsche Filme des CEUFF © Goethe-Institut Chicago

Fri, 03/05/2021 -
Sun, 04/25/2021

Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Born in Evin (c) Siri Klug Born in Evin
Director: Maryam Zaree, 2019, 100 min., color, in Farsi, English, French, and German with English subtitles
March 26 through April 25, 2021

Born in Evin In her directing debut, German-Iranian actress Maryam Zaree confronts the circumstances of her birth inside one of the world’s most notorious prisons. Her parents, political opponents to Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khomeini, spent years in prison, and then managed to find asylum in Germany. But they never talked about their persecution and imprisonment, so Zaree turns to other survivors of Evin, talks to experts, and searches for children born in the same prison. What are the personal consequences of persecution and violence when the same perpetrators remain in power while the victims internalize their stories? And what does it mean, politically, to face the silence within the family? – Alissa Simon

Gypsy Queen (c) Gypsy Queen Gypsy Queen
Director: Hüseyin Tabak, 2019, 112 min., color, German with English subtitles
March 19 through April 15, 2021

Gypsy Queen Charismatic single mother Ali works herself to the bone as a cleaner at the Ritze nightclub in Hamburg so that her two children can have the opportunities inherent in a German life and education. Long ago, as a promising young boxer, Ali was the pride and joy of her father and the Romanian Roma community, but she was disowned after bearing children out of wedlock. One night, Ali discovers the boxing ring in the basement of the Ritze, and it brings back memories. Ritze owner and former boxer Tanner recognizes her talent, and as she starts to box again, she sees the chance of a better life… but at what price? – Alissa Simon

Top Down Memory (c) Daniel Theiler The short-film compilation "Power Games" includes four award-winning shorts that explore radical and extremist tendencies worldwide, the idea that history seems destined to repeat itself, and the role that power can play even in unexpected situations.
Total running time: 85 min.
March 5 through April 1, 2021

Short Film Program: Power Games Top Down Memory
Director: Daniel Theiler, 2020, 12 min., German with English subtitles

Top Down Memory deals with the manipulation of history in the context of the reconstruction of the Berlin Palace ("Humboldtforum"). Starting from the confusions surrounding an alleged proclamation of a socialist republic from one of its balconies in 1918, the film examines other political events that occurred on balconies. Reenactments of iconic political and cultural events on the original balcony raise questions about authenticity and manipulation. Who is writing our history? How do we deal with our past? How does collective memory work? The balcony is the central motive of the film, representing hierarchies and power politics.

Masel Tov Cocktail
Directors: Arkadij Khaet, Mickey Paatzsch, 2020, 30 min., German/Russian with English subtitles

19-year-old Dimitrij Liebermann punched Tobi in the face. Now he’s supposed to apologize to him. But Dimitrij doesn’t exactly feel sorry. While on his way to meet up with Tobi, he encounters a diverse representation of German society. Again and again, Dimitrij faces one struggle he needs to overcome: his German-Jewish identity. An analysis of the status quo.

Land of Glory
Director: Borbála Nagy, 2020, 27 min., Hungarian with English subtitles

A school somewhere in Hungary. An ordinary literature class with unextraordinary, indifferent students. It feels like a normal day, except that the Hungarian Prime Minister is about to visit. The school secretary, the mastermind of the ceremony, tries to keep everything under control, especially the celebratory cake, which doesn’t fit in the fridge. While the cooks struggle to fix the problem, 17-year-old Márti, who is supposed to greet the Prime Minister on stage, hesitantly prepares her little rebellion.

Just a Guy
Director: Shoko Hara, 2020, 15 min., English

Just a Guy is an animated documentary short film about love. Three women share glimpses of their affection, attraction, and relationship with Richard Ramirez: a serial killer and rapist they contacted after he was convicted in the 1980s. Through their perspective, we revisit exchanged letters and emotions that are as obsessive as they are hauntingly familiar.