Film Screening German Cinema Now! Anna Sofie Hartmann’s Giraffe

Film still: Giraffe © Grandfilm

Wed, 03/24/2021 -
Thu, 03/25/2021



The monthly film series GERMAN CINEMA NOW! is curated by Goethe Pop Up Seattle. This year, the series explores themes of disruption and continuity to inspire public dialogue about the ways in which the past shapes our moment and can inform a radically different future.
The film screenings are presented in partnership with Northwest Film Forum Seattle. All ticket purchases support Northwest Film Forum.
The screening of Giraffe will take place online. Please register in advance and pay what you can. The film stream is available to viewers in the U.S. from March 24 at 5pm to March 25 at 5pm PST.
About the film:
Dir. Anna Sofie Hartmann
Germany, Denmark | 2019 | 87 minutes
On the Danish island of Lolland, in the light, desaturated blues of Baltic summer, construction is underway on the Fehmarn Tunnel, a massive “fixed link” that will replace the ferry and connect Germany and Denmark. Called up from Berlin on contract with the local county museum, ethnographer Dara (played by Lisa Loven Kongsli, of Force Majeure,) documents buildings, artifacts, and ways of life that will be displaced the tunnel. Performing this proleptic archeology by day and returning by night to her temporary apartment, she develops a powerful fascination with an abandoned farmhouse set for demolition, and the woman, Agnes, who once lived there. As she finds her way, through Agnes’s diary, into Agnes’ solitary—if not entirely monastic—life, Dara’s own solitude ends in an electric storm at the seashore, when she and 24 year-old Lucek (Jakub Gierszal) meet. One of a team of Polish contract workers laying cable for the fixed link, Lucek and his compatriots live communally, seemingly closer to their families at home in Poland than to the Danish society around them. While their ages (she is 38), jobs, culture, and lifestyles are profoundly different, Dara and Lucek’s companionship and physical relationship lead them ever further into an emotional tunnel whose destination is unknown.

Links across coaxial cable, seas, and time: Giraffe’s connections and disruptions are not metaphor, but investigation. Mining contrasts between surface and depth, here and there, now and then, and me and you, Danish-German director Anna Sofie Hartmann neither reaches for drama nor does she allow her abundant ideas to weight down the film. Static shots and careful framing let the viewer see and take in drifting clouds of emotion. Fundamental to the film’s style is a soft, gradual approach, like that of a Nordic summer dusk.
“Anna Sofie Hartmann’s ruminative film “Giraffe” poignantly explores that feeling of place and belonging, together with the evanescence of our impact on those who follow us. It’s a film of big themes on an intimate scale that lovingly acknowledges the unimaginable wealth of stories inside everyone we encounter, while also looking at how we negotiate the place of memory in our lives…While the film has a welcome specificity, its themes are universally profound.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety.
“[An] elegant, muted docu-fiction about our fragile sense of identity and place...“Giraffe” reminded me at various moments of WG Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn and the films of Valeska Grisebach.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.
“The certainty of her style and destination with which Anna Sofoa Hartmann wends the narrow way between documentary and fiction is remarkable.” – Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
About the Director:
Born in Nakskov, Denmark, Anna Sofie Hartmann studied film direction at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin. Her thesis film, Limbo, celebrated its premiere at the 2014 San Sebastián International Film Festival and was invited to numerous additional festivals, including Rotterdam, SXSW, and Copenhagen PIX, where the film was nominated for the Discovery Award – Prix FIPRESCI. Giraffe is Anna Sofie Hartmann’s second film.