Wunderbar Films: German Cinema 101

© Fatih Akin © Fatih Akin

As part of the 2018-2019 initiative "Year of German-American Friendship (Deutschlandjahr)," encompassed by the motto #WunderbarTogether, the Goethe-Institut Washington and the Landmark West End Cinema invite you to a year-long series of once-monthly film screenings that explore four distinct eras of German film history. All screenings will be followed by discussions led by local film experts to encourage a deeper examination of German cinema in the present and past.

German Cinema 101 is part of the project Wunderbar Films, which makes selected notable films in German cinema accessible via streaming service.

Since the inception of cinema, Germany has consistently been a source of influential and innovative creative output in the film industry. From the silent films of the 1920s came the "first horror film," The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, as well as the "first science-fiction film," Fritz Lang’s epic Metropolis. Germany’s complex history has played a large role in the evolution of German cinema; the films of the struggling early-20th-century Weimar Republic reflect a highly experimental approach to envisioning dreamlike worlds, parallel dimensions, and dystopian futures.

During the height of the Cold War, East German filmmakers from the 1960s and 1970s found subtle ways to criticize Soviet rule using films produced at DEFA Studios — from drawing parallels between the German Democratic Republic and the Spanish Inquisition, to mirroring the terror of potential nuclear war with stories of space travel and extraterrestrial enemies. On the other side of the Berlin Wall, New Wave filmmakers like Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder questioned power structures of postwar West Germany and challenged the BRD‘s relationship to its recent past with experimental camerawork and unconventional narrative approaches.

Present-day German cinema celebrates a variety of storytelling perspectives from diverse filmmakers of all genders and backgrounds, exploring topics of class, gender, and nationality using gritty urban settings and intertwining narratives.

For the first three film screenings of German Cinema 101, we will be taking a closer look at contemporary German cinema with Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria, Fatih Akin’s The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite), and Margarethe von Trotta’s Hannah Arendt.

These film screenings will involve discussions guided by Hester Baer, Associate Profesor and Head of Germanic Studies at the University of Maryland.

Admission to each film is $5 through Eventbrite. All films have English subtitles.

Beginning with contemporary German cinema, the following films will be screened in 2018:

October 8, 2018 6:30 PM – Victoria (2015), dir. Sebastian Schipper

November 12, 2018 6:30 PM – The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite) (2007), dir. Fatih Akin

December 10, 2018 6:30 PM – Hannah Arendt (2012), dir. Margarethe von Trotta
The following films will be screened in 2019. More information will be shared on these films in the near future:

Films of the German Democratic Republic (DEFA Studios)
January 14, 2019 6:30 PM – Goya (1971), dir. Konrad Wolf

February 11, 2019 6:30 PM – The Silent Star (Der schweigende Stern) (1960), dir. Kurt Maetzig

March 11, 2019 6:30 PM – Trace of Stones (Spur der Steine) (1966), dir. Frank Beyer

Films of the Weimar Republic (1920s)
April 8, 2019 6:30 PM – The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari) (1920), dir. Robert Wiene

May 13, 2019 6:30 PM - Metropolis (1927), dir. Fritz Lang

June 10, 2019 6:30 PM – Faust (1926), dir. F.W. Murnau

Films of New German Cinema (1970s)
July 8, 2019 6:30 PM – Alice in the Cities (Alice in den Städten) (1974), Wim Wenders

August 12, 2019 6:30 PM – The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun) (1979), dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder

September 9, 2019 6:30 PM – Aguirre the Wrath of God (Aguirre der Zorn Gottes) (1972), dir. Werner Herzog