Film Films Across Borders: Bagdad Café (Out of Rosenheim) (1987), dir. Percy Adlon

Bagdad Cafe Films Across Borders © Pelemele Film

Wed, 10/16/2019

Goethe-Institut Washington

1990 K St. NW (Entrance on 20th St., lower level)
Washington, DC 20006

Films Across Borders showcases critically acclaimed films, documentaries, shorts and virtual reality experiences from around the world. Co-presented by American University in partnership with embassy cultural organizations, arts institutions and environmental groups, the series focuses on a distinctive timely and compelling theme each year.
Now in its fifth year, the 2019 series - Films Across Borders: Stories of Water - brings together diverse cinematic stories about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, how we use it, how this precious resource shapes human society and our daily lives. Previous film series focused on Stories of Women (2018) and Stories of Migration (2017).
Come for the films and the enjoyment of engaging with filmmakers and topical speakers in lively post-screening discussions. Open to the public in venues around the city in October and November.
Bagdad Café (Out of Rosenheim) (1987), dir. Percy Adlon
West Germany, 1987, 108 min. In English and German with English subtitles. Directed by Percy Adlon. Screenplay by Eleonore and Percy Adlon.
After a substantial domestic dispute, Jasmin Münchgstettner stays behind alone in the Mojave Desert with her husband’s suitcase. She ends up in the desolate location of Bagdad, a shabby motel with a café and a gas station that mainly serves long-distance truckers. Brenda, an overwhelmed woman who has just been abandoned by her own husband, is in charge there. Not only must she run the entire operation by herself, she must also take care of her 17-year-old son – who’s busy practicing J.S. Bach on the piano – as well as her preteen daughter and her little grandchild. Other Bagdad residents include a set-painter from Old Hollywood, and a mysterious tattoo artist.
Brenda is initially suspicious of Jasmin; when she finds men’s clothing in Jasmin’s motel room, she calls the sheriff. But Jasmin embodies the German archetypes of order and diligence. Little by little, she refurbishes the premises. She cleans not only her room, but also Brenda’s office, throwing away the junk that she’s accumulated there. This creates space for new things, which Brenda reluctantly accepts. With her open, sensitive manner, Jasmin wins the hearts of Brenda’s children - and eventually of Brenda. Aware for the first time of Jasmin’s loneliness, Brenda begins to open up to her and the women develop an unlikely friendship.
RSVP Percy Adlon was born in Munich in 1935. Graduate studies between 1954-58 of dramatics, German language and literature, and acting in Munich. Regular contributor with German regional broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian State TV and radio), as speaker and presenter, actor, literary editor and producer of documentary films. In 1978 he founds film production company pelemele. Winner of numerous awards at home and abroad.