This December, the Goethe-Institut Washington is excited to partner with the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in presenting four outstanding new German films at 2019’s European Union Film Showcase.
Now in its 32nd year, the AFI European Union Film Showcase continues its tradition of bringing the best in European cinema to Washington audiences – with 46 films representing all 28 EU member states, including award winners, regional box-office hits, debut works by up-and-coming talents and new works by leading auteurs, plus 11 of the top contenders for this year's Academy Award® for Best International Feature Film and 10 U.S. and North American premieres.
Wiebke (Nina Hoss, Phoenix) and her adopted nine-year-old daughter Nicolina live alone on an idyllic horse farm. After many years of waiting, Wiebke now has the chance to adopt another girl, five-year-old Raya, to provide Nicolina with the sister she's always wanted. What begins as a harmonious new family takes a turn for the worse when Raya's increasing aggression grows violent, forcing Wiebke to make a tough decision about her new daughter.
Awards, Nominations, Festivals: Winner, Best Director, 2019 Fantastic Fest; Official Selection, 2019 Venice, Toronto, Hamburg, Zurich, Sitges film festivals.
DIR/SCR Katrin Gebbe; PROD Verena Gräfe-Höft.
Germany/Bulgaria, 2019, color, 121 min. In German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
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Special Presentation: A Hidden Life (Ein verborgenes Leben) (2019), dir. Terrence Malick
Showtime: Sat, Dec. 7, 3:30 p.m.
Based on real events, Terrence Malick tells the story of Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), an Austrian farmer from the Alpine village of Radegund who was a conscientious objector during WWII. Drawing extensively from the letters Jägerstätter exchanged with his wife (Valerie Pachner) during his time in prison, Malick combines the epistolary with the visionary in realizing this deeply spiritual story, aided by Jörg Widmer's stunning cinematography and James Newton Howard's moving score, with counterpoint provided by choice selections from Arvo Pärt, Bach, Beethoven, Handel and Gorecki. The excellent cast includes the late Michael Nyqvist and Bruno Ganz in their final film roles, as well as Matthias Schoenaerts, Jürgen Prochnow, Alexander Fehling, Karl Markovics, and Franz Rogowski.
Awards, Nominations, Festivals: Winner, Ecumenical Jury Prize, 2019 Cannes International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Telluride, Toronto, New York and BFI London film festivals.
DIR/SCR Terrence Malick; SCR inspired by Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings from Prison, edited by Erna Putz; PROD Elisabeth Bentley, Dario Bergesio, Grant Hill, Josh Jeter.
Germany/U.S., 2019, color, 173 min. In English and German with English subtitles. RATED PG-13
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I Was at Home, But… (Ich war zuhause, aber…) (2019), dir. Angela Schanelec
Showtimes: Wed, Dec. 11, 9:15 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 15, 8:30 p.m.
Angela Schanelec won the Best Director prize at the 2019 Berlinale for her enigmatic, dreamlike narrative. Astrid (Maren Eggert), a Berlin mother of two, faces a crisis after her 13-year-old son Philip (Jakob Lassalle) disappears, only to reappear a week later, seemingly unharmed. The event goes largely unexplained, and Astrid doesn't register anxiety or guilt in any conventional manner, but the family unit, including daughter Flo (Clara Möller), their friends and neighbors all register the after-effects of the incident in oblique, even absurdist ways.
Awards, Nominations, Festivals: Best Director, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Toronto, New York and San Sebastian film festivals.
It's Lara's 60th birthday, and she has every reason to celebrate: tonight, her son Viktor will give the most important piano concert of his career. Despite the fact that she paved the way for his musical success, Viktor has been unreachable for weeks, and nothing indicates that his mother will be welcome at his debut performance. With no word from her son, she buys all the empty seats in the house and hands them out to everyone she meets. But the more Lara strives to make the evening a success, the more things start to spiral out of control.
Awards, Nominations, Festivals: Winner, Award of Ecumenical Jury, Best Actress (Corinna Harfouch) and Special Prize of the Jury, 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Vancouver, London, Hamptons and Chicago film festivals.
(Note adapted from Beta Cinema.)
DIR Jan Ole Gerster; SCR Blaz Kutin; PROD Marcos Kantis, Martin Lehwald, Michal Pokorny.