Virtual Screening

The German Lesson

The German Lesson / Deutschstunde

Fri, 30.04.2021 -
Mon, 03.05.2021


Language: Language: German | Subtitles: English
Price: Free Admission - Please RSVP for Access

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Presented by Goethe-Institut Boston

Virtual screening of Christian Schwochow's film The German Lesson (2019), part of film series STP-on-Demand.

The screening link to the film will be sent out on Friday, April 30, at 8:00am EDT. The film will be available to view until Sunday, May 2, at 8:00am EDT.

This film will be available in the USA and Canada.

Shaping the Past: Films that examine how we interpret the past on screen

This virtual screening is part of the Goethe-Institut North America's (Institutes and Pop Ups) film series STP-on-Demand, which explores ways in which we cinematically shape, interrogate, and rethink relationships between history and memory.

Shaping the Past / Gestaltung der Vergangenheit is a project of the Goethe-Instituts and Pop Ups in North America (Canada, USA, and Mexico) that connects with and builds on the work of emerging leaders of local, national, and transnational movements to remember through reflection and with urgency. It is a partnership between the Goethe-Institut, the Monument Lab, and the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung / bpb).

#ShapingThePast #STP #GestaltungderVergangenheit #GdV #MonumentLabFellows #BPB

The German Lesson (DE: Deutschstunde)
Germany, 2019, 125 min.
Director: Christian Schwochow
Language: German
Subtitles: English


Germany, just after the Second World War. Siggi Jepsen, a young man in juvenile detention, must write an essay on “The Joys Of Duty” as part of his punishment. The topic overwhelms Siggi so much, he suffers at first from writer’s block. Once put in solitary confinement, he finds the clarity to recount his childhood during the war in a small north German village. His memories focus on his relationship with his father, Jens Ole Jepsen, a police officer of the village, and Max Ludwig Nansen, a family friend and expressionist painter.

Jens dedicates himself totally and meticulously to the duties of his work: to enforce the will of the Nazi Party. More specifically: to enforce the ban on the possession and creation of all modern art. This directly affects Max, who resists, despite the dire consequences. Each man enlists Siggi to help their differing agendas. Caught between his father’s loyalty to the laws of the Nazi Party and Max’s passion for expressionism, Siggi must choose between fitting in and resisting.

The German Lesson was selected for STP-on-Demand by the team at the Goethe-Institut Boston.

About the Filmmaker

Christian Schwochow,
born in 1978 in Bergen on the isle of Rügen (GDR), first worked as an author, reporter and video journalist for German television, before he studied at the renowned Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. His graduation film was Novemberkind (November Child) in 2007, starring Anna Maria Mühe. It was a big success in cinemas and won several awards. In 2011 his second feature film Die Unsichtbare (Cracks in the Shell) followed. For both movies, he wrote the screenplay together with his mother Heide Schwochow. In 2012, he directed the adaptation of the best-selling novel Der Turm (The Tower) for German TV, which made him one of Germany's leading directors.

At Filmfest Hamburg in autumn 2019, Deutschstunde (The German Lesson), a film adaptation of the classic novel of the same name by Siegfried Lenz, celebrated its premiere. The film deals with the Nazi era and how post-war Germany comes to terms with its most recent past. The script was written by Schwochow's mother, Heide Schwochow.


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