GERMAN GEMS at the Castro Saturday January 14, 2012

All films are in German with English subtitles

11am UNDER CONTROL Unter Kontrolle
DIR/SCR/CAM Volker Sattel with Stefan Stefanescu
Germany 2011, 98 min, 35mm
PRINT SOURCE credofilm

Gloriously shot on 35mm and Cinemascope®, UNDER CONTROL unfolds a breathtaking yet disturbing, often science fiction-like panoramic view of nuclear power plants in Germany. Volker Sattel got permission to enter control rooms, reactors and storage facilities for atomic waste where experts discuss risk management and security measures. The camera focuses on the power plant like an archeological dig that tells the history of civilization.  Reflecting on a technology that was once a synonym for progress the film traces a hidden tragedy. At the end, the power plants are deserted, and the spirit of the atom has escaped and left its mark. Variety calls UNDER CONTROL “…a monumental film on life and death of nuke plants.”

Followed by a discussion with Michael Ahrens (German Consulate General of SF), Barbara George (Sierra Club, Women’s Energy Matters), and Umi Hagitani (No Nukes Action) .

Co-presented by the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club

Buy tickets for UNDER CONTROL


2:15 pm WAY HOME Vergiß dein Ende
Germany 2011, 93 min, DCP
DIR Andreas Kannengießer, SCR Nico Woche, CAM Stephan Fallucchi, CAST Renate Krößner, Dieter Mann, Hermann Beyer

For several years Hannelore has been taking care of her husband Klaus who suffers from dementia and she has reached the end of the rope. One day, on the spur of the moment, she jumps on the train and follows her neighbor Günther, leaving her husband behind. Irritated about the stalker, Günther tries to shake Hannelore off but with no success. Together they end up on a small island and a story of two isolated, desperate people unfolds. WAY HOME is a film about two lost souls who, by helping each other, find a new beginning. With memorable performances by veteran actors like Renate Krößner, known from the 1980 DEFA classic SOLO SUNNY.

Andreas Kannengiesser (will attend the screening)
was born in 1978 in Nordhausen and grew up on Ruegen. Before enrolling at the Film & Television Academy in Potsdam in 2004, he worked as a garbage collector, a dental technician and then as an intern at the North German Broadcasting Service (NDR).  His work as assistant director includes KROKO (B&B 2005) and DETROIT (2004). PLANET CARLOS (2008) and WAY HOME are his directorial debuts.

Preceded by
Animation, 6 min, 35mm

Buy tickets for WAY HOME and FLAMINGO PRIDE

4:30 pm ABOVE US ONLY SKY Über uns das All
Germany 2011, 88 min, 35mm,
DIR/SCR Jan Schomburg CAM Marc Comes CAST Sandra Hüller, Georg Friedrich
PRINT SOURCE Bavaria Film International

Martha’s well-balanced life comes to a sudden halt when she finds out that Paul, the man she loves and has been living with for several years, disappeared without a trace. When the police knocks at her door to identify him, she looses her grip on everything that has existed. Is Paul the man the police has found? Was he a phantom?  A lie? As Martha tries to cope with the loss, she meets Alexander who reminds her of Paul. But can he fill the gap?  Probing deep into the mind and heart of a woman who is desperately trying to hold on to a broken life, Jan Schomburg’ intense feature debut has been described as suspenseful thriller, and a powerful story about coming to terms with loss. A genuine highlight of the 2011 Berlinale with an extraordinary performance by Sandra Hüller.

Jan Schomburg (will attend the screening)
Born in Aachen in 1976. After studying visual communications in the film and television department at Kassel College of Art he graduated in film directing from the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM). In 2008 he was awarded a fellowship to study at the Andrzej Wajda Film School in Warsaw. After making several short films, some of which won awards (NEVER EVEN B&B 2005), ÜBER UNS DAS ALL marks his theatrical feature debut. He lives in Cologne.

Buy tickets for ABOVE US ONLY SKY

7:30 pm WESTWIND
Germany, Hungary 2011, 89 min, 35mm
DIR Robert Thalheim, SCR Ilja Haller, Susann Schimk, CAST Friederike Becht, Luise Heyer, Franz Dinda, Volker Bruch

It is 1988, a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall and inseparable 17-year-old twins Doreen and Isabel from East Germany spend a summer at Lake Balaton in Hungary. The twins are decorated oarswomen sent by their country to Soviet satellite states like Hungary to bring home trophies. Hungary’s borders are porous and West Germans can visit Lake Balaton.  When Doreen falls for Arne, a West German tourist from Hamburg, the twin’s well-structured summer begins to crumble. Risking a promising career as a rower and the twin’s close relationship, Doreen will destroy everything that the twins have lived for if she follows her heart across the borders to West Germany. Based on true events, Robert Thalheim’s third feature paints a beautiful, engaging picture of first love on the backdrop of harsh political realities.

Robert Thalheim
Born in 1974 in Berlin, Thalheim was an assistant director at the Berlin Ensemble before he began in 2000 to study directing at the Filmhochschule Potsdam-Babelsberg. His debut film NETTO (2004) won several awards (Best First Feature at B&B 2006). His second feature AND ALONG COME TOURISTS (Am Ende kommen Touristen, B&B 2008), shot on location in Auschwitz, was invited to the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.

Actress Friederike Becht will attend the screening

Buy tickets for WESTWIND

9:30pm TABOO-THE SOUL IS A STRANGER ON EARTH Tabu – Es ist die Seele ein Fremdes auf Erden
Tabu-ES ist die Seele ein Fremdes auf Erden
Germany, Austria, Luxembourg 2011, 94 min, DCP
DIR Christoph Stark CAST Peri Baumeister, Lars Eidinger
PRINT SOURCE Eclypse Filmpartner

Vienna at the turn of the century. Splendor. Glamour. Facades. Pretense. Behind it is insecurity, melancholy, suicides, rumors, and sex, with Freud the analyst, Karl Kraus the satirist, and Schnitzler, Klimt and Schiele, the documentarians of sexuality. This is the background to the story of two solitary children who go from clinging to each other for companionship to becoming soulmates, then lovers; and no one can tear them apart. They are Georg and Margarete Trakl, the great expressionist poet and his sister Grete, his muse, his love. Based less on historical facts than on Trakl’s poems that show his deep connection with his sister, the film portrays “… the wild, consuming passion and longing which is so magnificently reflected in the dark and powerful imagery of Georg Trakl’s poetry,” says director Christoph Stark. Shot on location in Vienna and Luxembourg by award-winning DP Bogumi Godfrejow (REQUIEM & STURM) the film is a radical portrait of a forbidden love, so engaging and absorbing that we long for its fulfillment.

Co-presented by the San Francisco Film Society

Preceded by
MARLENE’S BERLIN by Jerry Ross Barrish

Buy tickets for TABOO and MARLENE’S BERLIN

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