ARTISTS UNDER THE BIG TOP: PERPLEXED
Directed by Alexander Kluge, 1968
Leni inherits the family circus after her
father is killed while practicing a difficult act.
Feeling that small-time carnivals are on their way
out, she updates the show by turning it into a
"reform circus," which consists of socially relevant
entertainment. Unfortunately, it fails to attract
customers, and her circus goes bankrupt—twice.
The story of Leni and her woes is slight but
the strength of Kluge’s film is the complex
imagery, with its masterful montages, filmic
references, and layers of meaning. In German with English subtitles.
THE BIG MESS
Directed by Alexander Kluge, 1970
The futuristic vision of New German Cinema founder Alexander Kluge, The Big Mess
unique and provocative interpretation of sci-fi. In the year 2034, the Kruger star system is dominated by a powerful corporate giant called the Suez
Canal Company. Those unable to obtain business licenses of their own eke out a living as rebels or pirates.
Directed by Ulrich Kohler, 2002
A German youth -- more slacker than soldier -- goes AWOL from military service and returns to his parents' summer home. There he falls for his brother's girlfriend, a Danish actress in
B-movies. In German with English subtitles.
View clip (.mpg)
EARTHQUAKE IN CHILE
Directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1974
Handsome Jeronimo is hired to tutor the
rich heiress, Josefa. They fall in love, but the
Church forbids their relationship, and Josefa is
hidden in a convent. The Church discovers that
she is pregnant and sentences her to death by
decapitation. Jeronimo tracks her down but is
jailed before he can rescue her. When Fate
intervenes in the form of a massive earthquake,
the two lovers have no idea what is in store for
them. In German with English subtitles.
THE FUTURE OF EMILY
Directed by Helma
Director Helma Sanders-Brahms, who
along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Werner
Herzog founded the New German Cinema, offers
a gripping drama of family relationships of three
generations of females. By focusing on the joys
and trials of single motherhood, Sanders-Brahms
explores the bond between mothers and
daughters. In French with English subtitles.
GERMANY, PALE MOTHER
Directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1980
in its realism, the film is set during World
War II and follows newlywed Lene, whose young
husband, a soldier, is sent to the front lines. Lene
discovers that she is pregnant and is forced to
take her child on a journey across the warravaged
countryside. In German with English subtitles.
GERMANY IN AUTUMN
Directed by Alexander Kluge and others, 1978
Produced in response to the kidnapping and murder of a prominent industrialist by a German
terrorist group 30 years ago, this film will resonate with today’s audiences who are all too familiar with
Germany in Autumn
features a series of nonfiction and fiction segments bookended by two
funerals—the industrialist’s at the beginning and the terrorists’ at the end. More of an essay than a
straightforward documentary, the film captures impressions of this explosive and emotive moment in
Germany's history by several directors of the New German Cinema, including Alexander Kluge, Volker
Schlondorff, Edgar Reitz, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Directed by Edgar Reitz, 1994
Pioneering German filmmaker Edgar Reitz follows up his groundbreaking Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany
with the astonishing 13-episode, 25-hour saga Heimat 2: Chronicle of a Generation
. Beginning in the year 1960, Heimat 2
follows Hermann Simon, who leaves his village of Schabbach to settle in Munich. In German with English subtitles.
IN DANGER AND DEEP DISTRESS,
MIDDLEWAY SPELLS CERTAIN DEATH
Directed by Alexander Kluge, 1974
In 1974, Kluge and good friend Edgar Reitz (the Heimat series) roamed Frankfurt for ten days with
a camera capturing life in the city at that timethe political demonstrations, carnival fun, and debate within
the congress for the SPD Party. Kluge interweaves the real-life footage with fictional threads about two
very different women. One woman seduces men, sleeps with them, and then robs them blind; the other is
a spy from the Eastern Bloc. In German with English subtitles.
Directed by Valie Export, 1977
Anna, a photographer living in Vienna, is losing her grip on her sanity just as her lover loses interest
in her—or perhaps because of this. Her profound sense of loss and alienation manifests itself in her belief
that space aliens are colonizing the minds of her fellow citizens, especially men, which raises the
aggression level. The outside world seems and looks disjointed as her inner world falls apart in this
experimental narrative in which the lines between outward reality and inner fantasy are blurred.
Directed by Hans Jürgen Syberberg, 1974
The second film in Hans Jürgen
Syberberg's highly impressionistic German
Trilogy, Karl May
follows the last years in the
life of Germany’s most popular author. May,
a prolific and beloved writer, wrote rousing
adventure tales set in America's Wild West, which
mythologized a rustic lifestyle that appealed to
German sensibilities and may have inspired the
Nazi Party. In German with English subtitles.
KLUGE IN THE BEGINNING
Directed by Alexander Kluge, 1968-73
Alexander Kluge became the leading advocate and politician of the New German Cinema of the
1960s-70s, and his work was vital to the intellectual underpinning of the movement. This special collection
includes four of Kluge's earliest features and six of his shorts.
Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave
tells the story of Rosewitha Bronski, a wife and mother, a local
abortionist, and a factory worker turned labor activist. Kluge captures her frantic life in a cool, episodic
style that makes use of voiceover and inserts to comment on Rosewitha's choices. Artists Under the Big
opens with circus performer Leni Peickert in a quandary after inheriting the family circus.
Feeling that small-time carnivals are on their way out, she updates the show by turning it into a "reform
circus" consisting of socially relevant entertainment. In The Big Mess
, Kluge tackles science
fiction, resulting in a vision of space exploration as a frontier of commercial exploitation and consumer
fraud. In Willi Tobler and the Decline of the 6th Fleet
, Kluge continues to tweak the sci-fi genre with this tale
of a man who abandons his family and old way of life to join the 6th Fleet.
Directed by Ivan Fila, 1996
After witnessing her father murder her mother, a young Slovak girl named Lea (Lenka Vlasakova) is stricken mute. Her foster parents arrange her marriage to a much older gentleman (Christian Redl) who too suffers a traumatic past. Their relationship seems doomed, but a bond soon grows as they learn more about each other. Also stars Hanna Schygulla and Udo Kier. "A bittersweet fable, the timeless kind...emotionally uplifting" (Globe and Mail
). In German and Slovak with English subtitles.
A LITTLE BIT OF FREEDOM
Directed by Yuksel Yavuz, 2003
Baran, a Kurdish teen from Turkey, makes
bicycle deliveries for a kebab shop while trying to
outwit the authorities who have refused him
political asylum. He strikes up a friendship with
another outsider, an illegal African immigrant with
dyed blond hair who deals drugs to get by.
Trouble begins after Baran loses his low profile
because the kebab-stand owner's daughter sets
her sites on him. In German, Kurdish, and
Turkish with English subtitles.
View clip (.mpg)
LUDWIG: REQUIEM FOR A VIRGIN KING
Directed by Hans Jürgen Syberberg, 1972
From the creative mind of Hans Jurgen
Syberberg comes this highly imaginative
interpretation of the life of mad King Ludwig II of
Bavaria. In the mode of Syberberg's unique
masterpiece Our Hitler
, the film consists of a
series of sketches and tableaux with cabaret
music, Oscar-nominated costumes, and colorful
characters. In German with English subtitles.
Directed by Valie Export, 1980
Journalist Franz S. dallies with four women who think only they are the apple of Franz's eye. Each
girlfriend represents a different female archetype: Petra is a sweet kindergarten nurse; Gertrud is an
intelligent teacher; Elisabeth the barmaid is always ready for a party; and poor Anna is the long-suffering
wife. Eventually, the women want more from life than Franz's attention and use different means to
undermine his game.
MY HEART IS MINE ALONE
Directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1997
The story of the real-life love affair
between Jewish poet Else Lasker-Schueler and
Nazi poet Gottfried Benn is told largely through
their poetry in this experimental drama scored
with improvised music.
The poets' relationship epitomizes the idea
of the "ill-fated romance" as Lasker-Schueler is
forced to leave the country because of the very
ideology that Benn believes in. She drifts from
country to country until she lands in Jerusalem to
stay, while he realizes his mistake when the
Nazis condemn his artistic school as degenerate. In German with optional English subtitles.
NO MERCY, NO FUTURE
Directed by Helma
Rita G., who comes from a family of wealthy
socialites, wanders the streets of Berlin along the Wall
in search of God. She hopes to find what she's
looking for in the outcasts of the city - the humiliated,
the aged, the immigrants, the exiles, and the
handicapped. Rita G. expresses her love of humanity
and her religious spirit in unusual ways, which often
lands her in a psychiatric clinic. In German with English subtitles.
Directed by Frieder Schlaich, 1999
On a hot August day in 1989, West African political refugee Frederic Otomo is stopped on a public subway by an intolerant conductor. He panics, breaks loose, and escapes. Hours later, when confronted by police, he stabs five officers before being gunned down by one of them. In German with English subtitles.
Directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, 1977
In a series of 22 tableaux set on a soundstage, Syberberg makes use of puppets, props, a thundering Wagnerian soundtrack, and rear-screen projection to evoke Nazi Germany, the origins of the Third Reich, and the disturbing aftermath that followed. Neither a feature film nor a conventional documentary, Our Hitler
is a seven-and-a-half-hour fever dream on coming to terms with Nazism. In German with English subtitles.
PALERMO OR WOLFSBURG
Directed by Werner Schroeter, 1980
Young Nicola leaves his hometown of Palermo, Sicily, with its bad economy and high
unemployment, for a better life in Wolfsburg, Germany. He lands a good job at the VW plant, but without
the support of his family and community, he struggles to integrate into German society. Nicola falls for a
pretty local girl, but happiness eludes him as he becomes entangled in a situation that quickly spins out of
control. In German with English subtitles.
View clip (.mpg)
PART-TIME WORK OF A DOMESTIC SLAVE
Directed by Alexander Kluge, 1973
The most significant work by Alexander
Kluge, architect of the New German Cinema,
features his sister Alexandra as Rosewitha
Bronski, a woman trying to make her way in a
hostile society. Rosewitha is a wife and mother, a
local abortionist, and a factory worker turned
labor activist. In German with English subtitles.
Directed by Alexander Kluge, 1979
Director Alexander Kluge begins The Patriot
where he left off in Germany in Autumn, with
teacher Gabi Teichert digging into the ground of a snow-covered landscape. The image is a metaphor for
digging into the past of German history, a recurring theme for director Alexander Kluge.
Gabi, played by Hannelore Hoger, uncovers the skeleton of a dead soldier while digging, and his
disconnected knee begins to speak to her. "The Knee" -- an actual anatomical joint -- had belonged to
Private Wieland, a soldier killed at Stalingrad during WWII. The Knee narrates the film, which is a
disparate collection of documentary footage, fairy-tale illustrations, and fictional scenes with actors. Like a
knee joins two parts of the leg, so the Knee in the film connects the various types of footage with its
narration. In German with English subtitles.
PAUL BOWLES: HALF MOON
Directed by Frieder Schlaich & Irene von Alberti, 1995
The exotic world of expatriate American writer Paul Bowles (The Sheltering Sky
), artistic colleague of Beat poets and writers such as Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, is brought to the screen in this beautifully photographed anthology based on three of his short stories. In Arabic, Berber and English with English subtitles.
THE PRACTICE OF LOVE
Directed by Valie Export, 1984
With its plot twists and experimental sensibility, The Practice of Love
was a stunning
directorial debut for avant-garde filmmaker Valie Export.
Judith, an investigative journalist, begins to unravel a murder mystery that implicates one of her
current lovers. When she checks out a peep-show business on the seedy side of Hamburg as part of the
investigation, she runs into a former boyfriend who used to be a psychiatrist but is now an arms dealer.
Judith is lured back into his fold, cheating on her current lovers, one of whom is also a shrink. Despite her
profession, or perhaps because of it, Judith tends to blend fantasy and reality, so small wonder she is
attracted to psychiatrists. But, two shrinks and a murder prove more than Judith can handle. In German with English subtitles.
THE FILMS OF HELMA SANDERS-BRAHMS
From director Helma Sanders-Brahms, who along with directors like Rainer Werner Fassbinder and
Werner Herzog established the New German Cinema, come six gripping dramas about the struggle of
women in a tumultuous world.
Earthquake in Chile
is a fable of forbidden love and political oppression; The Future of Emily
the story of three generations of females, exploring the bond between mothers and daughters; Germany,
depicts the realities of a group of brave, self-sufficient women who live in the ruins of bombedout
buildings during WWII and later rebuild their houses and apartment blocks; My Heart Is Mine Alone
tells the story of the real-life love affair between Jewish poet Else Lasker-Schueler and Nazi poet Gottfried
Benn; No Mercy, No Future
offers a stunning portrait of a woman in psychological turmoil; Under the
Pavement Lies the Strand
follows a politically motivated couple who struggle in the calm that follows the
student rebellions and demonstrations of the late 1960s.
Directed by Alexander Kluge, 1976
Tense and taut, Strongman Ferdinand
remains director Alexander Kluge's most accessible
film. Kluge, a master at political drama, chooses a realistic mode and a straightforward story to create a
timely story of terrorism.
Heinz Schubert stars as Ferdinand Rieche, the head of security at an important chemical firm who
becomes obsessed with finding security risks. He fabricates threats to demonstrate his expertise and to
suggest that he is indispensible, ultimately leading to harsher tactics and tighter enforcement. When the
company director questions the need for such controls, Rieche considers the director a risk. In German with English subtitles.
UNDER THE PAVEMENT LIES THE STRAND
Directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1974
Renowned German director Helma
Sanders-Brahms made her feature-film debut
with this potent drama about a politically
motivated couple who struggle in the calm that
followed the student rebellions and
demonstrations of the late 1960s. The heady
days of 1968 brought sweeping socio-political
changes in Germany, but the subsequent years
have been a letdown for Grischa and Heinrich,
who are starring in a successful play on the
Berlin stage. In German with optional English subtitles.
WILLI TOBLER AND THE DECLINE
OF THE 6th FLEET
Directed by Alexander Kluge, 1972
During the Galactic Citizen's War, Willi Tobler—played by actor and intellectual Alfred Edel—
decides to rid himself of his material possessions and responsibilities after his sector is bombarded. He not
only leaves behind his belongings but also his wife and child as he volunteers to be the public relations
man for the Chief Admiral of the 6th Fleet; however, his new life does not give him the security he wanted.
With its intentionally low-budget look and offbeat intertitles, Willi Tobler
evokes the hand-crafted
effects of Georges Méliès. Combined with a dependence on improvisation, the film represents Kluge's
radical experimentation with a popular genre.
Directed by Alexander Kluge, 1966
, the stunning feature debut
by Alexander Kluge, launched the movement know as
the New German Cinema after the film's triumph at
the Venice International Film Festival when the press
hailed it as the rebirth of German film. In German with English subtitles.
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