Like in several other territories, commercial juggernauts will win it big in 2011. This should be the case for Germany. Til Schweiger, for example, is going to churn out family-oriented Kokowääh (no, that’s not a word) and Keinohrhasen 3. As always, comedians are going to try to translate their concert hall fame into tickets, like Tom Gerhardt and Hilmi Sözer, who have teamed up for buddy-cop-com Die Superbullen, or Kurt Krömer, who’s trying his luck in a movie called Eine Insel namens Udo – titles you won’t have to memorize altogether, as they will hardly be exported to non-German-speaking countries. Pina, in contrast, will be: It’s Wim Wenders’ bow to the late Pina Bausch, a 3D dance theater experience running out of competition at coming February’s Berlinale, dreaded in advance by arthouse purists. Meanwhile, these are some of the most promising German films that do show up on the horizon:
#.5 Memory Hotel
Heinrich Sabl has been working on this for about a decade: the tale of a boy and a girl against the backdrop of post-WW2 Germany. Delayed for years, chances are good that this promising piece of classical animation will finally be completed this year.
#.4 Dreiviertelmond (lit. Gibbous Moon)
At first sight, having an old German taxi driver’s emotional shell be cracked by a small Turkish child sounds corny. However, two factors make this one’s outlook much brighter: Elmar Wepper, who gave a stellar performance in Doris Dörrie’s Cherry Blossoms, plays the lead, and Christian Zübert, who with The Treasure of the White Falcons not only made one of the best children’s movies in years, but also showed how caring his filmmaking can be, directs. Scheduled for domestic release in October.
Marcus H. Rosenmüller has the amazing Grave Decisions to his name, plus the first two films of his ‘Beste’ trilogy, Beste Zeit and Beste Gegend (last one’s to be titled Beste Chance), were much better than they fared at theatres. The Bavarian dialect wave may have cooled off, but it’s central figure hopefully remains as strong as ever: with a plot tailor-made for insightful comedy that, sometime in the 1980s, brings a group of Bhagwan people into a tiny rural community. Set to come out in August.
#.2 Valerie (Small Lights)
The third and by all accounts last of producer Hubertus Meyer-Burckhardt’s monolog tour-de-forces will hit Germany in spring: After Hannelore Elsner’s (Mein letzter Film) and Ben Becker’s (Ein ganz gewöhnlicher Jude) lauded turns it’s up to Franka Potente to carry the entirety of Valerie. She plays a modern woman who roams her boyfriends apartment while recording and starting to re-evaluate her life story on video.
#.1 Wer wenn nicht wir (If Not Us, Who?)
I’ve lost track of how many people have played RAF terrorist Andreas Baader over the years. This time it’s Alexander Fehling’s assignment, coincidentially one of Europe’s Shooting Stars of 2011. Anyway, my attention rather is on documentarist Andres Veiel making his first proper feature film. Having already explored the one part of the topic with Black Box BRD, he now focuses on the antecedents, the story of young Gudrun Ensslin (played by Lena Lauzemis) and the condition of German society in the early 1960s. Perhaps the intelligent counterpart to a trigger-happy The Baader-Meinhof Complex, film’s going to preem at the Berlinale. (See pic above).