This week we’ve been thinking about German cinema, in advance of our first ‘deckchair cinema’ screening of Goodbye Lenin! next Sunday (20th October) at the Coach House Gallery, Alfriston. Full details of the event follow at the end of this post. We are anticipating a busy evening, so be sure to purchase your ticket soon!
We’ve been batting around our favourite German films here at Filmspot HQ, and have come up with a few suggestions for those of you who fancy having a warm-up for our German-themed evening. Here’s five of our favourites:
1. Nosferatu (1922)
Germany was pivotal in the early development of cinema – and many of the silent ‘classics’ are from here – The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Dr Mabuse – The Gambler, Pandora’s Box – just to name a few. We could have picked any of those, as they are all wonderful early films, however, F.W. Murnau‘s version of Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ story (with names altered for copyright reasons) is so iconic and bizarre that we had to include it. Max Schrek’s otherworldly depiction of the ghastly Count Orlok is particularly remarkable and haunting, as are the eerie early special effects, using stop motion animation. Werner Herzog‘s 1979 remake is also worthy of mention (a rare thing for a re-make) however, he is highlighted below for another of his wonderful films. Both the 1922 and 1979 films are included in the BFI Southbank’s current ‘Gothic’ season – screening later this month – so this Halloween is a fantastic time to revisit this masterpiece of gothic cinema.
2. Metropolis (1927)
Another German Expressionist masterpiece very well worth revisiting. Re-released by the BFI in 2010 in the closet cut to that which was presented at the 1927 premiere, Metropolis is regarded as the first feature-length sci-fi film. Set in a dystopian future, director Fritz Lang uses the film to explore class in modern society. Visually, the film is stunning and used pioneering special effects. Lang himself said that ‘The film was born from my first view of skyscrapers in New York in October 1924’.
3. Wings of Desire (1987)
Set in West Germany, Wim Wender’s film is about German trench-coated, invisable angels, who listen to the thoughts of Berlin’s human inhabitants and try to comfort those in need. One angel, Daniel, wishes to become human after falling in love with Marion, a beautiful trapeze artist. Ravishingly shot in black and white, this heartbreakingly romantic fantasy is totally captivating.
4. Fitzcarraldo (1982)
Werner Herzog is certainly one of the most intriguing and colourful figures in contemporary cinema – and his hugely prolific output is a testament to both his genius and eccentricity. Based on the life of real-life Peruvian rubber baron, Carlos Fitzcarrald, the production famously involved moving a 320ton steamship over a hill, without the use of special effects. Klaus Kinski, who took the title role, also caused enormous tension on set, meaning that the existence of this film at all is an achievement in itself!
5. Run Lola Run (1988)
Tom Tykwer’s film about a woman (Lola) who has 20 minutes to get 100,000 marks to her boyfriend, a small-time crook, before he is boss, Ronnie, will arrive and kill him. The film plays out three different scenarios, each effecting the characters Lola encounters on each of her runs in different ways. Very much influenced by Polish Director, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Tykwer directed Kieślowski’s planned film Heaven (another Filmspot favourite) after his death. Exhilarating and gutsy, this is unpretentious, passionate filmmaking at its best.
Now, back to news of our Goodbye Lenin! screening next Sunday 20 October! Here are the details: