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Preview: German Film Festival 2019

German Film Festival 2019

The annual German Film Festival returns this October for its 23rd edition! Organised by the Goethe Institut, audiences can expect a line-up of films about self-determination, diversity and social awareness this time around, with genres ranging from drama and documentaries, to comedies and family films.

Says Festival curator Mr Andreas Struck: “In times when a fear of the unknown leads people to treat others in a dehumanising manner, when self-aggrandisement and claims to power storm past dignity and mindfulness, and when greed is suffocating our planet, we need films that take a stand but also remember to dream as they do so.” 

Opening the festival will be All About Me, an award-winning story of the German entertainer and comedian, Hape Kerkeling, who overcomes great personal tragedies from his childhood. Based off the biography written by the entertainer himself, the film charts Kerkelng’s childhood in the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. The award-winning film was also directed by Caroline Link, who won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003 for Nowhere in Africa (2001).

Mr Han Song Hiltmann, Director of Goethe-Institut Singapore, explains that this year’s GFF also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, commenting: “Our retrospective #fallingwalls will showcase films on the history of Berlin – once a divided city and hotspot of the cold war, it became a site of a peaceful revolution and unification.”

Films in the #fallingwalls category are Westler, a love story between two men separated by the Berlin Wall; the cult films, Wings of Desire and Good Bye, Lenin!; and the three documentaries The Wall, B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin 1979-1989 and Berlin Bouncer. “But we are not only looking back in history. Especially in times when new walls are on the rise again, it might be worthwhile to remind ourselves how separation and alienation might harm us, and that dialogue, collaboration and exchange might be more challenging at first, but certainly offer many more chances in the long run,” adds Han Song Hiltmann. Several Goethe-Institutes worldwide are currently joining a social media campaign under the hashtag #fallingwalls to address issues of separation and segregation, and to promote transnational dialogue and exchange. 

A number of films – like Swimming, Ever After and Roads – tell of the formation of fragile alliances as characters embark on their journey to independence, while the value of community is explored by Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay’s movie Oray, in which a young Muslim’s faith is challenged by his emotions. 

“The filmmakers in this year’s programme demonstrate an awareness of history, giving visibility to alternatives beyond mainstream norms while enchanting us with cinematographic adventures that encourage a combination of self-determination, otherness and community,” adds Andreas Struck. 

Filmgoers in Singapore will have the opportunity to get up-close and personal with Stephanie Amarell, leading actress of Swimming, Carolina Hellsgård director of Endzeit -Ever After and Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay director of Oray at post-show events.

Since the first film week in 1978, the GFF has reached out to a growing audience in Singapore. The 23rd edition of the Festival is presented with the cooperation of established partners, such as The Projector and Golden Village, as well as Evonik, the main Festival supporter. The collaboration with the Singapore Botanic Gardens continues with a free outdoor screening of the children’s animation movie Marnie’s World. New collaborations are also forged with the German European School Singapore (GESS) and Our Tampines Hub.

German Film Festival 2019 runs from 24th November to 10th November 2019 at various venues. Tickets and full programme lineup available here

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