2023 German Film Festival Programme Unveiled 

PRESS RELEASE

In collaboration with German Films, Palace presents the 2023 German Film Festival with a stunning film lineup including key selections direct from the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival (The Berlinale), a music-themed retrospective, a focus on female filmmakers and the family sidebar Kino for Kids. 

Simone Baumann, Managing Director of German Films said “We are very happy to continue our successful cooperation with Palace for the German Film Festival 2023 and we hope that our Australian viewers will appreciate great films.”

Opening the 2023 festival is the new film from BALLOON director Michael ‘Bully’ Herbig A THOUSAND LINES (Tausend Zeilen), an exciting drama based on true events. Festival favourites Elyas M’Barek and Jonas Nay deliver star performances as journalists in a story based on the real-life 2018 fake news scandal involving a disgraced Der Spiegel journalist.

The Festival Centrepiece, direct from its Berlinale world premiere, is THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE (Das Lehrerzimmer) starring European rising star Leonie Benesch (Babylon Berlin). The tense drama centres on a dedicated, idealistic teacher who is pushed to the brink when she investigates a series of thefts at her new school.

In the sidebar Frauen Am Werk: Focus on Female Directors, the talents of Germany and Switzerland’s women in film are showcased in eleven incredible films from dramas, to documentaries and comedies. The two Special Presentations previously announced,       SISI & I (Sisi & Ich) the wild reinterpretation of the “Sisi” myth starring Sandra Hüller and stylish biopic INGEBORG BACHMANN – JOURNEY INTO THE DESERT (Ingeborg Bachmann – Reise in die Wüste), both have women at the helm with the latter directed by the legendary Margarethe von Trotta.

Set in 1989 in Berlin, IN A LAND THAT NO LONGER EXISTS (In einem Land, das es nicht mehr gibt) is based on director Aelrun Goette’s own experiences as a model in the German Democratic Republic during such a pivotal time. Similarly, WWII drama LOST TRANSPORT is also inspired by true events and explores the unexpected friendship that emerges after a chance encounter between three very different women of diverse backgrounds. 

Directed by Anika Decker and starring Elyas M’Barek (also in A THOUSAND LINES) and Alexandra Maria Lara is entertaining romcom LOVE THING (Liebesdings). On the run from the media and his own past, Germany’s biggest movie star dives into a campaign to save a small feminist theatre. Swiss box office hit comedy GOLDEN YEARS (Die goldenen Jahre) follows newly retired Alice and Peter who must face their pent-up marital problems that bubble to the surface on a cruise through the Mediterranean.

Emily Atef’s seductive drama SOMEDAY WE’LL TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING (Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen) is set in 1990 during a warm summer in Thuringia in the former East Germany and follows a young woman who begins a relationship with a charismatic middle-aged farmer.

FRANKY FIVE STAR from Birgit Möller is a quirky dramatic comedy with newcomer Lena Urzendowsky playing Franky, who struggles with her multiple personalities. In her world, she has a hotel in her head, inhabited by four weird but lovable characters who can switch into her body in the real world by using the elevator. 

The two documentaries in the lineup are also directed by women, the very apt MERKEL and music film FCK 2020 – TWO AND A HALF YEARS WITH SCOOTER (FCK 2020  -Zweieinhalb Jahre mit Scooter). Driven by extensive archive material and incisive interviews, Eva Weber’s MERKEL is the astonishing story of how a triple political outsider – a woman, a scientist, and an East German – became Germany’s first female chancellor. Cordula Kablitz-Post’s FCK 2020 – TWO AND A HALF YEARS WITH SCOOTER is a success story of a different kind as it follows Germany’s undisputed techno superstars Scooter and their eccentric front man H.P Baxxter in the two and a half years since 2020.

Music is a common thread that also flows through this year’s festival Retrospective Music, Art and Chaos: A Sonic Transmission from Berlin. A filmic journey into the West Berlin New Wave music scene, it showcases the pioneers of the period and the cultural influences that reverberated through a generation. B-MOVIE: LUST & SOUND IN WEST BERLIN 1979-1989 is a blistering documentary that fuses unreleased film footage and original interviews, including Mark Reeder, Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld, Nena, Joy Division and Gudrun Gut to reveal the story of life in the divided city.

The retrospective also includes cult classic CHRISTIANE F. remastered in 4K, based on a true story about an aimless 14-year-old girl who falls into the drug scene in West Berlin in the 1970s and starring David Bowie as himself; DECODERinfused with disenfranchised youth culture of the early 80s, meshes neon drenched visuals and urban industrial aesthetics; and LIEBESLIEDER: EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN captures rare footage, interviews with band members and concert performances of the renowned industrial band from 1980 to 1993 on low-fi analogue equipment of the time. 

Rounding out the fabulous collection of Berlin focused films is the multi award-winning WINGS OF DESIRE from Wim Wenders. Two angels glide through the streets of Berlin, providing invisible rays of hope to the distressed but never interacting with them. When one falls in love, he longs to experience life in the physical world.

From the Austrian Cinema selection is the touching WWII drama THE FOX (Der Fuchs) featuring a standout performance from newcomer Simon Morzé as a member of the Austrian Army who finds friendship with a young fox cub; ALMA AND OSKAR  (Alma und Oskar) a historical romantic drama set in 1912 that follows the torrid love affair between Viennese grand dame Alma Mahler and expressionist artist Oskar Kokoschka, the Enfant Terrible of Vienna’s art scene; and quirky fairytale-like drama FIRST SNOW OF SUMMER (Sterne unter der Stadt) a playful Vienna-set urban love story.  

Films from Switzerland in this year’s festival include the previously mentioned box office hit GOLDEN YEARS (Die goldenen Jahre) and intense drama AND TOMORROW WE WILL BE DEAD (Und morgen seid ihr tot) based on incredible true events from 2011, when two Swiss citizens were kidnapped and held hostage by the Taliban whilst travelling along the Silk Road.

Other superb features included in the new German Cinema stream include the Silver Bear winner for Best Supporting Performance by transgender actor Thea Ehre in TILL THE END OF THE NIGHT (Bis ans Ende der Nacht). A smart, subtle blend of genre and auteur cinema, undercover cop Robert is supposed to gain the trust of a drug dealer by faking a relationship. Plus WHAT YOU CAN SEE FROM HERE (Was man von hier aus sehen kann) a whimsical drama set in a small village of eccentric characters who have their lives upended when a premonition occurs, starring Corinna Harfouch and Karl Markovics.

THE PEACOCK (Der Pfau) an all-star ensemble featuring Tom Schilling, David Kross and Jürgen Vogel adapts Isabel Bogdan’s bestselling novel in this variation of the classic crime comedy set on a Scottish country estate; Sci-fi body swap drama SKIN DEEP (Aus meiner Haut) is a sophisticated exploration of relationships and gender identity; and AXIOM a chilling character study which follows a museum attendant who invites his colleagues on a sailing trip aboard his aristocratic family’s boat where cracks soon appear.

Closing this year’s festival is the female led drama OVER & OUT, a unique take on a female friendship story. Directed by Julia Becker, it focuses on four lifelong friends who vowed to celebrate their weddings together 26 years ago but when one of them invites the others to Italy, a chaotic road trip ensues.

The Goethe-Institut is pleased to present the popular sidebar “Kino for Kids”, films especially curated for children, teens and families.

This year’s programme includes: 

ALFONS JITTERBIT – CLASS TRIP CHAOS! (Alfons Zitterbacke – Endlich Klassenfahrt!)
Flying macaroni with tomato sauce, exciting nights around the campfire and a suitcase mix up turn a class trip to the Baltic Sea into one that Alfons and his friends will never forget.

MY LIFE AS LOTTA – OKEY DOKEY ALPACA! (Mein Lotta-Leben – Alles Tschaka mit Alpaka!)
Full of friendship, communal spirit, mysterious puzzles and lots of fun dialogue, this family comedy follows Lotta on her adventures of her first school trip, based on the best-selling book series of the same name.

ONE IN A MILLION
A coming-of-age documentary about success and loneliness in the age of social media, friendship, first love, coming out as queer and having the courage to find your voice.

SCHOOL OF MAGICAL ANIMALS 2 (Die Schule der magischen Tiere 2)
The most popular German film of 2022, this live-action-adventure sequel returns us to Winterstein School for its 250thanniversary, where the students and their magical animals are rehearsing a musical to celebrate. 

THE ROBBER HOTZENPLOTZ(Der Räuber Hotzenplotz)
In this remake of Otfried Preußler’s classic children’s book, Kasperl and his friend Seppel set out on an adventure to retrieve his grandmother’s stolen coffee grinder.

Press Release

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