German titles trot the globe

Local film hitting screens at local fests

BERLIN — Germany’s top cinematic contributions of the past year are unspooling around the globe as Teutonic film fests spring up in major international cities throughout November and December.

From New York to London, Moscow, Copenhagen and Stockholm, German films are hitting screens at local fests as part of a campaign headed by promotional org German Films in cooperation with the Goethe Institute.

In London, the Festival of German Film is celebrating its 10th year from Nov. 23-29 at the Curzon Soho, the Goethe Institute and the Institute of Contemporary Arts. This year’s lineup includes opening film “Eight Miles High,” Achim Bornhak’s biopic about hippie nymph extraordinaire Uschi Obermaier, who became the embodiment of sexual freedom in 1960s Germany.

Chris Kraus’ German Film Award-winning prison drama “Four Minutes,” about an elderly piano teacher who trains a talented but violent young convict at a women’s penitentiary, closes the fest, which unspools 19 pics.

A special showcase dedicated to thesp Ulrich Muehe (“The Lives of Others”), who died earlier this year of cancer, will screen at the Goethe Institute as part of the fest.

In Moscow, the sixth Festival of German Films (Dec. 5-9) kicks off with Martin Gypkens’ episodic drama “Nothing but Ghosts.” Among the nine features unspooling at the fest are Robert Thalheim’s “And Along Come Tourists,” about a young Teuton coming to terms with Germany’s past while doing a year of social service in the Polish town of Auschwitz, Fatih Akin’s foreign-language Oscar hopeful “The Edge of Heaven” and “An die grenze,” Urs Egger’s fact-based TV pic about young East German soldiers guarding the border to West Germany in early 1970s.

Some of those titles will also unspool as part of the German Films Go North! — Fourth Festival of German Films in Scandinavia taking place in Copenhagen (Nov. 26-29) and Stockholm (Dec. 6-9).

Also screening in Copenhagen are Elke Hauck’s relationship drama “Karger,” about a small-town steelworker dealing with the breakup of his marriage and the loss of his job, and “The Red Elvis,” Leopold Gruen’s docu about the late Colorado pop singer Dean Reed, who found fame and fortune as a socialist folksinger in East Germany.

Stefan Ruzowitzky’s World War II drama “The Counterfeiters,” a German-Austrian co-production and Austria’s candidate for the foreign language Oscar, opens the fest in Stockholm.

Also showing are Ingo Rasper’s laffer “Reine geschmacksache,” about a sales rep whose life begins to crack when his teenage son comes out of the closet and has an affair with one of his biggest business rivals; and Doris Doerrie’s “How to Cook Your Life,” about San Francisco Zen master, chef and author Edward Espe Brown.

In New York, the Kino! 2007, which ran Nov. 1-14 at the Museum of Modern Art, just wrapped after screening titles such as “And Along Come Tourists”; Maria Speth’s “Madonnas,” about a troubled young mother unable to take care of her five children; and “Yella,” Christian Petzold’s drama about an eastern German woman who moves to western Germany to start a new life.

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