Sunday, September 23, 2007

There's something about new German films

As far as a good travel narrative, this forthcoming ramble may be a little dissatisfying. However, some film buffs that read my blog may take interest. There's something about new German films.
OK, it's not an across-the-board issue I have, it's pretty half-and-half. However, the bad half is, well, horrid. Here's the issue: the non-ending.
Now, there seems to be a stereotype here about how Germans like non-endings and Americans can't stand them; we want more of a fist-in-the-air closure at the end of our films, apparently. And, maybe, I'm a little guilty of that myself. But I also consider myself a fan of the slow, silent European film, and my tolerance for dangling is quite high. However.
We watched some very good movies, don't get me wrong. We watched a movie that was half German and half Romanian called Offset that was excellent, the kind of movie that you think about the next day without meaning to. We watched Elementarteilchen (Elementary Particles), a film based on a Michel Houellebecq novel, and a movie about anarchism in East Germany called Was Tun, Wenn's Brennt (What To Do In Case Of Fire), both of which sometimes wandered, but both worth watching. And, of course, we watched Goodbye, Lenin and Der Krieger und die Kaiserin (The Princess and the Warrior), which are both wonderful. We haven't yet watched Lola Rennt again, but we probably will. The Berliners seem particularly taken with that film, as they are with Goodbye, Lenin, and I think I know why. They have endings!
Here are some movies we watched that had no ending: Milchwald, Montag Kommen die Fenster, and, to a lesser degree, Berlin is in Germany. That last, though it had a rather soft ending, still left me feeling sort of satisfied in an "I just watched a movie" kind of way. The previous two, however, left me feeling like I was staring at a blank wall for two hours, with not even the shadows changing. They both had pretty cinematic moments, but for the most part didn't work hard enough to leave off as emptily as they did.
On a positive note, watching all these German movies has helped with my language acquisition! I've refused to watch anything in the English language, and we always watch the films with subtitles on, either English if the dialogue is particulary fast or difficult, or German if the language is simpler and we're feeling a little more exuberant. It's very helpful.
This weekend we wandered through a large chunk of the city, but I'll save my tales of that until I can put the pictures up, too. It occured to me that I've only been really showing images of sort of touristy places with castles and churches and happy clouds, so lately I've been trying to get pictures of what's more like the real Berlin, pictures of places that real people go and not just the sightseeing crowd. It'll be a whole new side of Berlin for the home audience. And also for me.


CLAY BANES said...

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it will be further enlightening to see everyday people doing everyday things. I remember when you took the photo of a Moscow resident looking at some apples for sale on the street. It was great!! More more..
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heather m. said...

i must have seen Run Lola Run at least 5 times when it was in the theaters in berkeley! can't help but to love it. and i just recently, actually, saw Goodbye, Lenin!
a few others worth mentioning are the Edukators, Metropolis, M, and the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
So proud of you, katie, for your german-speak. when nat and i were in nurnberg a few years back, i also found written words extremely helpful. i've always heard that americans speak fast, but i think it's just that everyone else speaking a different language than you does ;)
carry on!

p.s.) how did your job interviews go?