Monday, January 30, 2006

German Cinema is not all Angst and Expressionism

Tomorrow is a big day in my world. The 2006 Academy Award nominations are being announced. Because I have an opinion about everything (really, I do, ask my mom), I have some predictions to post. But before I get to that, I wanted to mention that in our usual weekend DVD rental the German and I did not rent a single English movie. We rented 3 German movies. We NEVER do that. And you know what . . . they were pretty good.

First, Maenner Wie Wir (Men Like Us) is the story about a gay soccer team. Ecki, is a 20 year old (or about), young gay man who inadvertently comes out to his soccer team. After being thrown off the team, he travels to Dortmund to put together a team of only gay men to play against his old team. It is a story of gaining respect and defining who you really are. It is also very funny.

Second, Kebab Connection Kebab Connection is about a young Turkish man (Ibo) who wants to make German Kung Fu movies (his pitch to a producer is hilarious!). When his German girlfriend turns up pregnant, he is faced with the prospect of having to "be a grown up." The movie presents many of the cultural differences between Turks and Germans, and how it can lead to tension and many laughs. The movie is a bit fluffy (it has a typical Hollywood ending) and the theme could be more fully explored, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Also, you will be singing "Everybody was kung fu fighting" for hours.

Finally, Barfuss (Barefoot) is subtitled: "How far would you go if you were in love?" I liked this movie the best. It was written, directed, and stars Germany's answer to George Clooney, Til Schweiger. He is very cute and a good actor. Til Schweiger spent many years in Hollywood but could not break into the American market. Unfortunately good actors with accented English often become "character actors." In Barfuss, Nick Keller (Til Schweiger) is kind of a loser who drifts from one job to the next and has broken contact with his family. Fate gives him a job at a mental institution. After he saves the life of a disturbed girl, Leila (Johanna Wokalek), she decideds not to leave his side. She follows him as he travels to Hamburg for the wedding of his younger brother. I thought this movie was cute, but a bit long. Some of the scenes could have been edited better. The German also like the movie, but I think that is because it also has his favorite secret celebrity crush, Alexandra Neldel. Alexandra Neldel also stars in a soap called "Verliebt in Berlin," which the German secretly watches.

My goodness, I have not even gotten to predictions, and I am already exhausted. Well, it is 10:49pm here and I have had a seriously LONG day. Some exciting things are happening career wise and personally (NO I AM NOT PREGNANT). So I tell you what, I will skip the predictions and go to bed. However, I will get up bright and early and respond to the nominations as well as fill you in on all the other happenings in the land of Sauerkraut and Mercedes.

PS I am saddened to read about the death of the amazing Wendy Wasserstein.

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