Last week, Glam sat down with Bettina Kinski, the national coordinator of the German Film Festival, to talk about the upcoming festival, the films that should be on your radar and the cultural importance of the festival.
“A festival such as the German film festival is a place to meet, to create a space for communities for the German community, but also to invite Australians and other people to learn about our culture, to learn about our history, to maybe even learn the language. It’s a great chance to learn about others cultures and to get closer to each other.”
This is also a special year for the festival as it marks the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, as Bettina explained.
“As you might know, we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall this year. So this is why we picked the opening night film Balloon. It’s about two East German families and is based on a true story. They sewed together a hot air balloon in their cellars and they tried to escape to the west during the Cold War. We also have a special program planned this year called Tear Down The Walls, which is co-presented by the German Embassy Canberra and showcases feature films that look back at the GDR and how life was.“
Whilst on the topic of German history, another one of the festival highlights is The Captain, a bleak anti-war film about a German soldier who impersonated a captain in the last days of the second world war.
“The second world war is of course, still and should be still a big topic for us Germans and we still need to keep producing films about [it] in order to not forget. It shows the atrocities of war and it shows the absurdities of war.
It also shall make people think about what happened and what can happen. It also raises the question, what happens if people put on costumes or uniforms? And what kind of effect does it have on you if I’m wearing a uniform now? “
And what are Bettina’s personal recommendations for this year’s festival?
“When it comes to comedies my favourite pick is absolutely 25/km/h. It’s about two brothers that meet again after years of estrangement at their father’s funeral and at the end of the day, they kind of drunkenly decide to realise an old boyhood dream, which is taking their mopeds and riding from the Black Forrest to the Baltic Sea. And it’s a truly fun film.”
“I find Styx is a very strong film, it’s multi-awarded. It’s about a medico who goes on a solo voyage across the open Atlantic in a sailboat. And then one day, she comes across a sinking boat of refugees and this changes everything. And it’s a very powerful film that doesn’t have a lot of dialogue, film score or music. It’s a film about the personal responsibility of each one of us in the face of the refugee crisis, which is still of course, an ongoing and huge topic.“
“And then we have Mack the Knife – Brecht’s Threepenny Film, which is our special event film, it is one of my highlights as well.”
” And then of course Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus, because that’s another anniversary we’re celebrating. I’m super happy that a lot of people are very interested in watching this documentary because people are not always likely to to watch documentaries in a cinema. “
The German Film Festival is currently running at PalaceNova Eastend and Prospect
Interviewed by Jordan Ellis