Walter Mencken 1 p.m., May 1
German Currents Film Festival at year two
The ceiling of MoPA's Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theatre will cast its twinkle light on a crop of San Diego premiers when the museum once again plays host to the German Currents Film Festival.
The sensational news is 75% of the festival's lineup will be shown in 35mm. The sad news is there are only four features. Quantity is never an indication of quality and there's no evidence of a sophomore slump at this year's fest. (The schedule is mighty enticing, but there were no Region 1 screeners and I have not had a chance to see any of the films in advance.) And let's be grateful that MoPA's well-stocked projection booth is not getting cobwebs.
Thanks go out to the German American Chamber of Commerce California, Inc, the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, and the Berlin and Beyond Film Festival for helping to bring the German Currents Film Festival to San Diego.
The festival kicks off on Saturday night at 6:30pm with Combat Girls (Kriegerin), the tale of a 20-year-old lass who blames everyone and everything around her for the collapse of German society. What else is there for a young disillusioned gal to do but get a tattoo and become a party girl? Unfortunately it's the neo-Nazi party and the ink is a portrait of Adolf Hitler she's thinking of getting. Tension heightens when one of the pack accidentally befriends a young Afghan refugee. Word on Adams Ave. in Normal Heights is Combat Girls is favored to be Germany's submission in this year's best foreign language Oscar race.
Alina Levshin, who garnered Best Actress awards for Combat Girls at the German Film Awards and the Sao Paulo International Film Festival, will attend the Opening Night gala and participate in a post-show Q&A.
Westwind (Sunday at 1:30pm) is set in 1988, one year before the Berlin Wall came down. Teenage twins Doreen and Isabel are Olympic hopefuls training in the Soviet satellite state of Hungary where Arne falls for a young West German man. According to German Current's notes, "Confronted with the first real instance of possible rupture in their relationship, and with the reality that the divided Germany of their entire upbringing is about to radically change, Doreen and Isabel find themselves looking ahead to an uncertain future and the most momentous decision of their lives."
Hans-Christian Schmid's Home for the Weekend (Was Bleibt) presents Marko, an author living apart from his estranged wife and five-year-old son. A trip to the countryside for the boy to visit his grandparents is thwarted by news that grandma has decided to abruptly halt her regimen of anti-depressants. Other family members are less than understanding, but Marko "supports his mother in her desire to emerge from the shadows and become a full member of the family." The film, nominated for a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, screens Sunday at 4:00pm.
The festival rings down the curtain on its second year Sunday at 7pm with Christian Schwochow's Cracks in the Shell (Die Unsichtbare). It's a modern day reworking of Camille told through the eyes of an insecure actress chosen by a renown stage director to play the lead role. "As Camille, Stine Fischer Christensen discovers her femininity, but heads down a dangerous path; Camille is not only self-conscious and sexually hyperactive, but also fragile and self-destructive. Her immersion into her role as Camille and the direction she receives from an obsessive and unconventional theatre director, lead to a powerful confrontation and self-revelation."
Tickets for the opening night film and reception are $30.00. All other films are $14, students and seniors $12. Click more information.
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