PORTLAND GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL – Monthly Film Series
In our Monthly Film Series, we will show a variety of GERMAN or GERMAN language films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. On the 2nd Wednesday of each month, audiences will now have a chance to see these films on a regular basis at the CLINTON STREET THEATER. (Children movies will be playing on Sunday afternoons – please check our website.) All films are with English subtitles.
The young Empress Sissi is staying at the Godolle Palace in Hungary with her little daughter and some court people. Here she can be herself, liberated from all the strict court rules in Austria. She spends her days with Count Andrassy, riding in the woods. At a ball in his castle he declares his love for her. Because of this Sissi feels forced to break her relationship with him, and moves back to Vienna. It is soon discovered that she is seriously ill with tuberculosis. Dr. Seeburger doesn’t think she will survive the winter, but a change of climate might help. After some months on Madeira Sissi’s illness is even worse. Her mother, Duchess Ludovika, then decides to go to Madeira to help Sissi recapture the joy of life. When Dr. Seeburger examines Sissy at Corfu some weeks later, he finds her fully recovered. The Austrian ministers suggest that Emperor Franz Joseph should combine his reunion with Sissi with an official visit to Lombardy-Venetia. Austria is much hated there, but needs a good relationship with this country. The ministers think that Sissi can bring forth a miraculous change of sentiments in Lombardy-Venetia, just as she did in Hungary.
This is the third and last part of the SISSI trilogy.
Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker (Gunner Palace, The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair) take a powerfully personal journey through the former East Germany, as Epperlein investigates her father’s 1999 suicide and the possibility that he may have worked as a spy for the dreaded Stasi security service.
Invasions of our privacy have become widespread, with hidden cameras, hacked phones, and leaked emails. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from the most surveilled society in history, the German Democratic Republic. By its collapse in 1989, the state fielded 92,000 officers and had used perhaps 500,000 informants to report on its citizens over the previous four decades. This eerily fascinating, highly personal film from Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker — the pair whose Gunner Palace, The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair, and How to Fold a Flag have all screened at the Festival — transports us back to the GDR during those Cold War years, when the capacity to trust one’s neighbours was systematically eroded.
A popular East German theory had it that if three people sat together, at least one was an informant. Could one of those informers have been Epperlein’s own father? Epperlein was born in Karl Marx City (now Chemnitz). She left once the Wall came down, but the rest of her family stayed behind. Her father took his own life in 1999, leaving only a brief and cryptic letter. Over the course of Karl Marx City, we see Epperlein journey through the former GDR in search of clues as to whether her father was driven to suicide by guilt over having worked for the Stasi (Ministry for State Security). Epperlein interviews family and friends. She visits a Stasi prison and the sprawling Stasi archives, which contain 111 kilometres of files on over 17 million people.
Elegantly incorporating actual surveillance recordings and Stasi-produced propaganda, Karl Marx City offers a glimpse of what it was like to live in a world where privacy was vanquished and suspicion ubiquitous. This chilling synthesis of memoir and history speaks directly to our times, when our most intimate secrets or embarrassing photos can go viral in an instant.
(© Toronto International Film Festival Inc. 2016)
The non-fiction author Walter falls for the physics student Agnes. He is fascinated by her extreme attitude towards life and her reserved appearance, which is quite the opposite of his quiet and regular life. When Agnes encourages him to follow his passion for writing fiction, he starts to work on a book, a portrait of how he sees her.
The fictional story and their real love story mutually reinforce one another. They experience wonderfully careless days. As Walter starts writing about the future, Agnes becomes his creation. He is irritated, however, because Agnes follows the picture he draws of her in real life. Initially, this game with fire ignites their passion – until he realises that she lives in the fiction and not in reality. Events turn over, and Walter discovers that there can only be one ending to the story – but this ending could cost their relationship and even Agnes’ life.
A film based on the famous book by Swiss writer Peter Stamm, which was translated into more than 20 languages.