April 16 – 18, 1999

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American Cinematheque presents...


Sponsored by the German Film Export-Union

Presented in Association with the Goethe Institut – German Cultural Center


Series Compiled by Gwen Deglise. Short Film program compiled by Andrew P. Crane.


Special Thanks To: Christian Dorsch and Brigitte Hubmann/GERMAN FILM EXPORT-UNION; Margit Kleinman and Claudia Volkmar-Clark/GOETHE INSTITUT –LOS ANGELES; Corina Danckwerts/CAPTURE FILM & TV; TC Rice /STRATOSPHERE FILMS; Sabine Strobe/PROGRESS FILM; Michael Weber/BAVARIA FILM INTERNATIONAL.

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After a two year hiatus, our annual survey of the most innovative and challenging New German Films returns – with one of our strongest programs ever, featuring the dazzling comedy BANDITS from director Katja von Garnier (whose breakout hit ABGESCHMINKT! screened in our ’94 series.) One of Germany’s most talented (and outspoken) directors and actors Dani Levy returns with MESCHUGGE, a stunning thriller about two seemingly-unrelated crimes against Jewish families in Germany and New York. Plus a program of short films from some of Germany’s freshest new talents, including Christian Wagner, who has directed two previous features (WALLER’S LAST WALK and TRANSATLANTIC).

We’re very pleased to welcome directors Dani Levy, Katja von Garnier and

Hans-Christian Schmid, and actress Katja Riemann to the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian for this series!

Friday, April 16 – 7:00 PM

Los Angeles Premiere!

BANDITS, 1997, Stratosphere, 104 min, Dir. Katja Von Garnier. The latest film from Germany’s hottest young director is a sexy, high-spirited comedy about four women from the rock band "Bandits"- who all happen to be in prison. En route to perform at a Policeman’s Ball, the girls break out and head north towards freedom, with the cops in pursuit. On the run they become cult figures. A very wild and unpredictable musical film starring one of Germany’s top actresses Katja Riemann and the former lead singer of the band Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jasmine Tabatabai. Discussion following with director Katja von Garnier and actress Katja Riemann.

Friday, April 16 – 9:30 PM

DIE APOTHEKERIN (THE PHARMACIST), 1997, Progress Film, 103 min. A sly, wickedly surprising thriller from director Rainer Kaufmann, THE PHARMACIST stars Katja Riemann as a lonely 30 year old druggist who uses her well-stocked medicine cabinet to fulfill her dreams of a family life in strange and murderous ways. Don’t miss this (literally) killer black comedy - ! Discussion following with actress Katja Riemann.

Saturday, April 17 – 4:00 PM

FEUERREITER, 1997, Progress Film, 132 min, Dir. Nina Grosse. Set in 1796, FEUERREITER is a sumptuous, sweeping epic about the passionate life of young Romantic poet Friedrich Höderling (Martin Feifel). While writing his famous Hyperion, Höderling finds himself torn between his obsessive passion for Susette (played by leading French actress Marianne Denicourt) and the desires of his former lover, Baron Isaac von Sinclair.

Saturday, April 17 – 6:30 PM

MESCHUGGE, (THE GIRAFFE), 1998, Bavaria Film International, 103 min, Dir. Dani Levy. The arson-related fire at a Jewish chocolate factory in Germany and the mysterious death of an elderly Jewish woman in New York bring together Lena Katz (Maria Schrader), granddaughter of the factory owner and David Fish (Dani Levy), son of the dead woman. Digging deeper into their own histories, the pair discover an insidious crime that has linked their families for generations. Discussion following with director Dani Levy.

Saturday, April 17 – 9:15 PM

Double feature!

KURZ UND SCHMERZLOS (SHORT SHARP SHOCK), 1998, Bavaria Film International,100 min. The explosive first feature from 24 year old director Fatih Akin is a German BOYZ ‘N THE HOOD -- fresh out of prison, Gabriel the Turk (Mehmet Kurtulus) wants to start a new life but finds it hard to steer clear of trouble in Hamburg when his former gang friends collide with a ruthless Albanian mobster.

NACHTGESTALTEN (NIGHT SHAPES), 1998, Bavaria Fim International,104 min, Dir: Andreas Dresen. A bitter, hard-edged comedy set in modern Berlin on the night the Pope is in town, NIGHT SHAPES follows a cross-section of drifters and dreamers: the homeless Hanna and Victor, who suddenly find themselves with a 100 mark note and no hotel room; Peschke the businessman (Michael Gwisdek) stuck at the airport babysitting a forgotten boy; and the sweet-natured Jochen, staking his hopes on an impossible relationship with a young prostitute.

Sunday, April 18 – 4:00 PM

23, 1998, Bavaria Film International, 99 min. With August Diehl. The latest film from director Hans-Christian Schmid, 23 is a mindblowing hybrid of the indie hit ? and THE FALCON & THE SNOWMAN -- set in the mid-1980’s, when a clandestine group of young computer hackers in Germany were beginning tosurf the net, breaking into Pentagon security systems and the computer banks at German atomic energy plants. Fueled by the mystic symbolism in a book called ILLUMINATA (which claims there is a world beneath this, revealed in elaborate numerological clues), the hackers venture further and further into the shadow-zone between technology and reality. Based on a true story. Discussion following with director Hans-Christian Schmid.

Sunday, April 18 – 6:30 PM

NEUE VISIONS: Recent German Shorts

Dmitri Popov’s "Nighthawks" (15 min.) In homage to Edward Hopper’s painting, we are transported to the set of a John Huston film, circa 1947. Complications arise both in front of and behind the camera. Karsten Fiebeler's "Raoul’s Tango" (5 min.) Not another Carlos Saura film, but a sadder more embittered look at this lauded dance. Christian Wagner’s "Zita" (25 min.) Set in a rural corner of Germany, a Croatian refugee finds herself enmeshed in a couple’s disastrous marriage. Grand Jury Special Prize at the Torino (Italy) International Film Festival. S. Peterson’s "Fake" (12 min.) A satirical look at all the hard-boiled men and women from the world of Noir. Ludger Hoffacker’s "Brunnen" (10 min.) An exquisitely, beautiful mood piece. Relax and let go! Ludger Dreinmann’s "Vater" (13 min.) Starring Alfred Kleinheinz, a powerful story of the cycle of destiny, which passes from father to son. Bernhard Landen’s "Killer" (15 min.) This stylish, very polished film is a hired killer’s worst nightmare come to life.