REVIEW: Yella [2007]

“I want you to love me again” There’s a glimmer of hope in Yella Fichte’s (Nina Hoss) eye when things finally seem to be going in the right direction. She’s earned a new job starting the day after tomorrow, one that should fill her empty bank account and lead her towards prosperity. But before she […]

REVIEW: Gespenster [Ghosts] [2005]

“And I walked towards the music” Three women caught in disparate existential crises are converging in Christian Petzold‘s Gespenster [Ghosts] to seek answers despite reality only supplying opportunity to exacerbate their already volatile shortcomings. Nina (Julia Hummer) is a late-teen orphan hopeful to discover an avenue towards a brighter future that will assist her in […]

REVIEW: Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel] [1930]

“Beware of blondes. They’re special, every one.” It was interesting to discover Josef von Sternberg‘s career started in Hollywood, directing many late-silent era pictures. I assumed the Austrian-born auteur began in Europe because he was the man behind the camera for Germany’s first feature-length talkie, Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel]. But his helming it […]

REVIEW: Die innere Sicherheit [The State I Am In] [2001]

“She’s translating menus now too” With his theatrical debut Die innere Sicherheit [The State I Am In], German writer/director Christian Petzold proves his most recent pair of Barbara and Phoenix were born from a mind that had always been ready to tell stories of personal emotional strife within complex circumstances. The way in which he […]

REVIEW: Toni Erdmann [2016]

“That was real fear” I wasn’t sure what to think upon realizing it was Maren Ade who directed Toni Erdmann, the wild comedy that took Cannes by storm. Her previous film Alle Anderen was very much a drama—a fantastic one at that—and this switch brought intrigue. Now that I’ve finally seen it, however, it’s easy […]

SUNDANCE17 REVIEW: Axolotl Overkill [2017]

“Can you drown in the gene pool?” Playwright, author, screenwriter, and director Helene Hegemann has said (through her publisher) that, “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.” The words were spoken after her debut novel Axolotl Roadkill earned critical praise, a spot as a finalist for a major book award, and multiple, potentially […]

REVIEW: Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle [The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser] [1974]

“I want to be a gallant rider like my father was before me” If any true story of mystery and perhaps madness were to align itself with Werner Herzog‘s sensibilities, that of young Kaspar Hauser is it. Here was a seventeen-year old boy found standing in Nuremburg clutching a note addressed to the cavalry captain. […]

REVIEW: Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes [Aguirre, Wrath of God] [1972]

“Meat is floating by” Talk about the heart of darkness. It’s completely unsurprising that Francis Ford Coppola would admit to using Werner Herzog‘s Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes [Aguirre, the Wrath of God] as inspiration for his Apocalypse Now because they epitomize the stark moral depravity of warped conquering “heroes”. The quiet rage underlying every action […]

REVIEW: Oh Boy [A Coffee in Berlin] [2012]

“Are you still serving coffee?” German Academy Award-sweeping Oh Boy [A Coffee in Berlin] is a day in the life of a Berliner slacker named Niko Fischer (Tom Schilling). He’s a law school dropout that’s been living off the thousand-dollar-a-week allowance his father continuously supplies under the auspices that it’s being used for college. He […]

REVIEW: Der Himmel über Berlin [Wings of Desire] [1987]

“Why am I me, and why not you?” What does it mean to be human? This is the question the Angel Damiel (Bruno Ganz) wonders from his eternal perch on high surveying, subtly steering, and always listening. He sees humanity’s joy and laughter, jealous of their ability to live, feel, and touch. Even amongst the […]

REVIEW: Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage [Faust] [1926]

“The greatest miracle of all is man’s freedom to choose between good and evil” Director F.W. Murnau left Germany with a bang thanks to his big budget visual masterpiece Faust. Adapted like so many other versions from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s classic take (Gerhart Hauptmann and Hans Kyser provide the titles), this rendition sets itself […]