A HEAVY HEART
HERBERT
2015, 109 min, Germany, Dir: Thomas Stuber

Former East German boxing champion Herbert Stamm (Peter Kurth) is an abrasive, tattooed heavyweight now scraping by as a bouncer and debt collector for a local gangster. After he suddenly collapses and is diagnosed with ALS, Herbert realizes his time is limited. Longing to correct his past mistakes, Herbert reaches out to his estranged daughter (Lena Lauzemis), now a mother herself. This reversal of the classic up-and-coming boxer narrative is elevated by Kurth’s powerful portrayal of aggression and vulnerability, as well as cinematographer Peter Matjasko’s gritty depiction of Leipzig’s underbelly. In German with English subtitles.


IF NOT US, WHO?
WER WENN NICHT WIR
2011, Senator Film, 124 min, Germany, Dir: Andres Veiel

For fans of THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX, this is a must-see. Chronicling the decadelong relationship (which produced son Felix) between radical-left poster girl Gudrun Ensslin (a terrific Lena Lauzemis) and writer Bernward Vesper (August Diehl), director Andres Veiel gets inside the mindset of a divided Berlin teeming with radical change. As the increasingly left-wing Vesper struggles with mixed feelings for his father, one of Hitler's favorite writers during the Nazi regime, and as Ensslin slowly but steadily transforms from a wide-eyed co-ed to a steely revolutionary, the incendiary couple's stormy personal life evolves in constantly unpredictable directions. Vesper is saddled with trying to honor his father's deathbed wish to have his writings favored by the fascists republished in a changed early 1960s Germany. Winner of both the Alfred Bauer Award and Prize of the Guild of German Arthouse Cinemas, and nominated for the Golden Bear, at the Berlin International Film Festival 2011. In German with English subtitles.


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