NEVER LOOK AWAY
WERK OHNE AUTOR
2018, Sony Pictures Classics, 188 min, Dir: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

“I wanted to explore human creativity and how it can be that some people take traumatic events of their lives and turn it into beautiful art,” said writer-director Henckel von Donnersmarck (THE LIVES OF OTHERS) of this portrait of an artist inspired by painter Gerhard Richter. Spanning three eras of German history, NEVER LOOK AWAY tells the story of young art student Kurt (Tom Schilling), who falls in love with fellow student Ellie (Paula Beer). Ellie's father, Professor Seeband (Sebastian Koch), a famous doctor, is dismayed at his daughter's choice of boyfriend and vows to destroy the relationship. What neither of them knows is that their lives are already connected through a terrible crime Seeband committed decades ago. Befitting its artistic theme, Caleb Deschanel’s cinematography and Max Richter’s score provide a rich burnish to the film.


WHO AM I – NO SYSTEM IS SAFE
WHO AM I – KEIN SYSTEM IST SICHER
2014, 110 min, Germany, Dir: Baran bo Odar

Young Berlin computer whiz Ben (Tom Schilling) feels more at home in the virtual world than he does in the real one. When the charismatic and revolutionary hacker Max (Elyas M’Barek) asks Ben to put his skills to use and “hack the world,” they form the collective “CLAY” (Clowns Laughing at You). Instead of lofty political goals, the group shocks the world with humor and guerrilla-style pranks. As the team’s popularity drives them to take bigger, bolder risks, they soon attract the attention of the German Secret Service. Just as Ben begins to feel as if he finally belongs somewhere, he’s forced to figure out how to escape not only from law enforcement but from his dangerous new friends. This stylish, surprising and exceptionally timely cyber-thriller moves seamlessly between the real and the virtual, leaving the audience guessing long after the film is over. In German with English subtitles.


OH BOY
2012, Music Box Films, 83 min, Germany, Dir: Jan-Ole Gerster

Jan Ole Gerster's wry and vibrant feature debut OH BOY, which swept the 2013 German Film Awards, paints a day in the life of Niko, a twenty-something college dropout going nowhere fast. Niko lives for the moment as he drifts through the streets of Berlin, curiously observing everyone around him and oblivious to his growing status as an outsider. Then on one fateful day, through a series of absurdly amusing encounters, everything changes: his girlfriend rebuffs him, his father cuts off his allowance, and a strange psychiatrist dubiously confirms his "emotional imbalance." Meanwhile, a former classmate insists she bears no hard feelings toward him for his grade-school taunts when she was "Roly Poly Julia," but it becomes increasingly apparent that she has unfinished business with him. Unable to ignore the consequences of his passivity any longer, Niko finally concludes that he has to engage with life. Shot in timeless black and white and enriched with a snappy jazz soundtrack, this slacker dramedy is a love letter to Berlin and the Generation Y experience. In German with English subtitles.


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