2018, Studio Canal, 111 min, Germany, Dir: Lars Kraume

In this thrilling historical drama, a small act of solidarity brings chaos to the lives of a class of teenagers living in 1956 Communist-controlled East Germany. Classmates Kurt (Tom Gramenz) and Theo (Leonard Scheicher) could have never predicted that a casual but unauthorized trip to the movies in West Berlin would result in their divulging of political information that would forever change them and their fellow classmates. A Berlinale entry from historically minded director Lars Kraume (THE PEOPLE VS. FRITZ BAUER), this fact-based drama offers a sobering reflection on the nature of protest and political action.

2014, 103 min, Germany, Dir: Edward Berger

Ten-year-old Jack (Ivo Pietzcker) is frequently left alone by his loving but hopelessly incompetent young mother (Luise Heyer). Forced to care for himself and his 6-year-old half-brother, Manuel (Georg Arms), for extended periods of time, Jack selflessly acts as the head of the household. When Manuel is accidentally injured, Jack is blamed and is placed in a long-term foster care facility, leaving Manuel with their mother. Homesick and bullied by other children, Jack decides to escape and head home to Berlin, only to find that what little order he had established has crumbled. Once again abandoned, the boys take to the streets on a desperate odyssey to find not only their mother but a sense of stability. Co-written by Nele Mueller-Stöfen, Berger’s screenplay and precise direction coax refreshingly unaffected performances from the two child actors. Cinematographer Jens Harant’s camera provides essential gritty realism, capturing the city from the unique vantage point of the lonely boys. In German with English subtitles.

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