33rd FilmFest Munich
Germany, June 25 - July 4 2015
The 33rd edition of the Munich International Film Festival hosted a FIPRESCI jury for the first time. Amid high summer temperatures the screening venues were well-attended, with the German film industry out in force at the numerous world premieres of domestic productions and fresh international fare from the festival circuit. Viggo Mortensen was among international guests in attendance, with Camus-inspired revisionist western “Far From Men”(Loins des hommes), in which he stars as a teacher charged with escorting an Arab prisoner through remote terrain, the opening film. American auteur Alexander Payne was also an honoured guest, with a retrospective spanning his career to date from his earliest short “Carmen”, which he made in 1985, to his recent successes “The Descendants” and “Nebraska”. Warholmania, a homage to the work of pop artist Andy Warhol, was held in collaboration with the festival and Museum Brandhorst. It featured screenings of many of his key films, from selected “Screen Tests” to “The Chelsea Girls” and a silent programme of his provocative cinematic experiments such as “Blow Job” and “Sleep”. Closing the festival was Matteo Garrone’s dark collection of gothic imagination “Tale of Tales”(Il Racconto dei Racconti).
The FIPRESCI jury selected their award from the 18 features in the New German Cinema programme. A number of films were shot in Munich, from documentary-style “Nightsession” by Philipp Dettmer, which follows a group of skaters over one bleary night of beer, skate tricks and camaraderie across the cityscape, to winner “Don’t Look At Me That Way” (Schau mich nicht so an), a daring and surprising take on unconventional relationships from director Uisenma Borchu, who set the film between Germany and Mongolia and also wrote, edited and starred. Also in the mix was Dietrich Brueggemann’s comic satire of Neo-Nazism “Heil”, Visar Morina’s hard-hitting immigration drama set between Kosovo and Berlin “Babai”, and genre fare ranging from Özgür Yildirim’s sci-fi “Boy 7”, to AKIZ’s atmospheric techno-soundtracked horror infused with female coming-of-age angst “Der Nachtmahr”, and Bernhard Keller’s Ireland-set buddy road movie “Happy Hour”. A number of documentaries depicted varied sides of Germany, from “Instant Lunatic” (Mollath – Und plötzlich bist du verrückt) on the controversial Gustl Mollath case by directors Annika Blendl and Leonie Stade to Lutz Dammbeck’s “Overgames” on the possible links between American psychiatry, German TV game shows and mass collective psychological disturbance, and Rudolf Domke’s “The Body Of This Death”(Dem Leibe dieses Todes) about a German colony founded on failed utopian ideals in Paraguay. Together with the rest, these formed a wide snapshot of a diverse industry, albeit one strongly US-influenced – eighteen varied takes on German identity, all in all. (Carmen Gray)
FilmFest Munich: www.filmfest-muenchen.de