Returning to the Cinemas

in 39th Filmfest München

by Barbara Gasser

The München Film Festival prides itself on being Germany’s largest summer film festival and with Covid rules being lifted, audiences are returning to the cinemas. 120 films were shown at this year’s Film Festival and they attracted more than 50,000 people. Yes, theaters were jam-packed. The warm weather contributed as well, generating a pleasant atmosphere for those who enjoyed the restaurants and bars nearby.

Our FIPRESCI Jury, composed of Enoe Pontes Lopes (Brasil), Engin Ertan (Turkey) and Barbara Gasser (Austria), voted in the category “Neues Deutsches Kino/New German Kino”. Of the 15 films we watched, ten were directed by female filmmakers. If this is an indicator of a trend that is long overdue, then change is coming. The FIPRESCI Prize was awarded to the documentary Elfriede Jelinek: Language Unleashed (Elfriede Jelinek – die Sprache von der Leine lassen) by director Claudia Müller. 

The top prizes in many other categories were also won by female filmmakers. Hanna Doose won the Audience Prize for directing her second feature film Kiss my Wounds (Wann kommst du meine Wunden küssen?).  It also was Hanna’s second time at the München Film Festival in ten years. The CineVision Award went to Aftersun by Scottish director Charlotte Wells. Mira Fornay received the the CineRebels Award for Cook F** Kill. Sophie Linnenbaum took home the German Cinema New Talent Award as best director for her graduation feature length satire The Ordinaries. It will be exciting to see what Linnenbaum’s next project will be. The Comedy No Name Restaurant by Stefan Sarazin and Peter Keller was awarded the One-Future-Prize. The acclaimed South Korean drama Broker by Hirokazu Kore-eda won the ARRI Award for best international feature in the CineMasters competition. 

Introspection stood out for me in the wide range of films. Perhaps the crises caused by the pandemic has led many of us to turn inwardly. Crises are often the beginning for soul searching, raising fundamental questions about faith or destiny and things we have taken for granted for too long. With our professional and private lives no longer the same, a shift in the creative art such as film making can be felt as the narrative turns to deeper storytelling. 

Apart from watching films, Munich Film Festival’s Director Diana Iljine hosted three functions for members of all jury categories. This was a special welcome and great way to meet each other. A wonderful opportunity to interact, get to know each other and talk about something that passionately connects us. 

Barbara Gasser
Edited by Yael Shuv