German Cinema

Yesterday Girl (Anita G.), 1966

In his early short essay film, Brutality in Stone, Alexander Kluge channels the contemplative spirit of Alain Resnais’ Night and Fog and Statues Also Die (co-authored by Chris Marker) to convey the idea of architectural memories, the traces of memory that subconsciously remain within the de-contextualized images of derelict structures and abandoned ruins, in this… read more »

Ticket of No Return, 1979

Invoking Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s irreverent, artful kitsch, Federico Fellini’s carnivalesque grotesquerie, and Werner Schroeter’s impenetrable, autobiographical self-evidence, Ticket of No Return encapsulates the highly stylized, funny, frustrating, offbeat, decadent, intoxicating, and fevered delirium that is Ulrike Ottinger’s cinema. A chronicle of an archetypally beautiful, impeccably dressed woman “of antique grace and raphaelic harmony” eponymously called… read more »

The Murderers Are Among Us, 1946

The Murderers are Among Us is a haunting and indelible film on the process of healing and reconciling with personal accountability. The film opens to an imbalancing shot of a drunken Dr. Hans Mertens (Ernst Wilhelm Borchert) wandering through the bombed ruins of Berlin as he enters a disreputable cabaret. Once a successful specialist surgeon,… read more »

The Blue Angel, 1930

The Blue Angel is a desperate, emotionally unrelenting portrait of a man whose consuming love for a cold, manipulative woman leads to moral descent and ruin. Dr. Immanuel Rath (Emil Jannings), is a repressed, middle-aged high school professor who decides to confront Lola Lola (Marlene Dietrich), a cabaret singer, about her “bewitching” of his students…. read more »

Not Reconciled, or Only Violence Helps Where It Rules, 1965

An early episode of a sacramental canticle recited by a monotonic, impassive chorus (in an oddly surreal scene that fuses home economics and religion) provides an integrally illuminating puzzle piece to Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet’s maddeningly opaque and fragmented, yet abstractly intriguing and curiously resonant film, Not Reconciled: How shall we redeem the world?… read more »

Until the End of the World, 1991

A novelist named Eugene Fitzpatrick (Sam Neill) recounts in dispassionate voiceover that in 1999, an Indian nuclear-powered satellite had fallen from its designated Earth orbit, setting the spacecraft on a steadfast, but indeterminate trajectory towards an inevitable impact with the planet. Areas that were identified as potential impact sites experienced mass exodus, causing people to… read more »

Wings of Desire, 1987

Wim Wender’s deliberately paced, hauntingly realized contemporary masterpiece, Wings of Desire is, all at once: a political allegory for the reunification of Germany, an existential parable on a soul’s search for connection, a metaphor for the conflict between, what Friedrich Nietzsche defines as, the Appolinian intellect and the Dionysian passion, a euphemism for creation. A… read more »