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November 18 - November 21

Growing Up: The Films of Hans-Christian Schmid

Hans-Christian Schmid has emerged as one of the most fascinating filmmakers in contemporary German cinema. His films often focus on characters who move from small towns to big cities and the difficult period of transition from adolescence to adulthood yet he avoids the more lurid traits of other youth-oriented films by presenting a refreshingly honest take on these moments of development. A graduate of the Academy of Television & Film in Munich, Schmid initially worked as documentary filmmaker before making the transition to fiction features. His breakthrough came in 1995 with his feature debut It's A Jungle Out There, his first writing collaboration with Michael Gutmann. He has received multiple accolades from the German Film Awards and film festivals in Berlin (where he has been honored twice with FIPRESCI awards), Munich, Locarno and Seattle.

This program is co-presented with the Goethe Institut Boston.


November 18 (Saturday) 7 pm

Requiem

Directed by Hans Christian Schmid
Germany 2005, 35mm, color, 92 min.
With Sandra Hueller, Burghart Klaussner, Imogen Kogge
German with English subtitles

Set in a provincial Southern German town in the 1970s, Schmid’s
latest film focuses on Michaela, a young epileptic woman who struggles to break free from her deeply religious family. She get her first taste of freedom when she leaves home to study at the university where she develops a budding love for fellow co-ed, Stefan and a close friendship with Hanna. Her freedom is shortlived when she eventually begins to hear demonic voices. She is sent back to the care of her family and her church where she seeks help from a priest who reinforces her conviction that she is possessed. Schmid’s powerful new film is based on the same material which was adapted in the Hollywood thriller The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

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November 18 (Saturday) 9 pm

Distant Lights (Lichter)

Directed by Hans Christian Schmid
Germany 2003, 35mm, color, 105 min.
With Andrzej Górak, Anna Yanovskaya, Sergei Frolov
German with English subtitles

The border between Germany and Poland, formed by the river Oder,
provides an intriguing setting for this exploration of the boundaries of national and personal identities. Schmid interweaves five narrative threads: a group of Ukrainian refugees beg and bargain for entry to the “golden West”; a businessman loses everything he owns only to find something of much greater value; a young cigarette smuggler defies his father and brother to free the girl he loves from a detention center; an interpreter risks her career and her freedom to help an illegal refugee; and an architect meets his former girlfriend and discovers that they have both changed too much to find common ground. With deep humanist empathy, Schmid provides a sensitive yet realist portrait of characters searching for individual freedom in an often hostile world.

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November 19 (Sunday) 7 pm

Crazy

Directed by Hans Christian Schmid
Germany 2000, 35mm, color, 97 min.
With Robert Stadlober, Tom Schilling, Oona-Devi Liebich
German with English subtitles

On his fifth attempt at boarding school, young Benni has one last
chance to prove to his parents he can function in the academic world, and, most importantly, pass math.  But Benni has other concerns; he is partially paralyzed and struggling with typical teenage issues – making friends, falling in love and having sex. When his mother decides to move him to yet another school, Benni must decide whether to make a stand for what truly matters to him. Based on an autobiographical novel by Benjamin Lebert, Crazy has earned Schmid great praise for its honest portrait of teenage life.

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November 19 (Sunday) 9 pm

23

Directed by Hans Christian Schmid
Germany 1998, 35mm, color, 99 min.
With Fabian Busch, August Diehl, Jan-Gregor Kremp
German with English subtitles

In an age of growing uncertainty, nineteen year-old computer hacker Karl Koch sees the world around him as being in disorder. Inspired by the fictional rebel of a cult novel, the sensitive young man begins his search for meaning, which convinces him of a global conspiracy. When Karl and his best friend David infiltrate government and military global data networks, they are motivated to travel to East Berlin to connect with the KGB. Set in the Cold War dystopia of the late 1980s, 23 received special honors at the 1998 Locarno Film Festival.

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November 21 (Tuesday) 9 pm

It's a Jungle Out There (Nach fuenf im Urwald)

Directed by Hans Christian Schmid
Germany 1995, 35mm, color, 89 min.
With Franka Potente, Axel Milberg, Dagmar Manzel
German with English subtitles

Schmid’s debut feature stars Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) as Anna, a seventeen-year-old who runs away to Munich with her devoted admirer Simon after a row with her eccentric father. After she tries her luck as a singer, she becomes immersed in the self-absorbed world of public relations. When her worried parents also go off to Munich in search of their prodigal daughter, they discover that the big city is as much of a "jungle experience" for them as it is for Anna. Schmid’s winning comedy on modern German family life marked the first of several collaborations with screenwriter Michael Gutmann.

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