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April 4

Two by Robert Thalheim

In recent years, the long moribund German cinema has shown new signs of life, with a series of precocious young filmmakers emerging to join the more familiar older names. These newcomers include Valeska Grisebach, Thomas Arslan, Christian Petzold and Robert Thalheim, who has quickly attracted international attention with his first two features.

Born in Berlin in 1974, Thalheim is the youngest in this wave of German filmmakers, which the French have begun dubbing "la nouvelle vague allemande." Before becoming a filmmaker, Thalheim was active in the theater as an assistant director for the Berliner Ensemble and the writer and director of the play Wild Boys. Thalheim has also published a well-respected book on the great Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda.

Thalheim’s work is characterized by a careful eye and a keen sense of human interaction. More than many of his fellow filmmakers, Thalheim is at pains to explore the ways that the history of twentieth-century Germany, especially the Third Reich and the division and reunification of East and West, continues to work in the new millennium. In both of Thalheim's films, the relations between past and present are mapped onto intergenerational relationships. In Netto, a media-savvy adolescent struggles to correct his father's inability to adapt to a newly unified Germany characterized by rampant capitalism. Meanwhile, in And Along Come Tourists, the fraught friendship between a Polish Auschwitz survivor and a young German man reveals both the promise and limits of an individual's response to history.

This program is presented in collaboration with the National Center for Jewish Film's Jewishfilm.2008 Festival (April 3 to 13th), the Goethe Institute Boston, and the Center for German and European Studies at Brandeis. Special thanks to Sharon Pucker Rivo and Karin Oehlenschlaeger.


Special Event Tickets $10
Friday April 4 at 7pm

And Along Come Tourists (Am Ende kommen Touristen)

Directed by Robert Thalheim, Appearing in Person
With Alexander Fehling, Barbara Wysocka
Germany 2007, 35mm, color, 85 min.
German, Polish and English with English subtitles

And Along Come Tourists tells the story of Sven (Fehling), a young German who chooses civil work over military service and finds himself helping out at Auschwitz, where tour buses unload a million visitors every year. Sven facilitates students' encounters with the past, does the dishes at the Youth Center, and is told to look after an old man, Krzeminski (Ronczewski), a former Auschwitz prisoner who still lives on the camp grounds and spends his time repairing suitcases that were taken from murdered Jews. The relationship between the earnest German and the stubborn survivor is at the heart of the film, but Thalheim never once pretends that the distance between the two will be easy to bridge.

Netto

Directed by Robert Thalheim, Appearing in Person
With Milan Peschel, Sebastian Butz, Christina Grosse
Germany 2005, 35mm, color, 86 min.
German with English subtitles

After years of separation, fifteen year-old Sebastian shows up at his father's dilapidated Berlin apartment. He is at loose ends now that his pregnant mother has moved to the suburbs with her boyfriend, and he doesn't feel at home with her anymore. Sebastian's father – a jobless, short-tempered country music fan who too often drowns his troubles in drink – has had no luck adapting to the economy of the reunified Germany. Sebastian, who knows what it takes to succeed in this brave new world, finds ways to help, coaching his dad for his next job interview.

audio from evening Listen to this evening's introduction, discussion and Q&A.

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