What do a jet set actor, supernatural nightmares, and a cross-cultural history of love and loss have in common? These are all film subjects appearing in this year’s Fokus lineup, returning in person for the first time since 2020. Organized by the Goethe-Institut, this selection of German films showcases the best in storytelling and creation from the country. Talent.
The selection is a small slice of a film year with just seven films. The programming, however, reveals an ambitious global vision. A purely German lens would be myopic, as the Goethe-Institut admits. “The subjects [explored in the programme] are by no means suitable for Germany, but have global relevance, âthey said in a statement. The priorities of German foreign cultural policy include social coexistence and exclusion, migration and asylum, populism, anti-Semitism and racism – issues which are by no means exclusive to Germany today. .
While the global heart of Fokus 2022 is clear, this year’s selection encompasses two key themes: âCultures of Equalityâ comprising intersecting identities, abuse and globalization; and “How News Comes into the World,” which examines the evolution of communication methods, social media, bots, fake news, artificial intelligence, and the prejudices – conscious and unconscious – that affect interaction and understanding humans with the world around them. The two themes are hot topics beyond Germany and the UK, and the Goethe-Institut hopes that such programming will result in a “lively and fruitful, mutually inspiring exchange”.
While the majority of these films were premiered at physical and digital festivals in 2021, bringing them together in a single program allows these two thematic strands to be expressed in an environment conducive to dialogue. This, the Institute stresses, is more important than ever after nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
âSociety, and therefore our communication with each other, has inevitably changed,â they say. âFrom this point of view, it is natural that these themes appear more frequently in films in general and also in our personal choices of films. It is also important to provide a safe platform where the subjects can be projected but also for some movies, like The case you, explored in more detail in a question-and-answer session or discussion. “
The case you, directed by Alison Kuhn, is a documentary that brings the camera back to the entertainment industry’s legacy of sexual abuse. After a director shoots audition footage – including footage where actresses were assaulted in their quest for a role – in a documentary, Kuhn and other survivors rewrite the narrative, flipping the director’s camera abusive on itself in indignation, anger and a quest for recognition – if not justice.
The case you is one of three Fokus 2022 documentaries. Trans – I have life (directed by Doris Metz and Imogen Kimmel) follows Dr. Schaff, a world-renowned practitioner in gender-affirming surgery, as he helps patients in Munich and San Francisco’s world-class transgender surgery practices along with his work more secret to help patients in Russia. The Guardian (Martina Priessner) has a much narrower geographic focus and follows a Syrian Orthodox nun and the increasing assaults she faces in her isolated existence.
The four fiction films on the program are no less diverse in their subject matter and scope. The next door – written and directed by his star, Daniel BrÃ¼hl – is a day in the life of an actor who is more successful with cinema audiences than at his local restaurant. that of Anne Zohra Berrached Co-pilot is a painful love story versus a shocking real-life tragedy, exploring a relationship built on – or despite – secrets. that of Michel Venus Sleep sees a girl venturing into her mother’s nightmares, only to discover a centuries-old demonic curse. Finally, the creative title Curveball – A true story. Sadly (Johannes Naber) explores the absurdity of Germany and the West’s quest for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and how far the rulers might go to justify their case.
Fokus 2022 is “not a talent scout,” says the Goethe-Institut. Enthusiasm and relevance of the content come first. The power of the stars is a happy accident: “When actor-personalities like Daniel BrÃ¼hl present these film stories to interested cinema audiences […], then this is a fortuitous side effect. Pointing to The lives of others (2006) as a former German film that transcends a seemingly difficult subject to find international fame, Fokus hopes that its selection this year – and every year – will challenge, inspire and delight audiences who might not have not come across these films otherwise.
Fokus runs January 11-31, with screenings at the Filmhouse, Edinburgh; Contemporary Arts of Dundee; Glasgow Film Theater; Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen; Arts Shetland, Lerwick; Eden Court, Inverness; Ayr Film Society; and Goethe-Institut, Glasgow.
Full program at goethe.de