Think high tide, not slack water when the German Currents Film Festival returns to the Museum of Photographic Arts on October 14-15, bringing with it five films to celebrate its seventh year.
Saturday evening’s opening night gala presentation will be held at the Natural History Museum, with the remaining screenings moving up the Prado to MoPA’s Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theatre. The off-the-wall satire Welcome to Germany explores a privileged family’s brush with racism after they agree to take in a Nigerian refugee. If director Simon Verhoeven’s name rings a familiar cinematic bell, it’s because his father Michael directed The Nasty Girl and other films, while his mother Senta Berger continues her career as an international movie star — including this plum role in her son’s latest feature.
Day two of the festival generally commences with family fare. The Peppercorns promises a big-screen adaptation of the hit children’s TV series. But about the last name I expected to find in the family section was Fatih Akin, whose previous films Head On and The Edge of Heaven left impressions of edginess when they played town. This time, Akin adapts Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Goodbye Berlin. If anyone can breathe new life into a coming-of-age pic about two teenage boys who steal a car and embark on a life-changing road trip, it is he.
As always, it will be my pleasure to moderate a Q&A. Heralded as “an intelligently-edgy arthouse film and fresh modern parable,” Tiger Girl showcases two of Germany’s major up-and-coming stars, Ella Rumpf and Maria Dragus. Jakob Lass, director and this year’s guest of honor, will join me onstage for a discussion following Sunday’s 4 p.m. screening.
The festival closes with Four Against the Bank, the latest from Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, In the Line of Fire). Til Schweiger leads a quartet of angry investors who seek revenge against a bank that purposely allowed their investments to bottom out.