Some German films

German cinema is often disregarded when good films are being suggested, and it rarely gets much recognition on the international stage. Here are some films in German, well worth your consideration. They will have subtitles, and I urge you not to switch them off, and watch an inferior, dubbed version instead. I won’t be responsible if you do!

Fear eats the soul. This 1974 film, directed by Rainer Fassbinder, tackles not one, but two taboo subjects. The love of an older woman, for a much younger man, and the inter-racial aspect that he is an Arab. The reaction of the family is much as you might expect, and the whole storyline is set against a background of increased immigration into Germany at that time. What makes the film stand out for me, is the central performance of the lead actress, Brigitte Mira. This dowdy, middle-aged lady delivers a magnificent performance, as the woman who is prepared to give up everything for the chance of happiness. Here is a trailer, with subtitles.

The Lives of Others. This 2006 film is distinguished by winning both The Oscar and Bafta for best foreign film, as well as numerous other prestigious awards. Set during the repressive regime in the former East Germany (DDR), it concentrates on the obsession developed by a secret policeman, for one of the subjects of his surveillance. The lead actor, Ulrich Muhe, gives a mesmerising performance of restrained intensity, that is riveting to watch. It really is almost completely flawless as a film, and one of my all-time favourites. This is the official American cinema trailer.

The marriage of Maria Braun. Another Fassbinder film, this time from 1979. Set during the last days of World War Two, Maria has been waiting in vain for the return of her husband, who she was only with for one night, before he left to go to the war. She believes him to be missing, or dead, and tries her best to survive, with the terrible shortages, and the eventual arrival of the American occupation forces. Again notable for the lead actress, the incredibly sexy and captivating Hanna Schygulla, at the peak of her career. Here is the German trailer.

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. This 1974 film was directed by Werner Herzog, and starred the strange actor Bruno S, who died in 2010. He had a difficult background, spending time in mental institutions, and this is apparent in his style of acting. This casting was perfect for the role of Kaspar, an unusual man, able to say only one phrase, which he repeats constantly; abandoned as a child, held prisoner in a shed, and eventually let out into the world as a child-like adult. He is taken in by the local community, and becomes the ward of a kindly scholar, who helps him, and gives him an education. The film is set in 1828, and is supposedly based on a true story about just such a person. Worth watching for Bruno S alone, though the other performances are well rendered too. This subtitled clip is a joy, as Kaspar discusses logic.

Stalingrad. Make sure you get the 1993 version, and also make sure that it is not dubbed. This war film focuses on one unit, sent from a relaxing posting on the Italian coast, into the hell of war that was the battle for Stalingrad. It is unusual to see a war film from the German perspective, and all the more refreshing for that change. This film has it all, though only for fans of the genre. The action scenes are relentless and breathtaking, and the weapons and uniforms are all unusually authentic, and convincing. There are no star players, at least none easily recognisable to non-German viewers, so it is much easier to believe in the characters. The cast, whether playing German or Russian troops, are all excellent, and many war film cliches are avoided, or at least minimised. If you like war films, and have never seen this one, don’t let it pass you by. This is a clip in German. Don’t let that put you off, the battle scene speaks for itself.

So there you are. Five film recommendations to start you off; a chance to explore a part of European Cinema you may never have considered. There are many more to come, so if this sort of thing doesn’t interest you, best avoid it.

41 thoughts on “Some German films

  1. I’m a bit guilty of disregarding German cinema, but I’ve seen the marvelous The lives of others and I have the Stalingrad DVD in my collection, but I haven’t found the time to watch it yet!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t seen any of these films. They all sound great, Fear Eats the Soul and Stalingrad are especially appealing to me. I would add The Silence (2010) to your superb lists. I love that film. It’s a crime drama that really sticks with you.
    Hope your feeling better today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I have seen that film, Pam. I really rate German films. Fear Eats The Soul is heartbreaking; just wonderful, and still relevant today. Stalingrad has been remade, so be sure to get the above version, and in German with English subtitles. It is a startlingly good WW2 war film. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. (I am around 50% better today, thanks for asking.)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw it at the cinema in London and was so outraged to see they were showing a dubbed print, I had a debate with the theatre manager. So I bought the subtitled film on DVD, and thought it was 100% better.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Beetley. I’m back. I’m looking for some new views and I knew the guy to turn to (A lot of rhyming going on). I won’t be commenting on every post (takes to long to reload the page ) but I will drop a few. Looks Like 5 good ones here. Just watched Stroszeck and enjoyed it. Coincedently reading Stalingrad by Beevor right now. Your stuck with me for a while. Huge resource. Later. CB

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to see you back, CBH.
      Beevor is a great writer on war indeed. This German film of Stalingrad is definitely the best, and believe me, I have seen them all. I am happy to discover that you were not abducted by aliens.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pete, I’m going to travel through your takes. Like I said I would comment more but it’s frustrating doing the reload thing. You have your finger on the same kinds of films I dig and like I said I’m in the market for a new batch of viewing. Kind of excited.
        If aliens ever were in contact with CB they would report back that no intelligent life forms were found on this planet.
        (Pete here’s a film I was involved with a couple years ago. I keep this separate from the CB thing but you being a cinema guy, I’m coming out of the closet. You might be curious. I wrote,produced and played the lead character. Had a lot of help from some very talented people. In pre production for the next one.).
        http://downherethemovie.com/

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sorry about the reload problem. It loads fast on my PC. Do you have broadband issues, or perhaps you are using a handheld device? Anyway, thanks for the link. I will watch it as soon as I get the chance, and appreciate you sending it to me.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I have a pretty good system. My daughter (Princes Falda) is coming for a visit and she’s a wiz on the box. She’ll fix me up. Hard to read your reviews and not say anything. I’ve watched a few of your recommendations from before (Kilo Two Bravo. A hard watch but a good one). I got up to end of Jan 2017 and have a bunch of new films to watch. I’d seen quite a few that you watched and agreed on your takes.
            No sweat on the film. It’s a true independent film. Obviously things i would have done different with more money and time (Shot in 13 days) but all in all very proud of what we did. Not everyone’s bag. I’ve only told about three people on this blog thing. It just struck me to tell you, I guess because your a film guy. Take care. CB

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Just watched the trailer. Given I was viewing on an old 14 inch Dell PC monitor, I was very impressed with the lighting, and contrast. The night scenes are really nicely lit. So many modern films have night scenes consumed by murky darkness, and it’s impossible to see what’s actually happening. I also liked the stark lighting in the room scene, which reminded me of Cassavetes.
          Are you playing the guy with the drink problem? He looked suitably desperate, and I felt the pain just from that short trailer. I have bookmarked the page, and will investigate how to download it. I have a new monitor to install, a 24 inch widescreen with high resolution. Once that is in place, I will look forward to watching your film.
          I hope you enjoy trawling through my old world cinema sections. If you skip to the early pages in the film and cinema category, you should find quite a few. If you have never watched it, may I recommend ‘The Conformist’ (1970). That film gets better every time I watch it. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065571/
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Just catching up this morning. Our DP (Adam Myhill) on the film was magic. He shot it on a small Canon Camera with minimal light. One of the reasons we brought him on board was i asked him to shoot me some test night scenes. I was blown away when he showed them to me. Double blown away when he said he used available light! No extra lighting! His work saved our asses. Sound guy was a bust and we had a lot of fixing just to bring it up to acceptable standards. Yeah, I’m the guy with the problem. So many good people made it work. Thanks for the interest.
            Pete, like you I watch a lot of film. Stay away from the same stuff you do. But being lazy and not trusting the opinions of most people on the subject and the work they pump out of the big studios. I’m so glad I stumbled on you. You are revitalizing my stock. I have never seen ‘The Conformist”. I had already put a big star beside it. I have a page of new films. Thanks Pete and keep up the great work.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes I have seen a lot of these films – the lives of others was amazing. And I adore Fassbinder, and have dedicated a lot of my blog on masochism and intensity to him. A stunningly beautiful filmmaker too…,

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  5. I’ve only seen ‘The Enigma Of Kaspar Hauser’ (a long time ago) from the above selection and you’re right Pete, it’s a great film, perhaps I’ll get to see the others one day. Two other great German films are ‘Fitzcarraldo’ (directed by Werner Herzog) and ‘Nosferatu’ – the make-up is bloody scary, Klaus Kinsky really does look dead! BPC

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  6. I recently watched ‘The Lives Of Others’ and saw ‘Kasper Hauser’ many years ago and Pete is spot on, they are great motion pictures.

    Now to go to those others in his list, I guarantee this beetley boy knows his stuff.

    May I mention the movie ‘Wings Of Desire’ (Der Himmel รผber Berlin). My favorite flick of all time. Bruno Ganz stars and a little surprisingly Peter Falk has a role. Wim Wenders directs, superb.

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