Friday, April 17, 2009

The Good & the Bad - FoGF2009

I got to my first film of the Festival of German Films 2009 this evening, for a screening of Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three (1961). As previously mentioned, it started filming prior to the Berlin wall's construction. The Brandenburg Gates had to be recreated in a studio because the wall went up during filming. I had a blast with the film. It's very intelligent, full of double entendres, James Cagney in his last film before retiring (though he played a small part 20 years later) is just relentless as the Coca Cola executive. It's also full of biting criticisms of the Russians and communism which are quite hilarious. Unfortunately, the film loses a little momentum towards the end and could have benefited by a bit of tighter editing, but is thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.

Getting home, I was finalising my intended screening attendances for the rest of the festival, only to discover that the other retrospective screenings are all from DVDs. I can't tell you how disappointed I was - these films were my #1 interest in the festival. DVD projection on a big screen is just terrible and at $16.50/$14.00 concession, we're not talking small bikkies here. For two people, you could purchase your own DVD and have a better and cheaper night at home.

On the flipside, it takes some of the pressure off me to get to a number of screenings that was always going to be difficult. Now, I'm just going to try to make it to Wim Wenders' Palermo Shooting, and as many of the following as I can without busting my balls:
  • Jerichow
  • Lulu & Jimi
  • A Year Ago in Winter
  • Lippel's Dream


Jake said...

That's news to me about the DVD projection. What a disappointment! I've always appreciated that ACMI make the effort to distinguish between film and digital screenings in their program booklets -- other cinemas aren't always so upfront with that information.

Paul Martin said...

Jake, the info is down the bottom of each film's info. But you have to check out the details of the film and get past all the distributor details. I'm sure there'll be a lot of disappointed punters who didn't know it was going to be on DVD. I've had that experience at Nova several times and have vowed never to do it again.

Yeah, ACMI are generally good in putting the format up the top, just under the title. That's always appreciated, so that one isn't disappointed when, for example, one turns up for a screening to find it's digiBeta.

John said...

So Paul you think you'll be able to find the German DVDs with English subtitles and be able to watch these at home? Can't say I'm aware of having been to a Cinema projecting DVDs. But any glich with screening like at some multiplexes can be very annoying. And as you say the costs punting on these film festivals can be high. This year they have previews on the Palace website or was that only for the French FF?

As always traps for young players here and thanks for pointing this out.

Paul Martin said...

John, I won't be seeking those titles on DVD. I'm a big screen fan and watch little on DVD. My point is that a DVD looks better on a TV than a big screen.

Just at a quick glance, Carbide & Sorrel is available from Amazon for EUR11.00. Coming Out is EUR12.90, Jacob the Liar is EUR5.97, The Legend of Paul and Paula is EUR12.54, Solo Sunny is £11.46 and Traces of Stone is £10.64. All with English sub-titles.

thelittlestranger said...

Films screenings off DVDs - the best experience I had was at "The Dawns are Quiet Here" when the hapless projectionist was navigating around a DVD menu in the Cyrillic alphabet trying to find the English subtitles option!

Saw Lippel's Dream on the weekend. Quite good sets, some mild action and overall reasonably enjoyable. Probably more for the children than the adults. The cast looked to be enjoying themselves, and there's a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour. Also saw Krabat and Eye to Eye, which are worth seeing.

Mike said...

paul, all of the GDRetro films are $11.00/$10.00 conc - not much of a difference but thought i'd let you know.

also i believe palermo shooting is screening digitally.

Paul Martin said...

Thanks for the info, Mike, but I won't see the GDR films, even if they were free. I can't stand DVD projection.

Why do you believe Palermo Shooting is screening digitally? Do you mean digiBeta (which I don't have a problem with, if I'm warned in advance). There's nothing on the FoGF website to indicate the screening format.

Mike said...

i asked a staff member at one of the cinemas and yes i mean digibeta.

Paul Martin said...

DigiBeta doesn't look as good as 35mm film, but many festival films (and theatrical releases also) are screened in that medium. Unlike DVDs, it's acceptable for the big screen.

John said...

Paul...I think all the German DVDs you mention with English subtitles are the retrospective ones..

Working on your premise of watching I had a bit of a look online today for some of the newer movies "Clara" which I was going to see tonight but will go to "Hilde" tomorrow night instead. And also had a look at the trailer for Cheeky Girls which won't screen in Melbourne but has a standalone German website, trailer and a german only DVD.

Honestly I'm at a lost why German Films don't subtitle their new releases in's always left to organizations like SBS to do this. And we non German speaking German film fans miss out.

Sadly like this years French FF I'm not going to get to as many films this year. But if I can dodge
ones that don't appeal that won't be a bad thing.

With my free pass to the GFF came a free double preview pass to TULPAN.. I suspect TULPAN is some sort of subliminal brainwashing from the Eastern block... there's 2hrs I'll never get back. Previews looked ok but generally it was laboured and went around in circles.