PORTLAND GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL – Monthly Film Series
In our Monthly Film Series, we will show a variety of GERMAN or GERMAN language films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. On the 2nd Wednesday of each month, audiences will now have a chance to see these films on a regular basis at the CLINTON STREET THEATER. (Children movies will be playing on Sunday afternoons – please check our website.) All films are with English subtitles.
The film premiered In Competition at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for the Golden Bear. Veiel won the Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlinale.
There will be an introduction/lecture by Prof. Carrie Collenberg Gonzalez, Ph.D. from Portland State University starting at 6pm. The movie will follow at 7pm.
West Germany in the early 1960s. The country is quiet – for the time being. Bernward Vesper takes up his studies in Tübingen where he is attending Walter Jens’ seminar on rhetoric. Bernward wants to be a writer and spends his nights bashing the keys of a typewriter. At the same time he is keen to defend his father, the poet Will Vesper who was celebrated by the Nazis as a proponent of their ‘Blood and Soil’ ideology. The land where Bernward lives is being suffocated by its past. The war has only been over for fifteen years, old Nazis are back in positions of power, and nobody is prepared to talk about war crimes; the Republic is standing to attention.
One day Bernward meets Gudrun Ensslin and her friend Dörte. Before long, the three friends are living together in a ménage à trois. But their three-way relationship doesn’t last long. It soon transpires that Gudrun and Bernward are twin souls. This marks the beginning of an extreme relationship that is unquestioning and excessive, a love story that goes beyond the threshold of pain. Setting out together to conquer the world, the pair arrives in West Berlin in 1964 where they become part of the left-wing bo-ho set.
When the Social Democratic Party agrees to form a grand coalition with the Christian Democratic Union, Bernward and Gudrun are not the only ones who decide to join the Extraparliamentary Opposition movement. Gudrun and Bernward become part of a social and political upheaval that soon takes hold around the globe: liberation movements, student protests and the Black Panther movement in the USA; drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.
The course of history is inexorable but, at the time, for a moment, it looks as if it might be possible to change its path. If not us, who? And when, if not now? And then another man, Andreas Baader, appears on the scene. Here is someone who is more unswerving, more radical and resolved than Bernward. Before long, Andreas, Gudrun and Bernward find themselves caught up in the centrifugal forces of history – and they cannot control them.
This event is co-presented with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon.
Director Anne Zohra Berrached was born in Erfurt, East Germany, in 1982. After she got her degree in social education, with a focus on psychology in Frankfurt, she worked as a drama teacher in London for two years. She spent several months in Madrid, Spain and Yaoundé, Cameroon before she became a director’s assistant at the Hansatheater and Ballhaus Ost in Berlin. In 2009, she began to study directing at the Film Academy, Baden-Württemberg. Her second year movie SAINT & WHORE was invited to over 80 film festivals around the globe. In her third year, she completed her first feature film TWO MOTHERS. It premiered at the 63rd International Film Festival in Berlin in 2013. The has earned the “First Steps No Fear Award” and the “Dialogues en Perspective” of the section “Perspective German Cinema” at the Berlin Film Festival. 24 WEEKS was selected for the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.
On the stage and in the spotlight, Astrid lives and loves her job as a stand up comedian, devoting herself completely to her work, while Markus, her husband and manager, calmly and ably supports her. However, when the couple is expecting their second child, their otherwise so regular and well ordered life is thrown off course after a routine exam reveals trisomy 21. At first neither of them knows how to cope, but they eventually decide together in favor of a life with Down’s Syndrome.
Drawing on the same strength that helped them take control of their daily life working with the public, the future parents start preparing for life with a disabled child. They are unfazed when their friends and relatives react with bewilderment and helplessness. Soon the diagnosis is no longer frightening, and they start looking forward again to the birth of their child. But when during the six month of pregnancy, another exam reveals the full extent of the disability, this news hits the parents much harder, and their courage and optimism comes very close to folding like a house of cards.
Here again, Astrid and Markus want to take every decision tog ether, and again they want to find a way to make things work. But the prognosis is now much more complicated. They suddenly find themselves faced with a moral conflict, having to decide between bringing a severely handicapped child into the world and ending the pregnancy in the sixth month. Racing from one diagnosis and one piece of advice to another, their opinions now diverge. Who can know whether the child is really going to suffer, and whether its life will be worth living? While they are searching for the right answer, everything is called into question: their relationship, their desire for a child, and a life according to plan. With medical professionals, statistics, and prognoses around her on every side, Astrid realizes that since she is bearing the child, she is ultimately the only one who can make the decision.