When was the last time you saw a movie from Germany? If you’ve never seen a film from one of Europe’s most renowned cinema countries, then you should watch these 10 films before they get lost forever!
Germany is known for its cinematic history, having produced some of the greatest directors and actors in Hollywood today. The country has also been home to such legendary figures as Goethe, Schiller and Einstein. Some of their most famous movies include ‘Cabaret’, ‘Schindler’s List and ‘Downfall’.
There are countless reasons why you should see these movies. From historical context to beautiful cinematography, here are five of our favourite films from Germany.
1. Das Boot (The boat) – 1981
Director: Wolfgang Peterson
Writer: Bernd Eichinger
Actors: Rainer Werner Fäsbinder, Hanna Schygulla, Ute Lemper, Hansjörg Felmy, Jürgen Prochnow, Günther Kaufmann, Arno Assmus.
Plot Summary: An old sailor who suffers from dementia becomes obsessed with a shipwreck he saw as a child, and sets out across the ocean to find it. He finds his way to a small island where he meets a young girl who claims she was once aboard the vessel. She says that they were sailing off course and crashed onto the island and that the captain murdered everyone onboard. The man insists that the girl is lying, so they go back to port together. There, they meet a woman who tries to sell him a map drawn on a piece of bark, claiming that it shows the location of the wreck. When he learns that there is no point in finding the shipwreck, he goes hunting instead, alone. After tracking down two men who have been stalking him, he kills them both and then discovers
2. Der Untergang (Downfall) – 2004
Director: Hans-Christian Schmid
Writer: Christian Ehring
Plot Summary: A mysterious plague has spread across Germany, killing millions. Only one man believes he knows how to stop it – a German scientist called Dr Max Kruger who’s searching for an antidote to the disease. He calls himself the last hope for mankind. But first, he needs some help from his friend, Professor Robert Hartmann, who’s been working on a way to make synthetic DNA. When Kruger finds out about this, Hartmann refuses to share any information without first asking Kruger if he killed his wife. The two men begin their journey together, where they encounter many obstacles along the way.
3. Nirgendwo in Afrika (Nowhere in Africa) – 2002
Directed by: Wolfgang Becker
Starring: Ulrich Tukur, Nina Woskow, Christoph Waltz, Rolf Hoppe, Peter Kern, Hansi Naffziger
Plot: In 2002, German filmmaker Wolfgang Becker directed Nirgendwo in Afrikan (nowhere in Africa), a documentary film about AIDS in South Africa. It deals with the spread of the virus and its effects on a community in Soweto, Johannesburg. A young doctor named Dr Alex De Waal travels to South Africa and works at a hospital where he performs tests on people who have died from AIDS-related complications. He meets several patients and their families, including a child who dies from a brain infection.
At first, Dr De Waal’s research seems to show that HIV/AIDS is not spreading in South Africa; however, his findings soon change after meeting two women who are both infected with HIV. One woman, Mabel, is a sex worker who is having unprotected sex with many men. She tells him about her clients, some of whom she does not know well enough to trust. Another woman, Nelisiwe, is a high school student whose mother is sick with AIDS. Her father died from AIDS a few years before, and she wants to find out what happened to him.
Their stories inspire Dr De Waal to perform further examinations on his family members and find out how they contracted HIV.
4. Die Fälscher (The Counterfeiters) – 2007Director: Rolf Schüttler
Stars: Matthias Schweighöfer, Michael Hofstätter, Dieter Laser, Alexander Scheer
Genre: Thriller, Crime, Comedy, Drama, Action
Plot Summary: Die Fälscher tells the story of two friends who decide to sell counterfeit money to make some extra cash. After making their first successful deal they soon realize how big this business is – and how dangerous it can be. Their lives become even more complicated when their boss gets involved. In the end, they have to choose between following their dreams and staying out of trouble.
5. Good Bye, Lenin! – 2003
Directed by John Lennon
Starring Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Olivia Harrison, Linda McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr
Plot Summary: When Vadim and Boria are sent to prison for killing Senator Joseph McCarthy’s son, they plan to take control of the Russian Mafia once they get out of jail. After being released from prison, they convince the CIA to pay them $10 million to provide information about the mob’s involvement in drug trafficking.
At first, the CIA is impressed with Vadim’s intelligence but soon discovers that he is using this information for personal gain. On top of that, Vadim steals money from the CIA and makes off with the cash. As a result of Vadim stealing the CIA’s funds, he finds himself and his partner, Boria, back in prison. Once they are released, Vadim begins plotting to bring down the Italian Mob leaders. Later, Vadim allies with the FBI and provides them with evidence that clears them of any wrongdoing in his dealings with the CIA. To further prove his loyalty to the US government, Vadim helps the FBI arrest Boris Shcherbakov. While in prison, Boris confesses to taking part in the assassination attempt on Sidney Poitier.
Afterwards, Vadim informs the authorities about Boris’ involvement in the hit on Sidney and he is subsequently sentenced to death. After Boris dies in prison, Vadim starts working with a DEA agent and goes undercover as an informant. When he meets a man named Felix DeBenedictis (John Turturro), who works for the Cuban Mafia, he realizes that he wants to join forces with Felix. From there, Vadim and Felix build an empire together and start dealing with the Chinese Mafia. Eventually, Vadim can make enough money to purchase the Russian Mafia from its current leader, Sergei Mironov.