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Category Archives: Drama

IN THE AISLES (IN DEN GÄNGEN)

Germany, 2018, 125 min., Director: Thomas Stuber, Screenplay: Clemens Meyer, Thomas Stuber, Cast: Sandra Hüller, Franz Rogowski, Peter Kurth, Distribution: MusicBox Films

After the shy and reclusive Christian loses his job, he finds work at a wholesale market. Bruno from the beverage aisle takes him under his wing and quickly becomes a fatherly friend to him. He shows him the ropes and patiently teaches him how to operate the fork lift. Among the aisles of the store, Christian meets “Sweets”-Marion. He is instantly smitten by her enigmatic charm. The coffee machine becomes their regular meeting point, and the two start getting to know each other. But Marion is married, and Christian’s feelings for her seem to remain unrequited. Christian slowly becomes a member of the wholesale market family, and his days of driving fork lifts and stacking shelves mean much more to him than meets the eye—especially when Marion does not return to work one day.

German Film Guild Award & Ecumenical Jury Award Berlin 2018
German Film Award 2018 (Best Leading Actor)

Thomas Stuber was born in 1981 in Leipzig and completed his degree in Media and Directing at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in 2011. With the short film Es geht uns gut he won the Young Talent Award of the Film Industry in Baden-Württemberg in 2006. His first feature film Teenage Angst was selected for the Berlinale/Perspektive Deutsches Kino in 2008 and won the German Young Talent Award at the Sehsüchte International Student Film Festival. In 2011 his short film Of Dogs and Horses was nominated for the First Steps Award. It won the Gold German Short Film Award and received a second prize Student-Oscar in 2012. His feature film A Heavy Heart premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the Silver German Film Award in 2016. His latest film, In the Aisles, premiered in Competition at the Berlinale 2018.

 

GHOSTS

96 min/Broomfi eld/UK/2006
Broomfield’s fictional feature film, Ghosts (2006), is based on interviews and articles gathered by the journalist Hsai-Hung Pai during her investigation into the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling tragedy. Twenty-three undocumented migrant workers from China, all unfamiliar with the geography, language and customs of the area, were drowned after being caught out by incoming tides on the extensive mud flats of Morcambe Bay. Their deaths are dramatised in Ghosts which, whilst focusing on a single doomed work crew, is the story of workers who, in desperate need to support their families in China, resort to illegal immigration to countries such as the UK where they became part of the significant number of foreign-born precariat under-class workers. Th e cockle gatherers are representative of a signifi cant class of modern slavery, being bound to criminal gang bosses by a debt servitude that leaves them unable to escape their dangerous jobs. Broomfield deftly dramatises the process in which a Chinese worker pays smugglers a significant sum of money, before taking terrible risks (such as being transported by container), in order to enter the British workforce, where they are subsequently crowded into tiny cottages and treated akin to slaves before being sent out to work in conditions and environments that are dangerous and unsupervised.
(London Labour Film festival 2017)

 

YOUNG KARL MARX, THE [LE JEUNE KARL MARX; DER JUNGE KARL MARX]

Following his documentary I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, Raoul Peck takes on the story of the formative friendship of Karl Marx (August Diehl) and Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske). From Germany to France to England, the young thinkers pursue justice for the working class, who toiled under obscenely exploitative conditions to enrich their employers (including Engels’ father, a mill owner) during the peak of the Industrial Revolution. Peck crafts an accessible biopic about these two larger-than-life thinkers, taking them down from their historicized pedestals and allowing viewers to relate to them as young strivers disrupting an inequitable status quo through the power of persuasion and organization. Official selection, 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Raoul Peck; SCR Pascal Bonitzer; PROD Nicolas Blanc, Rémi Grellety, Robert Guédiguian. Germany/France/Belgium, 2017, color, 118 min. In German, English and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Run Time: 118 Minutes
Genre: Historical drama

 

WILD MOUSE [WILDE MAUS]

A music critic in midlife crisis seeks revenge on the boss who fired him in this satirical seriocomedy, the directorial debut of actor Josef Hader (THE BONEMAN, STEFAN ZWEIG: FAREWELL TO EUROPE). Unwilling to come clean about his termination, Georg (Hader) pretends to go to work each day, but instead hangs out in Vienna’s Prater amusement park, where he befriends ride operator Erich (Georg Friedrich), previously his childhood tormentor. Georg becomes increasingly attracted to Erich’s Romanian girlfriend Nicoletta (Crina Semciuc), more alienated from his therapist wife, Johanna (Pia Hierzegger) and more aggressive in his stealth harassment of his ex-boss (Jörg Hartmann). Official Selection, 2017 Berlin Film Festival. DIR/SCR Josef Hader; PROD Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz. Austria/Germany, 2017, color, 103 min. In German and Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Run Time: 103 Minutes
Genre: Dark comedy

 

NOTHING FACTORY, THE [A FÁBRICA DE NADA]

This multilayered examination of the struggle of the blue-collar working class holds a mirror to the political landscape in contemporary Portugal, and runs the gamut from cinema vérité to neorealist musical. Employees at an elevator parts manufacturer catch thieves robbing the factory. But the thieves have been hired by the management, who soon order the workers to report for their shifts and do nothing until the company-wide layoffs can begin. Factions form around those who want to strike and save their jobs and those who just want a decent severance package. FIPRESCI Prize, 2017 Cannes Film Festival; Official Selection, 2017 Toronto, Karlovy Vary, Busan film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Pedro Pinho; SCR/PROD Tiago Hespanha, Luisa Homem, Leonor Noivo; PROD João Matos, Susana Nobre. Portugal, 2017, color, 177 min. In Portuguese and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Run Time: 177 Minutes
Genre: Drama

 

MINER, THE [RUDAR]

2018 Oscar Selection, Slovenia
Since leaving Bosnia in the 1970s, Alija (Leon Lučev) has been working as a miner in Slovenia’s Zasavje coal region. One of many migrant workers employed in a failing industry, Alija is afraid to refuse when he is tasked with opening a long-sealed mineshaft to declare it empty. When he opens the abandoned shaft, however, Alija uncovers some terrible secrets. Refusing to bow to his employers’ demands to stay quiet, Alija sets out to expose the truth. Based on a true story, Slovenian director Hanna Slak’s (BLIND SPOT) powerful third feature reveals a dark chapter in Slovenia’s history with honesty and compassion. Winner, Best Director and Best Actor, 2017 Festival of Slovenian Film. DIR/SCR Hanna Slak; PROD Miha Knific, Siniša Juričić. Slovenia/Croatia, 2017, color, 98 min. In Slovenian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Run Time: 98 Minutes
Genre: Thriller

 
Video

A BETTER LIFE

(Chris Weitz, US 2011, 98 min., 35mm)
Set in contemporary East Los Angeles the film, whose plot partially parallels that of Bicycle Thief, sympathetically depicts experiences of undocumented Mexican immigrants including manual labor, schools, gangs, family, ICE and deportation. Mexican-American actor Demián Bichir received an Oscar nomination for his moving portrayal of a father who risks everything to make una vida mejor for his son.