After a two-year hiatus, the American Cinematheque's annual survey of innovative and challenging new German films returned to the newly renovated historic Egyptian in Hollywood. Built by Sid Graumann and opened in 1922, the Egyptian Theater - the first of the city's premier movie palaces - was bought and renovated by the American Cinematheque in 1998 and has been its new home since. NEW FILMS FROM GERMANY, presented in association with the Export-Union of German Cinema and the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, screened seven features and NEUE VISIONS, a program of shorts from some of Germany's freshest talents. The showcase included the US premieres of Dany Levi's THE GIRAFFE, a political thriller about seemingly-unrelated crimes against two Jewish families; and Andreas Dresen's NIGHT SHAPES, a hard-edged comedy set in today's Berlin, the night the Pope is in town.
Los Angeles premieres included Hans-Christian Schmid's 23, a thriller based on a notorious case of electronic espionage during the 1980s; and BANDITS, a high-spirited musical comedy by Katja von Garnier. The cinematheque also presented Rainer Kaufmann's THE PHARMACIST, an acerbic tale full of depraved twists and murderous turns; SHORT SHARP SHOCK , Fatih Akin's powerful story about three friends caught in a trap of their own making; and Nina Grosse's FEUERREITER a sumptuous film about the passionate life of the Romantic poet Friedrich Hölderlin.
Audiences had the opportunity to meet filmmakers Katja von Garnier and Hans-Christian Schmid, actress Katja Riemann and script-writer Michael Gutmann. The Foundation for European-American Relations' Villa Aurora - once Lion Feuchtwanger's villa and preferred meeting place for European exiles until the early fifties - welcomed American and German film professionals for an informal get-together during the event.
BANDITS (Stratosphere), slated for an August release, will join other German films such as THE TRIO (Attitude Films), RUN LOLA RUN (Sony Classics) and THE HARMONISTS (Miramax) that have been theatrically released in the United States this year.
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