KINO! 2014 Revamped Festival Continues to Showcase New German Cinema in NYC

Featured Critic; New York City, New York
After its previous 35-year relationship with the Museum of Modern Art, the 2014 edition of the KINO! Festival of German Films in New York reboots in new locations, but still continues its mission of bringing notable recent German films to New York City. The festival's new home this year is the Quad Cinema, where the program will run from June 13 through June 19. This year's eclectic lineup includes features, documentaries, and award-winning shorts.

KINO! kicks off on June 12 with its opening night film, Christian Schwochow's West, which will screen at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. The festival also includes the US theatrical release of Sabine Lidl's documentary Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face, an engaging portrait of the influential photographic artist, which screens daily at the Quad during the festival.

Click through the gallery below for my reviews of some notable films in this year's festival. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit the festival's website.

WEST (Christian Schwochow) *OPENING NIGHT FILM

West is one of a number of recent German films that have explored and reexamined the experience of life on both sides of formerly divided Germany. In late-1970s East Germany, Nelly Senff (Jordis Triebel) manages to secure an exit visa to West Germany, no easy task at that time. She is carrying her young son Alexej (Tristan Gobel) in tow; she pretends to be marrying someone in the West, but she is actually trying to restart her life after the death of her husband in Russia.

However, to her dismay, instead of a better life in West Germany, she must contend with life in a dreary refugee center, where the intrusive questioning by German and American agents, as well as the general atmosphere of paranoia and mistrust, seem not that much different from the environment she’s already escaped.

While West is graced by a strong performance by Triebel, and the film well captures the feel of the period, the plotting is too often muddled with frustrating loose ends, and we often feel at a remove from the protagonist. Ultimately it pales in comparison to Christian Petzold’s Barbara, another recent German film that deals with similar subject matter.

(June 12, 6pm)

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A PactBankladyChristian AlvartChristian SchwochowDenis DercourtKINO!Nan Goldin: I Remember Your FaceSabine LidlWest

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