KINO! 2015: A Showcase For Contemporary German Cinema

Lead Critic; Brooklyn, New York (@floatingartist)
KINO!, a celebration of contemporary German films, returns to New York for its 36th edition, setting up shop at Cinema Village in the West Village for the second year, April 9 - 16.

Selected from across the great expanse of different genres and from seasoned directors and newcomers alike, this year's edition features 10 features and 8 shorts, including new works from Christoph Hochäusler (The City Below, I am Guilty), Christian Zübert (Three Quarter Moon) and TV veteran Uwe Janson, as well as from rising stars Baran bo Odar (The Silence), Philippe Lienemann, Stephan Altricher and Neele Leana Vollmar (Vacation from Life).

In addition to the screenings, there will be panel discussions at Goethe Institut and Deutsches Haus for Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery and The Lies of the Victors with filmmakers attending.

KINO! 2015 runs April 9 - 16. Please visit Kino! 2015 website for more info and tickets.

Here are samples of five films I was able to catch:

The Lies of Victors

Christoph Höchhausler's latest is a sleek, taut political thriller in the vein of All the President's Men and Z. Florian David Fitz (also representing Tour De Force in the series) plays a hotshot reporter named Fabian who had established himself with his Afgan war coverage for the fictional Berlin magazine Die Woche (The Week).

He is digging up some dirt about PTSD and toxic poisoning in vets returning from tours in Afghanistan. He is assigned a new perky intern Nadja (Lilith Stangenberg) to help him out by his editor-in-chief. Fabian who has always worked alone, resents her company at first and throws some unrelated story at her to investigate. It turns out that the story of a man who threw himself into a lion's cage has a connection with his PTSD story. But is he getting played by everyone? Is Nadja really who she says she is?

Without ever using car chases or gun fights, Höchhausler creates an engrossing thriller. Fabian doesn't really know that a powerful firm representing a big German chemical company which has ties with the politicians, is watching his every move and feeding false leads, every step of the way. And when Fabian realizes the fact, it's already too late.

With stylish back and forth dolly shots and 360 pans and a Howard Shore resembling, tense soundtrack (expertly arranged by Benedikt Scheifer), The Lies of the Victors is a sumptuous neo-noir experience.

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