Iceland’s first ever German movie festival, ‘German Film Days’, commenced at Bíó Paradís last Thursday, and will go on until March 27. To get the skinny on what to expect, we called up Annika Große—DAAD Lecturer in German at the University of Iceland—who organised the event along with Bíó Paradís and the Goethe Institute.
Hi Annika! What can we expect from this first ever German movie festival in Iceland?
We will screen ten movies, three are from a Chris Kraus [director] retrospective that we are staging, and the other seven are new German films. We’ll be screening each movie three times. Most people connect German filmmaking with the big names like Herzog, Fassbinder and the like, which is of course a big part of German film history. But we will offer a wider range of films—and most of them focus on young people. There will be historical dramas as well as love stories, romantic comedies, road movies and family melodramas.
How did you choose the featured films?
Our aim was to give an account of the new, young German film culture. Not all German films are heavy, dealing with World War II or the Berlin Wall. We want to give an impression of what’s being discussed within the film industry in Germany right now. We thus chose a variety of movies, offering something for all generations. And hopefully people of all ages and inclinations will come and enjoy the movies.
Why do you think is it important to bring new German films to Iceland?
Most people only know either old classical German films or movies like ‘Goodbye, Lenin!’ and ‘The Life Of Others’. While those are great movies, we wanted to do away with persisting clichés about German films being old-fashioned, depressing, and dealing mainly with World War II or the Berlin Wall. Also, Icelanders love going to the movies: Scandinavian movies are well known here and, of course, Hollywood movies. At the Reykjavík International Film Festival, people see different films, not only the big productions and from other countries and cultural hemispheres. So, there is fertile ground in Iceland to organize a different kind of film festival, and maybe even change people’s opinions on certain countries, exhibiting different views and cultural perspectives.
Will there be a second German movie festival in Iceland?
Hopefully this will become an annual event, but maybe also just every second year. We’ll have to see how the audience reacts.
Are you selling passes to the entire festival? How much are they?
Yes! We’re selling a festival pass for all ten movies for 5.000 ISK, as well as a four-movie pass for 2.500 ISK. Otherwise, single tickets go for 1.000 ISK.
Where can Icelanders find information on the festival and the movies?
On the webpage of Bíó Paradís, of course [full programme here]. We’ve also created a Facebook event. In addition, we’re publishing a brochure that details the festival and the featured films [see below].