Virtual Cinema Showcases New German Films May 3, 2021
Discover the latest in German cinema with the film series “KINO! Germany NOW!” The MFAH joins Goethe Pop Up Houston and Houston Cinema Arts Society to feature two dramas via Virtual Cinema: Exile and I Was I Am I Will Be. Both focus on the protagonists’ struggles to assimilate into contemporary Germany.
Xhafer, a Kosovar immigrant working in Germany, is subjected to passive-aggressive racism at his office, where he feels he’s blamed for others’ mistakes and is constantly on the outside of an inside joke. A chilling provocation leads to his descent into paranoia and anger. These irritations have a tangible quality: Lights are bright and bleeding, and characters are always dewy with sweat. Despite his affection for his daughters and his patient wife, Nora (played by Sandra Hüller), could it be, as she suggests, that he’s not a very pleasant man? Like Michael Haneke’s Caché, this film is propelled by the mystery of who is behind Xhafer’s torment and why it is happening. Exile excels in compounding emotional paper cuts to create larger scars.
• “Exile” / WATCH HERE May 14 to 23. Your ticket ($10) supports the MFAH and provides a 24-hour pass to the film.
I Was I Am I Will Be
The opening montage features photocopied passports, multiple translated languages, and a wedding that seems to be as unromantic and transactional as possible. I Was I Am I Will Be flashes back to identify the newlyweds. Marion, an airline pilot who has just received a cancer diagnosis, goes on a trip with her lover to a Turkish resort, where she encounters Baran, a sex worker. There’s a connection between them, and she decides to mentor him, assisting him with immigrating to Germany. It’s clear Baran wants to settle down, whereas Marion wants to get back in the cockpit. The film’s title is spoken by Baran as he learns verbs in German, yet it also becomes a mantra for this marriage of convenience. The shallow-focus photography reflects how the characters don’t feel connected to each other or the world around them. The leads greatly impress: They are very much like the proverbial ships passing in the night, yet the time they share is special.
• “I Was I Am I Will Be” / WATCH HERE May 14 to 23. Your ticket ($10) supports the MFAH and provides a 24-hour pass to the film.
About the Author
Ross Holzschuh, a recent University of Houston graduate, is a lifelong film lover. His main focus of study is literature and its film adaptations, specifically Gothic romance.
“KINO! Germany NOW! 2021 Discover New Talent” is presented by the German Film Office, an initiative of the Goethe-Institut and German Films.
Special thanks to our promotional partner Houston Cinema Arts Society.