Juliane Kohler

Juliane Kohler

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Juliane Köhler - Juliane Köhler 59th annual Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) Berlin, Germany - Reception for Adam Resurrected (Ein Leben fur ein Leben) at Hotel Kempinski Saturday 7th February 2009

Nowhere In Africa Review


Very Good
The latest film from director Caroline Link follows a young Jewish family from Germany to Kenya as they flee the Nazi regime at the onset of World War II. Far from being yet another war epic, this adaptation of Stefanie Zweig's autobiographical novel deals primarily with the trials and triumphs of starting a new life in a foreign land. As young Regina (played by Lea Kurka and Karoline Eckertz) grows up in the company of the Pokot tribe, her parents Jettel (Juliane Köhler) and Walter (Merab Ninidze) must learn to cope with their waning love for one another and the fact that they may never see their families again.

That the movie focuses mainly on the characters rather than the war gives this story its strength. Kurka and Eckertz both give skillful performances as Regina in her respective stages of adolescence. The character comes off as being not only blissfully innocent but fiercely intelligent. When the Pokot children teach her how to warm her feet in cow dung, or when she gathers everyone around for a story about angels, you can't help but wonder whether the tribe still talks about Stefanie Zweig so many years later. Likewise, when she debates with her tribal boyfriend about whether she should remove her blouse in order to more freely climb a tree (the way any Pokot teenager might do), we're presented with a clever example of culture clash.

Continue reading: Nowhere In Africa Review

Aimée & Jaguar Review


OK
There's no Aimée and no Jaguar in this oh-so-serious German production about a lesbian Jew named Felice (Maria Schrader) and the very German mother-of-four (Juliane Köhler) she falls in love with all during the Battle of Berlin. Through interminable repetition, we watch this unlikely romance develop while the Gestapo tracks down Felice and she plays nice with her underground lesbian films. Based on a true story, though that doesn't really make it all that compelling.

Downfall Review


OK
Is it possible to make a film about Hitler and his regime's final days without humanizing the Nazis? Oliver Hirschbiegel's Downfall (Der Untergang) proves to be a harrowing recreation of the Nazi elite's last stand trapped underground by the encroaching Red Army, but on the issue of depicting its notorious cast of characters - and the gangs all here, from Hitler and the Goebbells family to Himmler, Eva Braun, Albert Speer, and Hermann Fegelein - the film is unable to avoid sentimentalizing what is, for most of the modern world, a distinctly unsentimental moment in 20th century history. One can recognize the dramatic necessity of attempting to portray such monsters with more than a blunt brushstroke, and often, Hirschbiegel's impressively expansive drama (adapted by Bernd Eichinger from both Joachim Fest's Inside Hitler's Bunker and Traudl Junge and Melissa Müller's Until the Final Hour) eerily captures the hysterical, delusional fanaticism that gripped the Nazis - and Hitler in particular - up until the very end of April 1945. But if the sight of crying Nazis and "brave" SS soldiers is the price to be paid for such a riveting portrait, one must wonder if this well-intentioned enterprise - the first German-produced film to directly confront Hitler in nearly 50 years - doesn't sabotage its own portrait of the appalling empire's collapse.

After a brief prologue that finds Hitler (Bruno Ganz) choosing Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara) - the woman who would later become the subject of the 2002 documentary Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary - as his secretary, Hirschbiegel's film whisks us away to 1945 Berlin, where der Fuhrer and company are vainly attempting to keep the Aryan dream alive from a concrete bunker deep underneath the battle-ravaged city. Hitler remains convinced, against overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the war remains winnable, and Ganz - an actor whose strength is usually found in contemplative silence - superbly brings the horrific fascist to maniacal life, balancing an exhausted, stooped posture and twitching left hand (always held behind his back) with sudden delusional tirades of mouth-frothing madness. Surrounded by increasingly cynical military officers, an unrepentant Hitler is agitated, desperate, and unable to relinquish the belief that his Nazi army will re-mobilize for a final, fatal strike against the Russians. Meanwhile, absurd and surreal last-gasp mini-dramas play out throughout the bunker, from Junge and her fellow secretary's attempts to remain optimistic and Albert Speer (Heino Ferch) and Heinrich Himmler's (Ulrich Noethen) eventual desertions to, most chillingly, Magda (Corinna Harfouch) and Joseph Goebbels' (Ulrich Matthes) plans to exterminate their six children should National Socialism crumble.

Continue reading: Downfall Review

Downfall Review


OK

For those not already versed in the lore of Adolf Hitler'sfinal days, the intimacy, immediacy and bunker-mentality minutia of "Downfall"may make for truly engrossing cinema. A detailed, historically accurateaccount that bears witness as the psychotic dreams of a 1,000-year ThirdReich slip away from its increasingly paranoid Fuehrer, this bravely matter-of-factGerman epic features uniformly powerful performances and is an eerie, vividrealization of gray-walled claustrophobia and the terror of saturationbombing. (The camera shakes in a uniquely unsettling, knock-you-off-your-bearingsway with each mortar shell.)

The fantastic Bruno Ganz (best known in the US for "Wingsof Desire") plays Hitler with a broken kind of humanity that makeshis evil subtler than expected, but by extension all the more chilling.His senior staff is accounted for nearly every moment of the detailed film,but none of them stands out except Ulrich Matthes as psychotically loyalpropaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, and Corinna Harfouch as his wife.She has the film's most disturbing scene, poisoning her children to "save"them from growing up in a world without National Socialism.

But while director Oliver Hirschbiegel ("DasExperiment") very effectively takes youdeep inside Nazi Germany's crumbling heart and brings many infamous momentsacutely to life, his film doesn't offer much in the way of new insight.The script is more of a textbook play-by-play than an examination of impulsesand psyches, and while the Hirschbiegel and his cast add those dimensionsthrough their fine work, it seems the only way he could invest the audiencein these events was by seeking out a sympathetic minor character -- inthe person of Hitler's young secretary, Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara)-- and beef up her significance.

Continue reading: Downfall Review

AimÉe & Jaguar Review


OK

Maybe I'm just thick, but the stirring and tragic lesbians-under-the-Third-Reich romantic tear-jerker "Aimée and Jaguar" seemed awfully vague to me about some important points.

For instance, it wasn't until I read the press kit that I realized one of the lovers -- pet name Jaguar, real name Felice, played by Maria Schrader -- was a part of the Jewish underground.

I knew she was Jewish, obviously. That's a large part of this based-on-fact film. It's clear that she's very secretive toward Aimée -- real name Lilly, played by Juliane Kohler -- the Nazi officer's housewife whom she befriended, seduced and fell in love with.

Continue reading: AimÉe & Jaguar Review

Juliane Kohler

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Juliane Kohler Movies

Nowhere in Africa Movie Review

Nowhere in Africa Movie Review

The latest film from director Caroline Link follows a young Jewish family from Germany to...

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Downfall Movie Review

Downfall Movie Review

For those not already versed in the lore of Adolf Hitler'sfinal days, the intimacy, immediacy...

AimÉe & Jaguar Movie Review

AimÉe & Jaguar Movie Review

Maybe I'm just thick, but the stirring and tragic lesbians-under-the-Third-Reich romantic tear-jerker "Aimée and Jaguar"...

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