University of Pittsburgh
March 9, 2008

Pitt Presents German Cinema On The Edge Film Series March 28, 29 and April 4, 5

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures will present the film series German Cinema on the Edge at 7 p.m. March 28 and 29 and April 4 and 5. All screenings will be held in the auditorium of Bellefield Hall, 315 Bellefield Ave., Oakland.

The series will feature a total of five recent German films, among them Rhythm Is It, which won the 2005 Bavarian Film Award for Best Documentary, and "Vier Minuten," which won the 2007 Bavarian Film Award for Best Screenplay. Screenings are free and open to the public, and all films will have American subtitles.

A list of the screenings follows.

March 28

Kebab Connection (2005), 96 minutes, directed by Anno Saul.

Synopsis: Kebab Connection joins with such films as "Bend It Like Beckham" to humorously explore the contemporary clash of cultures and generations. This film follows the life of Ibo, a young Turkish-German aspiring filmmaker, who has just shot his first film—a commercial for his uncle's fast-food restaurant. His uncle is less than enthused about Ibo's use of ninjas to sell kebab. Ibo has also just found out that his girlfriend, Titzi, is pregnant. Ibo struggles with his own doubts about impending fatherhood and his family's disappointment—until the customers start streaming in.

March 29

Rhythm Is It (2004), 104 minutes, directed by Thomas Grube.

Synopsis: This documentary records the first big educational project of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle. The film features 250 underprivileged German students as they train to dance to Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" with the world-renowned orchestra. Seen through the eyes of three protagonists, "Rhythm Is It" follows the teenagers' perseverance during three months of rehearsals and the overall development of a professional performance.

April 4

Vier Minuten [Four Minutes] (2006), 112 minutes, directed by Chris Kraus.

Synopsis: This film follows Traude, a piano teacher, who has been giving piano lessons in a women's prison for decades. She meets Jenny, a reserved young woman convicted of murder, who was once considered a child musical prodigy. Traude's attempt to guide her pupil to victory in a music competition leads to a difficult, contradictory relationship between the two women.

April 5

Wohnkomplex [Residential Complex] (2005), 29 minutes, directed by Rita Bakacs.

Synopsis: This film provides a glance into Halle-Neustadt, a city in the former German Democratic Republic, not 20 years after German reunification. In the midst of urban ruins, mass unemployment, and empty buildings vacated by those who went elsewhere for jobs and a better life, former GDR citizens find themselves living next to asylum seekers from all over the world. The film shows how the city that was once designed as a socialist model town has become a shrinking metropolis.

Yella (2007), 88 minutes, directed by Christian Petzold.

Synopsis: This film follows Yella, who flees her failed marriage and broken dreams to start over again in Hanover. By chance she finds work with a determined young executive named Philipp and enters a ruthless world of big business and cutthroat boardroom deals for which she finds her looks, quick wits, and icy demeanor major assets. Just as Yella seems poised to fully realize her ambitions, she finds herself haunted by truths from the past that threaten to destroy her new life.

For more information on the screenings of these films, contact Randall Halle, Klaus W. Jonas Professor of German and Film Studies, at 412-648-2614.