Collage Talks: Bettina Kinski from the German Film Festival

25 KM/H and Gundermann are among the top picks from German Film Festival Director Bettina Kinski.

After its success last year, Palace Cinema has again partnered with the Goethe Institute to screen an array of films for the 2019 German Film Festival, which runs until 12 June. 

The festival’s director Bettina Kinski told Collage that it was the first time many of the films were being shown in Australia.

“All of our 31 films, besides two exceptions, are Australian premieres,” Bettina said.

As well as being new films, this year’s line-up covers important current and historical events.

“We’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this year,” Bettina said, “This is why we picked our opening night film, Balloon.”

Balloon (2018), which recounts an attempt to flee East Germany via a hot air balloon at the height of the Cold War, is part of the Festival’s special program called Tear Down the Walls.

“With this program strand, we included films about the GDR, the east side of Germany,” explained Bettina.

One of those films is Andreas Dresen’s Gundemann (2018), which, along with “smart comedy” 25 KM/H (2018), Bettina regards among her favourites, calling it “a very moving portrait of Gerhard Gundemann, an East German folksinger and writer.”

With the dominant presence of Hollywood in our cinemas, foreign language films such as those screening in this festival can offer a refreshing point of view.

“Films are always reflecting the society they’re created and produced within,” Bettina said, “These films talk about German culture, German history, even German humour. People get the chance to learn about Germany.” And film festivals can offer more than the opportunity to view those films.

“Festivals create community, spaces where people meet, and talk and get to know each other, get to understand each other. I think this is for me the most important thing about festivals in general.”

That experience can be enjoyed at Palace Nova Cinemas Eastend or Prospect. A program is available here.

Daniel McLean

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