Friday, October 28, 2011

Monsters and Critics

So, about the movies at the German Currents; I saw two, so far, and I found them both pretty impressive.

The first one was Almanya — Welcome to Germany, a comedy, and one of the highest grossing in Germany. It is written and directed by two women, Nesrin Samdereli and Yasemin Samdereli. The movie is about a Turkish migrant family, their family, and how they became Germans — mostly. The story starts out with the family patriarch claiming that he has bought a house in Turkey, and that he wants everybody to go there for the summer. Nobody is thrilled, but Cenk, his six-year-old grandson, now hears the story of his family for the first time. The movie is very heart-warming and it has hilarious moments; for instance, when the children first see a dachshound, or Jesus on a cross. It should speak to Americans, too, because many issues with the Hispanic community here are the same.

The second movie was The Poll Diaries,  an gripping story that takes place in the Baltics on the eve of World War I. At the center of the movie is 14-year-old Oda, an extraordinary girl who later becomes a famous poet; she was related to Chris Kraus, who wrote and directed the movie. Oda, who moves from Berlin to her excentric, strict, and religious father and his second wife after her mother dies (whom she is carrying with her in a coffin, together with a two-headed fetus), encounters a wounded anarchist who has fled from the Tzarist army. It is a very touching movie; and I won't give any details away.

Sadly, none of these movies has found an American distributor yet, but I hope this will happen eventually. It is wonderful to see human stories on screen.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where Is My Porsche?

So, this is all very exciting. Yesterday, I introduced Berlinica at the German Currents Film Festival in Hollywood; on Hollywood Boulevard. I talked to a lot of people, one of which nabbed a book, but I‘m taking this as a good sign. I also made serious plans to produce and/or write a movie or two; I will keep you posted. The movie we saw was Almanya, a very successful German comedy, for the first time in the United States. I had the impression everybody liked it.

I will be in Santa Monica at the Aero Theatre tonight again with my books.

The weather is marvelously wonderful; in the morning, I wake up in my little hotel, steps from the beach, in Venice, while the sun is already shining, birds are singing, and aging Hippies are skateboarding. It's like being in Californication, the series, just without the sex, the Porsche, the money, the drugs, and David Duchovny hanging out in the bar right next to me.

Only parking space is scarce. Also, my cell doesn't work, I was told due to the proximity of the ocean.

Monday, October 24, 2011

German Currents

Whoever wants to see a publisher in person (i. e. me): I will be at the German Currents Film Festival in Los Angeles; presenting my books, among them, but not limited to The Berlin Wall Today, our newest book about, yes, the Berlin Wall and what's left of it (in color), starting Wednesday.

The German Currents will take place at the Egyptian Theatre at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, and the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, 1328 Montana Avenue. I hope to see y'all there (I‘ve just been in Texas).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

California, Here I Come

Or, much rather, I am already here. I will be introducing Berlinica, especially our newest book, The Berlin Wall Today, in Los Angeles, within the German Currents, a German Film Festival presented by the Goethe Institute, at the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, and the Areo Theatre in Santa Monica. That'll start on October 26.

So far, I did a tour up the coast to Oxnard (where I used to live as a child) with my little brother. Oxnard is somewhat remote from L.A., and not really that prosperous. It has a tremendous amount of pawn shops, never a good sign, and really not much else except Chinese and Mexican restaurants, albeit a huge Marina. I‘m not sure whether all those boats are belonging to locals, though. When I used to live there, there was not a single Hispanic kid in elementary school, now it's like 50 percent. On the way back there were numerous lots for sale in Malibu, so far out of my reach, I reckon.

In Downtown L. A. they also are occupying something, right in front of City Hall. The neighborhood is a bit scary, but it's a couple of hundred people in tents, so they should be safe. In New York, Occupy Wall Street seemed a lot more fun and outgoing, I must say. They were also occupying Venice Beach, at least two people were, with a banner. No a lot of bankers down there either.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Berlin's Mary-Jane

Berlin has one new inhabitant: Kirsten Dunst. The actress, mostly known as Mary-Jane from Spider-Man, has acquired German citizenship. That was reported by a number of German papers today after she had made an annoucment at a London press conference with Lars von Trier.

Dunst's fathers Klaus was born in Germany,  he has still relatives in Hamburg, and her mother is Swedisch. Kirsten Dunst herself. however, does not want to move to Hamburg, but much rather to Berlin, because the city is "so much younger and so much more is happening there". The 29-year old actress, who speakes some "children's German" would also like to play in a German movie, preferably as Marlene Dietrich. She did keep her American citizenship as well, though.


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