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    Deutschland ’09 – 13 short films about the state of the nation

    By Tanja Meding | March 31, 2009

    One of the highly anticipated films in the main section of the Berlinale was the German Anthology Collection Deutschland ’09 – 13 kurze Filme zur Lage der Nation (Germany ’09 – 13 Short Films about the State of the Nation) (Germany, 2009). Initiated and produced by Tom Tykwer and Dirk Wilutzky’s production company Herbstfilm, the film was produced by Dirk Wilutzky and Verena Rahmig. Using fact, fiction, and a few hybrids, some of Germany’s top emerging and established filmmakers offer interesting and inspiring snippets of subjects that they themselves and the German people struggle with these days.
    Dominik Graf’s thoughtful contribution Den Weg, den wir nicht zusammen gehen (The Road We Don’t Walk together) questions the quickly changing faces of inner cities’ architecture – and criticizes the demolision of old architecture This way, important parts of contemporary German history are erased.

    In Tom Tykwer’s Feierlich reist (Feierlich Travels) German actor Benno Fürmann, who could have stepped right out of a fashion commercial, travels the world as a successful business man – but other than the changing cityscapes and the color of the straw he stirs his tomato juice with, nothing else changes. He always stays at the same hotel chain, always finds  a Starbucks, is always served a glass of tomato juice by an always friendly stewardess – no matter what time of day and what corner of the world. Slick, clean and stylized, the film shows how our world has become one global brand.

    Romuald Karmakar’s documentary Ramses is focused and  provocative – the filmmaker interviews a Persian bordello owner in Berlin who talks openly about his clients,  their preferences and perversions. At the closing of the short, the camera pulls out into the street, as we hear Mahmoud Rahimzadiany talk about his dream to return home – and how much he thanks the German people for their hospitality.  An ambiguous closing remark that leaves a more bitter than sweet taste.

    Two more shorts that caught my attention were Fatih Akin’s kammerspiel Der Name Murat Kurnaz (Being Murat Kurnaz). Based on an interview Murat Kurnaz gave after his release from Guantánamo, where he was imprisoned for nearly 5 years, this short poses the urgent question why top officials in Germany failed to act faster – even though they knew about his case.

    Hans Weingartner’s Gefährter (Preventive Action), also based on a true story, focuses on a university professor with a political conscience and his fate. The film depicts how, in a paranoid system, an honest activist can easily be twisted into a terrorist suspect.

    This anthology series also features contributions by Wolfgang Becker, Sylke Enders, Christoph Hochhäusler, Nicolette Krebitz, Dani Levy, Angela Schanelec, Hans Steinbichler, and Isabelle Stever.

    For more information on the film, please visit:www.deutschland09-der-film.de

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