Ask someone to name a German movie, and most people will likely draw a blank. If they're clued in, they may know Das Boot or Lola Rennt. If they studied German in high school, they'll probably have heard of Goodbye, Lenin! or Das Leben der Anderen. And most of us at least know Der Untergang from the parody videos. This hasn't changed much recently, but two films that have come out in the last year should be of special interest to future students, especially those who who'd like pursue their interest in film here.
Alles wird gut was produced by director Patrick Vollrath during his studies at the Vienna Film Academy, and was Austria's 2016 representative at the Academy Awards, losing out to Stutterer for Best Live Action Short. It tells the story of a father who has lost custody of his young daughter and is desperate to find a way to spend time with her, even it means breaking the law and her trust.
Set in Vienna, Alles wird gut follows in the Austrian capital's storied history as a setting for great films. The Film Academy is an important part of this history, having hosted some of Austria's most important directors, including previous Academy Award nominee Götz Spielmann (for 2008's Revanche). It is also the only institution of higher learning offering university-level film-making courses in Austria.
Victoria has found a different kind of success than Alles wird gut since it's original release at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, 2015. Released countrywide the following summer, it was disqualified from Oscar consideration (for foreign language submissions) because of it's high English content.
Director Sebastian Schipper discusses this and the making of the film, which was financed with public funds, on KCRW's The Business, a podcast about films and filmmaking. Schipper studied originally at the Otto Falckenberg Schule in Munich, which offers a degree in acting. He's been featured in some films that Americans would recognize, like Run, Lola, Run, but this is definitely his biggest directly accomplishment to date.
Victoria is also worth checking out is for those of us not interested in studying film or acting. Set in Mitte and filmed entirely in one two-hour take, it provides a great snapshot of what it's like to live in Berlin as a young twenty-something Ausländer.