Film Festival Depicts Authentic German Culture

Erika Riedel, Staff Writer

German students visited the Castro movie theater to view 2 German films, My Brother Simple and Rock My Heart. The screening were part of the Berlin Film Festival, which was attended by many Bay Area high school students on February 8. This was the first time the field trip included a double feature.

The festival was presented by the Goethe Institute, an organization that funds and promotes the study of German worldwide.

According to freshman Eva Khalil, the annual film festivals give students a better insight to German culture. “Going to see people using the language in real-world situations was really cool and seeing the things we learn in class up on a big screen was also really neat. It also helps internalize if for me a little bit to see an actual conversation happening,” she said. “You get to join a bunch of other schools and watch incredible films from an amazing country and you can experience the culture with your whole class.”

Junior Sydney Bagley, who has attended the film festival for the past 2 years, said, “It’s a fun time to get away from school for a little bit but still be able to be open to German culture and to be open to normal German people.”

German teacher David Blumberg, who organizes the field trips each year, said, “It’s a really good way to practice listening comprehension to learn how to understand German. It’s more than that it’s definitely about the language but it’s also about the culture and there is a lot of culture that is related to films. These films we just saw, you also got a glimpse into 2 different regions in Germany and we got an idea of what the countryside looks like, what the language is specific areas sounds like.”

“It was good to be able to see 2 movies instead of 1 because we got to compare and contrast them but at the same time we didn’t get a lot of time for lunch,” said Bagley. “It was better than other years because if you didn’t like one movie than there is another one you would like in return.”

Not everyone appreciated the long format of the trip however. “The experience was good but I feel like 2 movies is a bit too long. I’d rather watch 1 movie and go do something else on a field trip than watching 2 movies,” said freshman Ahn Tuan Hoang.

The 1st film, My Brother Simple, depicted the story of 2 brothers, 1 of who had a mental disability, as they journeyed through Germany. Rock My Heart entailed a story of a teenage girl with a heart condition and her unique relationship with horses that helped her cope with her illness.

“Freshmen year’s movie was interesting but these movies, a lot of people connected them to American films that had been made. One of them was really similar to the movie, The Fault in Our Stars where there were 2 teenagers who had heart problems and they were relatable to things that were happening in American culture as well,” said Bagley.

“This year’s movies were my least favorite but they were still very interesting. The last 2 years had some of the most incredible pieces I’ve ever seen and they give you a true insight into the German culture,” said Khalil.

“I think in general they enjoyed it,” said Blumberg, despite students’ mixed reviews. “They saw that the films had value even if they didn’t think they were fantastic films in every way. They had some really good things going for them.”