Insider guide to Melbourne’s German Film Festival

Christoph Mucher German Film Festival

The German Film Festival returns to Melbourne in May with a selection of hits from the 2024 Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale). For a wunderbar taste of the best films on offer, here’s an insider’s guide from one of Germany’s leading cultural ambassadors in Australia, Goethe Institut director Christoph Mücher (pictured).

1. FROM HILDE, WITH LOVE

Just another film about Nazi Germany? Definitely not. No uniforms, no swastikas, no soldiers shouting  “Achtung”. Instead, a touching story of an everyday young woman who decides to follow her heart and her conscience in troubled times and resist – even if it costs her life. Masterfully told by one of Germany’s best and most decorated filmmakers who is looking forward to discussing his latest film with you when visiting Australia for the German Film Festival. A real gem – fresh from the Berlin Film Festival.

2. TONI ERDMANN

When I worked for the Goethe-Institut in Boston I heard everybody in Germany raving about “Toni Erdmann”, the new film by acclaimed filmmaker Maren Ade. I finally managed to see it on the plane home to Munich resenting the small screen, but at least…. After a few minutes tears of laughter started rolling and kept rolling for the next 80 minutes. The stewardess looked increasingly worried but who cares when you are having a great time. Try it yourself! And look out for the remarkable Sandra Huller as the daughter, in the first film that really made her name.

3. FOREIGN LANGUAGE

One of the advantages of living in the dense network of countries and languages in Europe is the possibility to discover new worlds when crossing the border. No better opportunity than the visits to your partner school. The excitement to try out your language skills, experience other ways of thinking… and of course to immediately fall in love. Just as it happens to Fanny and Lena in Claire Burger’s wonderful movie “Langue Etrangère”. Coming of Age at its best.

Foreign Language German Film Festival

4. DARK SATELLITES

Loneliness is a growing problem in our hectic world. Britain even created a “Ministry for Loneliness”. The protagonists in Thomas Stuber’s beautiful film move quietly like satellites in the night of Leipzig. Yet they try to escape their programmed paths by daring new encounters. A subtle and delicate film full of empathy for unglamourous people in their daily struggle. Based on the novels of famous “Indie-auteur” Clemens Meyer and realized with an amazing crew of star actresses and actors.

Dark Satelites, German Film Festival

5. THE FLYING CLASSROOM

When last visiting friends and family in Germany it was heartwarming to see my niece’s 10-year-old daughter Hannah reading Erich Kaestner’s “Flying Classroom”, the compelling story of five friends in a boarding school first published 90 years ago. Quality persists (great news!), and it is no surprise that the book has served four times as source for a movie. The versions from 1954, 1973, 2003, 2023 remain faithful to the original while adapting subtly to recent changes in our world. A mirror of our times. Beautiful new and fresh “Flying Classroom” by Swedish Director Carolina Hellsgard. Great movie for families.


Melbourne’s German Film Festival will screen from May 10-29 at Palace Cinema Como, The Astor Theatre, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, The Kino and Pentridge Cinema. Make bookings and get more information here.

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Insider guide to Melbourne’s German Film Festival