Recently the German Embassy thrilled the audience to their first German Film Festival held at the Silverbird cinema in Abuja. LEADERSHIP SUNDAY recounts the event
The 2011 German Film festival ended with the screening of five movies debut in the early 1930’s. The films are: ‘The blue Angel’ released on January 3, 1931, ‘The congress Dances’ released in 1957, ‘M-A Town Is Looking For A Murderer’ debut in 1931 while ‘Merry Heirs’ and ‘Three Men And Lillian’ also made their first appearances in 1933 and 1931 respectively. The festival was hosted by the German Embassy while viewers were admitted free at Silverbird Cinema, Abuja, the scheduled venue. Viewers, both young and old scampered to the venue to catch a glimpse of the old school movies. Apart from the films showcasing how early German film production techniques were applied, it is also about narratives set in Berlin during the world wars.
The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dorothee Janetzke-Wenzel said “a few years after the films were produced, many film makers were forced into exile during Hitler’s dictatorship. Many of them migrated to Los Angeles even as their talents led to the growth of American movie industry. Their ideas soon spread to become a true cultural connection that is reflected as a colourful cultural exchange between Berlin and Los Angeles. The movie premiered new techniques, giving them a distinctly modern aspect. She said that the film used music as a dominant element that became the highlights of early German film production. She recalled that Berlin had become a cosmopolitan cultural centre for its tolerance and creativity. “These movies from the 30s give an authentic understanding of different aspects of German history till this present time.
Describing ‘Three Men And Lillian’, the Attache for Press and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Burkard Weth said the movie centered on three young men that returned home in a luxurious convertible car only to discover that their furniture had been seized by the bailiff. He continued, “Their lawyer informed them that their bank manager had gone bankrupt and that they lost their entire fortune. Instead of bemoaning the catastrophe, they opened a petrol station that equally provided them with some luxury but didn’t make them rich. The characters, Willy, Kurt and Hans had no intention of allowing their friendship to suffer as a result of life’s caprices but with the appearance of Lillian, their friendship was shaky. Suddenly, the three fell in love with Lillian but did not discover that she took them for a ride’, he concluded.
Mr. Henry Thompson told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that he visits the cinema every weekend for relaxation as well as to catch fun. To him, the Embassy tried by organising the film festival but needed to increase their awareness ahead of the next film festival. According to him, “most people don’t visit the cinema but rather prefer to chill out in gardens and bars. The easiest way for someone to relax is to visit the cinema because, they will get to meet different categories of people and even the funny movie scenes will make them forget about their past.
Miss Juliet Ike, another viewer expressed satisfaction at the gesture and applauded the efforts of the embassy for hosting their first film festival. She stressed, “I was very delighted to watch the movie and it gave us the opportunity to watch the early German films of 30s. They really tried by admitting people for free especially at a time when many are eager to make money. I will encourage them to do more for the country.