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Let me invite you to the (home) cinema!
Here are some films I've seen numerous times and can still see over and over again.
Titles available on DVD have the covers next to the text. Cover photos are with kind permission
s from the corresponding publishers; detail on the respective DVD is available via clicking onto the respective cover photo.

Fanny and Alexander DVD The Criterion Collection
Available on DVD from The Criterion Collection
Fanny and Alexander/Fanny und Alexander (1982)
Family drama where a mother of three children, after her husband, a theatre director, dies, marries a bishop who's an incarnation of principle and intolerance. She tries to escape, but finds him erecting sort of a virtual prison around her and her children. In this situation she cries for help to her family. While the Ekhdal family may include fallen and crazy characters they all know what to do if any one of them is in urgent need of help.

Actually, the film comprises much more than that dry storyline: Love, mystery, trust and most of all tolerance. One of those quite rare films causing me really to think about myself. Besides, it is just a visual masterpiece. If I would have to nominate just one film as a favourite - it would be this one. By directing legend Ingmar Bergman.
Das Piano - DVD by Kinowelt
Available on DVD from Kinowelt
The Piano / Das Piano (1993)
A mute young women from Scotland is married to a man from New Zealand she's never seen before. After arrival with her illegitimate daughter she finds her husband Stewart completely unable to understand her, notably her deep relation to her piano as a substitute for her lost voice. Eventually, their neighbor Baines gets an idea what the piano means to her. This marks the beginning of a complex sexual relation between Ada, Baines and Stewart unavoidably resulting in a catastrophe.

The Piano became a bestseller and won three Oscars (Holly Hunter, Anna Paquin, and director Jane Campion). An essential component is the great score by Michael Nyman.
Amy und die Wildgänse - DVD by Sony Home Entertainment
Available on DVD from Kinowelt
Fly away home / Amy und die Wildgänse (1996)
After Amy's mother dies in a car crash in New Zealand, her father takes her to Canada. There she finds some geese eggs and takes them home. After they hatch their "parents" were scared away because of building measures, thus Amy is their only mother. In fall they have to migrate and someone has to show them the way South. Amy's father suggests using an ultra light plane for guiding them, however, these geese do not follow him but Amy...

Director, Carroll Ballard, should be thanked for this poetic and touching film. Wonderful music by Mark Isham (unfortunately never released on CD!), beautiful aerial photos and a splendid performance by young Anna Paquin.
Hilary and Jackie - DVD by Universal Home Entertainment
Available on DVD from Universal Home Entertainment
Hilary and Jackie (1998)
Life and death of famous Cellist Hilary du Pre. Actually, however, the film is much more, contrasting her concept of life in limelight with that of her sister Jackie in a tight family in the country. Based on a fine and very sensible book written by Hilary du Pre on the life of her sister. Wonderful soundtrack including sequences of Edward Elgar's cello concerto in e minor, which du Pre became famous with.

Directed by Anand Tucker. With Emily Watson as Hilary du Pre.
Mulholland Drive - DVD by Concorde Home Entertainment
Available on DVD from Concorde Home Entertainment
Mulholland Drive (2001)
Two girls meet in LA, one being there for a casting and the other one just survived a strange car crash. In the course of time their lives become twisted more and more... One of the mystery films by famous director David Lynch. The film is full of symbols to decrypt and there are several ways to understand it.

Contrary to most David Lynch films, perhaps (a little) less violent but more visually appealing. With Naomi Watts in a great part.
Jane Eyre - DVD by Cineplus
Available on DVD from Cineplus
Jane Eyre (1996)
Jane Eyre, a young orphan, grows up at her loveless aunt. Later, she's sent to an orphan asylum with very strict rules. After living there for ten years she gets a position as a private teacher - the first time she is not mistreated but taken on an equal basis. Even more, the master of the house seems to develop some interest in her. However, there is a secret about him and the house...

Based on the classic novel by Charlotte Bronte. While critics had different opinions on this 1996 version, I plainly love it. One of the numerous masterpieces by director Franco Zeffirelli. With Anna Paquin, William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Nachtgestalten -  DVD by Kinowelt
Available on DVD from Kinowelt
Nachtgestalten / Night Shapes (1999)
A homeless couple, a client in search for a working girl, and an unsuccessful business man, who picked up a coloured boy at the airport during one night while the Pope (virtually) visits Berlin. A film throwing light onto a few people living on the shady side of Berlin. 

Directed by exceptional German director Andreas Dresen with a remarkable sense for human dignity of underprivileged. With Susanne Bormann in a demanding, but outstanding performance.
Verbotene Liebe (C) DEFA-Stiftung
DEFA-Stiftung, with kind permission
Verbotene Liebe / Forbidden love (1989)
18-year old Georg and 13-year old Barbara have been playing together as children. Play becomes love later, which leads to a catastrophe, as their parents are hostile (like Romeo's and Juliet's) leading to file a report to the court, as Barbara is still under age. One of the last DEFA productions, and one to remember. Finally available on DVD from absolut medien.

Directed by Helmut Dziuba. With Julia Brendler aged 14 (!) at the time of shooting - none of her later parts comes close.

Drei Farben: Blau - DVD by Concorde Home Entertainment
Available on DVD from Concorde Home Entertainment
Three colors: Blue / Drei Farben: Blau (1993)
A woman has to find back into life, after her husband, a famous composer, and her daughter were killed in a car accident. While trying to reconstruct some work of her husband, she makes quite unexpected discoveries on his life.

By director legend Krzystof Kieslowski. With Juliette Binoche in an exceptional performance - perhaps the best ever, as far as I can judge. Augmented by a wonderful score by Zbigniew Preisner.

Raus aus Amal - DVD by Concorde Home Entertainment
Available on DVD from Concorde Home Entertainment
Fucking Åmål / Raus aus Åmål (1998)
Åmål is a small insignificant Swedish town where nothing ever happens. Young Elin has a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to guys. Another girl in her school, Agnes, is in love with her but is too shy to do anything about it. - Was a great hit in Sweden, but passed nearly unnoticed in Germany.

Directed by Lukas Moodysson who became famous for that film. With Rebecka Liljeberg, who unfortunately, dropped out of film business later.
Der Himmel über Berlin - DVD by Kinowelt
Available on DVD from Kinowelt
Der Himmel über Berlin / Wings of Desire (1987)
Two angels land over Berlin as a (yet) divided town. They take you by the hand and learn you carefully watching of detail. Finally, one of them becomes uneasy with his state and wants to change immortality for love to a human girl. The red line is a Poem "When the child was a child" by Peter Handke.

A wonderfully poetic and sensitive film by Wim Wenders. With Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander, and Solveig Dommartin. Later US re-make City of Angels was mediocre compared to the original.
Der Ruhm meines Vaters - DVD by Kinowelt
Available on DVD from Kinowelt
Der Ruhm meines Vaters - Das Schloss meiner Mutter /
La Gloire de mon père - Le Château de ma mère
Scenes from the childhood and youth of Marcel Pagnol (who became an important figure for French Cinema later) around 1900 in the French Provence. After his autobiographic novel trilogy, worth reading as well. A lively description of childhood in good old times, you literally see the glow of the highlands, you hear the cicadas, smell the lavender. You feel Marcel's feelings for his first love Isabel - and get an impression what values a truly good friend and a working family can be. Pure luck to see.

One of the very rare DVDs rated 5/5 stars by users at Amazon.de, and I'd certainly rate it 5, too. Directed by Yves Robert with a remarkable cinematography by Robert Alazraki and a wonderful catch song score by Vladimir Cosma.
Before Sunrise - DVD by Warner Home Video
Available on DVD from Warner Home Video
Before Sunrise (1995)
A young American and a French Girl meet in a train. Just after a few words on "where" and "to" and "grandfather" they find there is something between them. American Jesse, having booked a plane from Vienna for the next day, asks Celine from France to get out with him for a short stay in Vienna. So they pay a visit to some famous places (and some not so famous ones like the cemetery of nameless). Neither do they have money nor a hotel - but they find a way to enjoy the stay despite. There's such a perfect chemistry between Jesse and Celine, when I first saw this film, I fell in love with the couple - and with Vienna! - immediately.

One of the rare movies receiving 100% at Rottentomatoes. Directed by Richard Linklater with a wonderful and lovely Julie Delpie and Ethan Hawke. There are two sequels "Before Sunset" and "Before Midnight" by the same team, which are nice, too, but don't reach the first part, I think.
Reqiem - DVD by Warner Home Video
Available on DVD from Warner Home Video
Requiem (2006)
Michaela is a young girl raised in a strictly religious family in Southern Germany. She is epileptic but her father and finally her mother, too, agree her to study in Tuebingen. She starts as a normal student, makes friend with a fellow and gets a boy-friend, too. However, she gets more and more under the impression of being obsessed. While her fellow suggests going to a psychiatrist, she follows the suggestion of her boy-friend who brings her home. There she contacts a local priest who suggests an exorcism - with a fatal end.

Hard to believe, but this is (very) loosely after a true case - Annelise Michel - just a few years ago. Sandra Hüller is excellent as Michaela. Directed by Hans-Christian Schmid, won several prices - fully deserved.
Das weiße Band - DVD by Warner Home Video
Available on DVD from Warner Home Video
Das weiße Band / The white ribbon (2009)
Do you recall your grandma's talk on "good old times"? I do, usually it was the time before WWI under our beloved emperor Wilhelm II. Michael Hanecke, director of The White Ribbon, shows the truth - or should I say his truth - on the time. The film starts with a crime: A wire over the way brought the horse of the doctor to fall, which is only the first one of a series of mysterious events to follow in a small Northern German village. The cases were never really solved, however, it's evident local children were always not far. Children, who were raised under puritanical, if not to say inhumane regimes under the priest, the teacher - and her parents.

The story alone is captivating; however the film excels in (contrasting) beautiful b/w pictures and a wonderful cinematography, too. Won the Golden Palm in Cannes und numerous more prices - a true masterpiece.
Les Miserables -Universal Pictures International Germany GmbH
DVD/BluRay available from from Universal Home Entertainment 
Melancholia (2011)
A wedding in a luxurious mansion seems to be under a bad star with nearly anything going wrong. Guests start debate, Justine (Kirsten Dunst - fascinating), the bride, becomes more and more depressive and her husband finally leaves her. Cut. In part two Justine lives with her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her family. A planet called Melancholia is said to hit Earth shortly. While Claire and her husband get more and more depressive, it's just Justine who starts to handle the situation, in a sense. However, the end comes unavoidable and holds a picture, I for one will never forget.

Sounds like a crazy story? It is. Nonetheless, the way it is told and the pictures make it overwhelming. Reportedly, director Lars von Tries as well as main actress Kirsten Dunst had gone through personal crises before -  which you'll believe after having seen Melancholia.
Melancholia - DVD by Concorde Home Entertainment
Available on DVD from Concorde Home Entertainment
Les Miserables (2012)
This was a film I was waiting for for ages. My first contact with the story was an excerpt on Gavroche in my school storybook. From Bille August's 1998 feature over the 2004 Berlin stage production I had growing hope the Musical would appear on screen one day. I was thrilled to see, Tom Hooper did plainly all right to produce one of the best films I have ever seen. The cast is outstanding, and life singing of the actors added a lot to the captivation. While the pure soundtrack on CD/MP3 may shine a bit less than a studio production, it is perfect in conjunction with the pictures with even nearly speechless phrases adding to the emotion. While the film starts and ends with big longs shots, it benefits much from the numerous close-ups. An additional bonus is the touching end. As in many theaters, I experienced the audience sitting unable to leave during the credits.

Les Miserables got 3 Oscars including one, fully deserved, for Anne Hathaway as Fantine. If the Academy had asked me (unfortunately they didn't), I'd sure added a few more including for director Tom Hooper. At least I spent 10/10 in the IMDb, which I very rarely do.
Carol (2016)
There are more than enough same-sex films produced nowadays, but this one directed by Todd Haynes sticks out of the mass. Therese works as a shop-girl in a big department store in New York in the 1950s, it's a few days before Christmas. Suddenly one of her customers, Carol, an elegant lady, catches her eyes. Somehow that lady seems to find "something" about her as well and this is it. Carol forgets her gloves at the counter, they meet again, and they both find, life could have more in store, perhaps, than just being bound to an unloved husband, or boy-friend.

Distribution by DCM

This is not so much a film on same-sex, and certainly not on fighting for sexual emancipation. It's just about love, braking out, freedom, trying something new, giving room for suppressed desire, and more.

The story is adapted from a book by Patricia Highsmith worth reading as well. Cate Blanchett is wonderfully elegant yet passionate as Carol, but  Rooney Mara as Therese with her shy, suppressed desire simply blew me away. Add the wonderful soundtrack by Carter Burwell, the carefully portrayed historical setting, the wonderfully nostalgic Cinematography. Like a German film site says: "That something like this still does exist..." 

Petite Maman - Als wir Kinder waren (2021)

Petite Maman - Als wir Kinder waren
Distribution by Alamodefilm
Eight year old Nelly just lost her beloved Grandma, and the family is clearing the house. Her mother Marion is depressive and departs leaving Nelly with her father alone. While the father is busy she ranges the near wood where she meets a girl named Marion looking quite similar to her. Together they build a tree-cabin and they share a passion for role-playing. It soon becomes clear that there seems to be a mystery between the two with Nelly being able look into the future of Marion.

Director Céline Sciamma who also wrote the book, tells an enchanting story about two girls having their lives twisted. I feel I shouldn't tell more not to destroy the magic you may feel when watching the film for the first time.

Quite deserved, this received and won a number of nominations and awards, as you can find in the relevant Wikipedia article.

Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen / Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything  (2023)

Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen
Distribution by Pandora Film
The setting is a farm in Eastern Germany at 1990, but this isn't one more film about the Eastern German "Wende" but one about a love, deep, burning and burning away.

18-years old Maria lives with her friend Johannes at the farm of his family. Both are in love, and the family is accepting her as just another child. However, while Johannes is successful in school, Maria prefers to skip hers, day-dream and rather reading Tolstoi's "Brothers Karamasov". Johannes is tender and loving towards Maria, but at a point starts to neglect her for his new passion being photography, which he intends to pursue professionally finally. When Maria meets Henner, the solitary owner of the neighboring farm being twice her age, it's just one touch starting a fire which inevitably will lead to a disaster.

The heart-breaking story about the wild force of love by Emily Atef with an amazing Marlene Burow and Felix Kramer as Maria and Henner was nominated for the Berlinale Golden Bear in 2023. Some (including me) think it really should have deserved a price. The storyline is based on the bestseller by Daniela Krien with the same title, being worth reading as well. Unfortunately, the producers of the film were not brave enough to transfer Maria's age of just being 16 from the book.

The Quiet Girl  (2023)

The quiet girl
Distribution by good!movies
As simple as it is, this is the best film I've watched for a long time. Cáit (Catherine Clinch) is a neglected girl from a family where the father is drinking and the mother being overburdened from the four children with the next underway. They give the girl - which doesn't speak much - to a related couple living alone, over Summer. There she finds kindness, care, and love and is blossoming out. She learns things in the household from the spouse (Carrie Crowley) and later on the ranch from the husband (Andrew Bennett).

And she is told there are no secrets in this house. However, a neighbor will open a dark one to her at a point - but now she is strong enough to stand the truth.

Catherine Clinch as Cáit drew me into this film when I saw the trailer for the first time, and I had to watch it in the theater twice in a row. It's a "quiet" film with long takes and wonderful sentences like "She says as much as she needs to say".

This Irish jewel is based on a book "Foster" by Claire Keegan ("Das dritte Licht" in German language) which is fine reading as well. It only lacks that girl, though...

DVD/Theater Images with kind permissions from the distributors/producers.
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