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Burghart Klaussner Audi Festival of German Films Interview

Burghart Klaussner Audi Festival of German Films Interview

In 2011 the Audi Festival of German Films will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a spectacular programme of 39 contemporary and classic German films and documentaries throughout April.

A national event, the Festival has continued to grow in popularity since its first outing in 2002 and in 2010 attracted more than 26,000 attendees - a testimony to Germany's place at the forefront of international cinema.

The 2011 programme will be divided into three sections; German Currents, featuring the best of contemporary German cinema, Radical Docs - an eclectic selection of documentaries, and Retro 2001-2011, which will showcase 10 of Germany's most acclaimed movies of the last decade, many of which have never before screened in Australia.

"It's looking good," said Klaus Krischok, director of the Festival and Goethe-Institut Australia. "In addition to 33 feature films, we're very excited about this year's focus on documentaries, which has been made possible through our cooperation with ZDF/ARTE."

In Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, the Festival will open with Goethe! - a sumptuous costume drama in the style of Shakespeare in Love, whilst Melbourne and Perth opening night audiences will be treated to a screening of the award-winning Vincent Goes to Sea, which focuses on the adventures of three lost souls on a life-altering journey.

This year, the Festival's Sydney season will close with a screening of iconic filmmaker WimWenders' new film Pina, a tribute to dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, which will be staged at Sydney Opera House and followed by a Q&A session with Wim Wenders who will be a guest of the Festival. This once in a lifetime event will take place on Sunday 17 April.

Additional 2011 Festival highlights include:
Almanya (Director: Yasemin Samdereli): The surprise smash-comedy of the 2011 Berlinale: When a Turkish family leave their home after 30 years in Germany the question arises: Who am I - a German or a Turk?
Close To You (Director: Almut Getto): What happens when an emotionally blank young man meets an exuberant blind girl? Will his pet tortoise remain the only living thing he really loves - or he will he break out of his shell?
Goethe! (Director: Phillip Stölzl): A gorgeous costume drama focusing on the youthful loves and sorrows of the young Goethe - starring Alexander Fehling (Inglorious Bastards).
Julia's Disappearance (Director: Christoph Schaub): An entertaining and sophisticated meditation on getting old, feeling young and everything in between, starring Corinna Harfouch and Bruno Ganz.
Nagna Parbat (Director: Joseph Vilsmaier): Based on a true story and a thrilling real-life adventure, this mountain drama takes you to the top of the Himalayas and into the abyss of human guilt.
Single By Contract (Director: Mark Rothermund): A fresh and funny romantic comedy with positive girl-power messages and a clutch of toe- tapping tunes - when an unsuspecting girl falls in love with megastar.
The Day I Was Not Born (Director: Florian Cossen): A compelling combination of personal and political histories set in Germany and Argentina: Who am I? This remains the most fundamental question of all.
The Murder Farm (Director: Bettina Oberli): Keeping its secrets well hidden and building to a suspenseful climax, this stylish drama will take you well beyond the romantic facades of an alpine village.
The Poll Diaries (Director: Chris Kraus): A deeply moving drama and fascinating history lesson, set on the Baltic coast pre WWI: The world changes - but is the old guard willing to change in it?
The Weissensee Saga- A Berlin Love Story (Director: Friedemann Fromm): Romeo and Juliet behind the Wall face unexpected challenges in this family battle of two opposing political creeds.
Vincent Wants to Sea (Director: Ralf Huettner): A lively and entertaining adventure in which three damaged souls face up to themselves and overcome the psychoses of the seemingly normal world.

Proud sponsors of the 2011 Audi Festival of German Fillms include AUDI Australia, along with Lufthansa, Schwarzkopf, Fresenius Medical Care, Bayer Health Care, World Movies, SBS and DB Schenker.

Festival Dates
Sydney: 6 - 18 April Chauvel Cinema, Palace Norton Street
Melbourne: 7 - 18 April Palace Cinema Como, Kino Cinemas
Brisbane: 7 - 12 April Palace Centro Cinema
Adelaide: 13 - 18 April Palace Nova Eastend Cinema
Perth: 14 - 18 April Cinema Paradiso

Please see: for the full program.

Interview with Burghart Klaussner

Burghart Klaussner one of Germany's most esteemed actors will launch the Audi Festival of German Films in Sydney and accompany screenings in Melbourne.

A household name in his native country Burghart Klaussner has appeared in more than 50 German feature films since 1983, with major roles in such international hits as Goodbye Lenin!, The Edukators, Requiem, Yella and The Reader, alongside Kate Winslett and David Gross, plus director MichaelHaneke's award-winning thriller, The White Ribbon.

His performance as 'the Pastor' in Haneke's masterpiece earned Burghart Klaussner the award for 'Outstanding Individual Achievement: Actor' at the 2010 German Film Awards - Germany's equivalent to the Oscars.

Burghart Klaussner, who is fluent in English, stars in three films within this year's Festival programme, namely Requiem (2006), The Silence (2010) and Goethe! (2010) and will introduce select Festival screenings of those features in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Question: How does it feel to be launching the Audi Festival of German Films?

Burghart Klaussner: I was invited to Australia to attend the Audi Festival of German Films and luckily I had the time to come, I was invited last year for the film, The White Ribbon, but I could not attend, though. This time I was able to come, to Australia and launch the festival.

Question: You star in three of the films at this years Audi Festival of German Films can you tell us about them?

Burghart Klaussner: Sure. One of them is running as a retrospective and it is a film we made nearly ten years ago about a German family, it is a true story, it really happened and it is about a girl who thinks the devil is in her, it is an exorcist story. I play the part of the father and it's not an exorcist film from Hollywood, it is much more realistic and the case really happened which is frightening. The girl in the film dies, of course, because they have such strong measures for her. It is a strong film, it was very well reviewed in Germany and it is called Requiem.

I also play the role of a father, in the film called Goethe! which is about a poet called Johann Wolfgang von Goethe but nobody knew exactly what he did, so we made this film to show him as a young man who falls in love, it is really a quiet nice historical, costume film where I wear a wonderful wig, myself. After the love story Goethe wrote his novel Die Leiden des jungen Werthers or The Sorrows of Young Werther. Werther is a last name and the novel is a bestseller, these days. Goethe! is all about the outcoming of Goethe as a poet through love; it is a nice film.

The third film is The Silence which is a sad story about a crime in Germany which was repeated some 23 years later, in the same way, at the same place and of course by the same man but we don't know why it happened in the exact same way. A retired inspector was responsible for the crime, 23 years earlier; he wants to find out why it is happening, again. The Silence is a preeminent mystery story with a wide range of very good German actors, what we call an ensemble film.

Question: Can you talk about starring in the The Reader alongside Kate Winslett?

Burghart Klaussner: I played the role of the judge, in the middle of the film. The Reader was shot in Germany and we gave some German money for the film which is why German actors featured in the film. The Reader is a German story which takes place in Germany in the 1950's and then later in the 1970's and 1980's. I play the role of a judge who I had seen on television some decades ago when the first big tribunals were held about the Holocaust, there is a certain kind of judge who is, in a way, a pioneer for the tribunals because some of these judges personally fought to make these tribunals take place, it was really a task to begin the tribunals. I played a historical figure and it was nice to work with Hollywood people not only Kate Winslett but the director, Stephen Daldry who also made The Hours and Billy Elliot.

Interview by Brooke Hunter


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