Last Friday a friend invited me as her guest to the 19th annual Berlin & Beyond film festival in San Francisco. My in-laws (yep, I am taken) read in a German newspaper that the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival is the largest German film festival outside of Germany. I think they were spot on!
German “Hollywood” Royalty captured the attention of the international audience at the festival. Hannelore Elsner, known as the Sophia Lauren of Germany received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Acting. At her side was director Doris Dörrie, known for her work on “Kirschblüten – Hanami” (Cherry Blossom) and “Männer” (Men). Sam Schneider an up and coming actor and the infamous Ronald Zehrfeld, or as I like to tell Americans he is the “Russel Crowe” of Germany. Ronald, I hope you are okay with that? If not, we can talk later.
The film we viewed at the Castro Theater “Inzwischen Wellten” (Inbetween Worlds) stars Ronald Zehrfeld. If you have never visited the Castro Theater in San Francisco, it’s a must in my book. In my opinion it is timeless and the decor resembles the Golden Age of Hollywood.
The genre for the film was war. By the end of the film silence fell on the audience. I to was held captive by the stirring of thoughts war delivered to me. T.S. Eliot divulged, “War is not a life: it is a situation, One which may be neither ignored or accepted.”
The message was clear and authentic, caught up between worlds. Please read the synopsis here for yourself.
Some films are easy to critique and say “it could’ve or should’ve” or “eh it was okay” but this was not one of those. Director Feo Aladag chose the perfect location, Afghanistan. I wonder if my reaction to the film would differ if it was filmed in a studio or the Mojave Desert and then called it “Afghanistan.”
Following the film, Ronald Zehrfeld answered questions from the audience. He told stories both in German and in English how he interviewed and was trained by German soldiers for his role as Jesper. He elaborated how the cast from Afghanistan made the difference for him.
It was an unbelievable experience and opportunity to be had. The fun doesn’t stop here. My friend and I hopped on the shuttle bus to the after party. Come back next week, read the story and see the photos.