In memoriam: Wolfgang Petersen (1941–2022). “He made it big in Hollywood, but he’s best remembered for a harrowing, Oscar-nominated German film set inside a U-boat in World War II.”  (The New York Times, 8/16/22; The Guardian, 8/19/22)

The Habsburg empress Elisabeth is enjoying a 21st-century media moment—but this isn’t your grandma’s Sisi.  (The Guardian, 7/8/22)

Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire is newly restored and back in theaters, and it’s only gotten more poignant and lovely over time.  (The Guardian, 6/22/22; British Film Institute, 7/4/22)

Not so banal after all: Hours of old tape recordings—once inaccessible to Israeli prosecutors, but now the basis of a new documentary—expose Adolf Eichmann’s “visceral, ideological antisemitism, his zeal for hunting down Jews and his role in the mechanics of mass murder.”  (The New York Times, 7/4/22)

Life is (still) a cabaret: Bob Fosse’s brilliantly dark movie musical about late Weimar Berlin is now fifty years old.  (The Boston Globe, 2/5/22; The Conversation, 2/10/22; The Guardian, 2/13/22)

In memoriam: Hardy Kruger (1928–2022), international film star. He “was the most visible German-born actor on American screens” for much of the 1960s and 70s.  (The Guardian, 1/20/22; The New York Times, 1/20/22)

Nina Gladitz, director of the 1982 documentary Time of Darkness and Silence, spent the rest of her life consumed by Leni Riefenstahl, “in the attempt to find evidence that would finally, conclusively, condemn” the notorious filmmaker as a knowing perpetrator.  (The Guardian, 12/9/21)

“In modern Germany, Krimis are everywhere. More than 3,000 new crime novels are published every year, and the deluge of crime shows (both televised and theatrical), murder mystery dinners, and crime fiction festivals is near constant.”  (Foreign Policy, 10/24/21; New Books in German, 11/14/21)

Frank Schätzing’s environmental thriller Der Schwarm is becoming The Swarm, an eight-part series on ZDF. In a first for the public broadcaster, the original production will be dubbed or subtitled for German audiences. (The Hollywood Reporter, 6/16/21; The Guardian, 10/8/21)

Did we really need an eight-part remake of Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo? We’re about to find out.  (The Guardian, 2/19/21)

Actress Barbara Sukowa “has played a lot of headstrong women in her 40-year career”; Helena Zengel is just getting started. Don’t miss their on-screen work.  (The New York Times, 12/30/20; The New York Times, 2/5/21)

“I come from a world that didn’t tell me anything about myself”: 185 LGBTQ actors published a joint manifesto in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, calling for a change in attitudes and greater representation in scripts.  (Deutsche Welle, 2/5/21;  The Hollywood Reporter, 2/5/21)

“Like operagoers across the generations, filmmakers have had trouble deciding whether Wagner is an exhaustible store of wonder or a bottomless well of hate. But that uncertainty also mirrors the film industry’s own ambiguous role as an incubator of heroic fantasies, which can serve a wide range of political ends.”  (The New Yorker, 8/24/20)

A bestselling book about Angela Merkel’s response to the European refugee crisis (Die Getriebenen) has since inspired a popular TV movie. “Any attempt to understand the legacy of the summer of 2015 must reckon with both works—and the crucial differences between them.”  (Foreign Policy, 8/23/20)

Scott Calonico’s short documentary Betrayal tells “the story of how the flight of an East German spy affected the family members he left behind.”  (The New Yorker, 8/5/20)

“In 1986 a treasure trove of German film posters from the first four decades of film history were found, profoundly damaged by a fire, in the mine where they had remained for forty years.” Many of the restored posters are now on display at the Deutsche Kinemathek and in its online gallery.  (MUBI Notebook, 7/17/20)

An 8-part German-Danish TV series, filmed in 2019, shows how the fictitious North Sea island of Sløborn descends into chaos as a mysterious virus takes hold.  (The Guardian, 7/27/20)

“The damaged first-world-war veteran and the refugee traumatised by his journey across the ocean, both of whom have the hubris to say: ‘I belong not on the fringes, but the heart of society.'” Director Burhan Qurbani explains his reimagining of the classic modernist novel Berlin Alexanderplatz.  (The Hollywood Reporter, 2/28/20; The Guardian, 7/17/20)

A terrific line-up of new German films should be heading your way soon, including a celebration of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, “an expressionistic thriller set in 1920s Vienna, a tale of Nazi seduction and a new Thomas Mann adaptation.”  (Variety, 6/23/20)

Dr. Mabuse the Gambler, directed by Fritz Lang, “was a lightning bolt that crackled across the stormy sky of Weimar Germany.” You have the time, says J. Hoberman, give it a try!  (The New York Times, 5/6/20)

Berlin’s Windowflicks project “is redefining the term ‘home cinema’ by bringing together local communities at a time of isolation, through the power of film.”  (The Guardian, 5/7/20)

“What happens to people when they are being denied the right to unconditional love?” Nora Fingscheidt’s System Crasher, about a troubled child in a troubled system of care, has swept the 2020 German Film Awards.  (The Guardian, 3/4/20; New Statesman, 3/25/20; Deutsche Welle, 4/25/20)

Babylon Berlin is back! Germany’s “first TV blockbuster of the streaming era returns for its third season, promising more murder and mystery in the turbulent days of the Weimar era.”  (The Guardian, 12/19/19; The Guardian, 4/10/20)

“Part scary movie, part avant-garde, part Surrealist fever dream, Caligari still feels profoundly modern.” Robert Wiene’s silent masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari opened in Berlin on February 26, 1920. (The Conversation, 2/25/20)

“Lacking the nail-biting suspense that the story would seem to call for, Balloon quickly deflates.”  (The Wrap, 2/19/20; The Hollywood Reporter, 2/20/20)