This year’s German Film Festival gets heavy with politics to celebrate turning 21

Surprise surprise; another film festival. Keep track here, or just mark your dates for this one, happening Nov 2-12 across various venues in Singapore. In its 21st edition, the German Film Festival presented by the Goethe-Institut Singapore is very aptly growing up and getting woke in focusing on films that confront contemporary issues and universal messages. Heads up: that means gritty films on politics, global migration and debates on education systems, for starters.

Presenting over 30 films spanning the genres of art-house, comedy, documentary and even music films, the festival aims to spring new perspectives through films that tell stories beyond borders. Western, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, will open the festival with a narrative about prejudice, language barriers and cultural differences, set provocatively in the region between Bulgaria and Greece (border conflicts? Oh you don’t say); Welcome to Germany takes the border drama further in an unlikely comedic look at the refugee situation facing Europe; and the documentary Happy veers closely to drama in exploring the relationship economics of filmmaker Carolin Genreith’s divorced father and a woman he met in Thailand. Of course, there are also the light-hearted comedies that deal with love and other fancies; a riveting 21-minute short titled 90 Degrees North is a little less pleasant, but deals with the topic of jaywalking in an inventively poignant way.

As an added attraction, a category of new cinematic content by local film students will be screened during the festival as well. Led by Singaporean filmmaker K Rajagopal, the program will feature shorts from students from Lasalle’s Puttnam School of Film and Animation, created in response to the works of German directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Fatih Akin. It’s a good opportunity to start supporting up-and-coming local talent, or to just treat yourself to a good, alternative film.  

Tickets go on sale Oct 19, and you can find more information here.