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5 German Movies You should Watch!

1. The Lives of Others

Year: 2007 Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck Language: German The Lives of Others is a cleverly constructed film about an East German spy who surveils a playwright suspected of sympathizing with the West. He bugs the man’s house, listens to his every peep and writes daily reports. But as he listens, he begins to have reservations about the mission. We never learn much about the spy, although he’s the center of the movie, and writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck relies almost entirely on an ambiguous, minimally expressive performance from his star to keep the man’s changing sympathies plausible. Von Donnersmarck has a number of genuinely good ideas, building interesting, complex set pieces but then knocks them out of alignment, like a jeweler wearing boxing gloves—he has so little trust in the audience’s ability to keep up with the plot twists that he often explains them two or three times. Still this is an intermittently engrossing film about bad-spies-gone-good. —Robert Davis

2. Victoria

Year: 2015 Director: Sebastian Schipper

In the mood for an impeccably crafted real-life thriller? This movie is for you. On the way out of a nightclub, Victoria runs into four raucous German men who convince her to hang out with them. She is from Spain and has been temporarily living in Berlin. Her German isn’t great, but her English is passable. She shares some drinks with her new friends and strikes up a flirtation with one of them. But what starts out as light-hearted hijinks at 4:30 am eventually swerves into darker and more dangerous territory, as Victoria is coerced into participating in her German companions’ dangerous plans. While the plot may sound like your standard-issue crime drama, Victoria turns out to be something a little different, due to the thrilling and unusual way it was filmed – in a single shot. The “one take” filming process could be viewed as a stunt, but in this case, it works wonders to serve the story. The tension built from the tightrope walk of the actors and filming crew adds to the ratcheting tension of the storyline. Laia Costa gives an astounding lead performance. There is not a single scene in Victoria where she is not present, and the movie would simply not work without her. A crazy, awesome movie.

3. Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Year: 1997

Director: Thomas Jahn Not Rated | 87 min | Action, Crime, Comedy

Two terminally ill patients escape from a hospital, steal a car and rush towards the sea.

4. The Wave

Year: 2008

Director: Dennis Ganzel

Not Rated | 107 min | Drama, Thriller

A high school teacher's experiment to demonstrate to his students what life is like under a dictatorship spins horribly out of control when he forms a social unit with a life of its own.

5. The Experiment

Year: 2001

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel

R | 120 min | Drama, Thriller

For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.

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