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to Jan. 8, 2007

Just as dour young German actress Julia Hummer is no Anne Hathaway, Ghosts is no Princess Diaries. As the plain and awkward orphan Nina, Hummer develops a crush on an older ragamuffin (Sabine Timoteo) and follows her through the vacant streets of Berlin, stealing, lying, and embracing general shiftlessness. Hope springs up when a wealthy Frenchwoman spots Nina and is convinced that she has at last located her long-lost daughter. A fairy-tale ending isn’t anywhere in the cards, however—unless you count a night spent in the comfy home of a lascivious film director. Ghosts (pictured) isn’t really the heartwarming stuff that will be getting Hummer a guest spot on The View—although she probably wouldn’t have it any other way. Hummer is one of a number of young German actresses who have decided to shun the glitz, glamour, and shallow opulence of the film community to concentrate fully on developing their craft. Seeking difficult roles that reflect their actual bodies and make use of their minds, the women of the Goethe-Institut’s “New Women in German Cinema” film series display their talents in emotionally daring films that probably wouldn’t be a first pick for Angelina Jolie. In addition to Ghosts (6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18) the series also includes 3° Colder (at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8, 2007), in which an old lover suddenly returns to the life of a happily married woman, causing her whole community of friends to question the nature of their relationships. The series runs to Saturday, Jan. 8, 2007, at the Goethe-Institut, 812 7th St. NW. $6. (202) 289-1200. (Aaron Leitko)