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TO JAN. 10, 2005
These films about the new Germany’s new capital adamantly refuse to provide the big picture. Indeed, this week’s offering in the six-movie series is pretty single-minded: Romuald Karmakar’s 196 BPM (pictured; at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22) is an hourlong documentary about Berlin’s technomania that includes only three shots: one of dancers outside a club, one of dancers at an outdoor beer and Red Bull stand, and one of a dancing DJ who’s spinning surprisingly mainstream fare (“House of Jealous Lovers,” “Tainted Love”). There’s a bit more sociology in Let It Rock! (at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29), a consideration of the über-hip Mitte neighborhood. Yet this documentary is also a bit perverse: It concentrates on talking-head interviews with Mitte denizens, who love, hate, or love to hate the place, and offers only fleeting glimpses of the area in question. More conventional—and fictional—is Berlin Is in Germany (at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 10), in which a former Ostie is released from an 11-year prison stint to confront a unified Berlin. Seeking employment and a connection to the son he’s never met, the film’s protagonist suffers numerous indignities, yet writer-director Hannes Stoehr manages to guide the guy to something resembling a happy ending. The best of the previewed entries is Thomas Arslan’s wispy A Fine Day (at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 3), which follows a young Turko-German woman for roughly 24 hours; she’s an aspiring actress, and it’s both witty and apt that the heroine of this rather French tale is introduced dubbing a Eric Rohmer flick. The series runs through Jan. 10, 2005 (see Showtimes for a complete schedule), at the Goethe Institut’s Goethe-Forum, 812 7th St. NW. $5. (202) 289-1200. (Mark Jenkins)