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AUG. 23 & 30
As anyone who’s attended the Goethe Institut’s annual “New Films From Germany” series knows, German directors do make comedies. Take, for example, Manitou’s Shoe, a 2001 box-office smash that—OK, forget that one. Memories of the juvenile cowboys-and-Indians farce are not likely to encourage any non-German to attend a program of Teutonic comedies. Better to evoke the work of Doris Dörrie, who specializes in satires of mixed-up middle-class strivers. The two Dörrie films that got D.C. theatrical runs, Men and Enlightenment Guaranteed, offer a rueful worldview that continues in her 1998 film Am I Beautiful?, part of Goethe’s “Summer Comedies” series. Set in Germany and Spain, the film follows a group of bewildered would-be lovers (including Senta Berger and Franka Potente) who break up, meander, and reattach, alternately with old lovers and their pals’ exes. With a scenario that includes an attempted suicide and a medical disaster, the movie is clearly not a sweet little romp. Mating rituals also drive Katja von Garnier’s 1993 film Making Up (pictured), a 55-minute film that features two best friends with different attitudes toward relationships. One woman is called Frenzy, but it’s her chum Maischa, a nurse, who’s crazed to have a boyfriend. She falls for handsome Rene as soon as she meets him, and she arranges a date for Frenzy, who’s a struggling cartoonist, with Rene’s buddy, Mark. Faster than you can say “Tracy-Hepburn,” Frenzy and Mark are experiencing the kind of movie animosity that usually leads to movie romance. Am I Beautiful? screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 23, and Making Up and The Coriolis Effect screen at 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 30, at the Goethe Institut, 812 7th St. NW. $5. (202) 289-1200. (Mark Jenkins)