The 19th edition of Film Neu, the Goethe-Institut’s annual weeklong festival of German, Austrian, and Swiss films opens Friday at the Landmark E Street Cinema with Feo Aladag‘s When We Leave. The story of a young Turkish woman shuttled between an abusive husband in Istanbul and her dismissive family in Berlin, Aladag’s debut feature has been an awards magnet so far, winning the top prize at the Tribeca Film Festival and being selected as Germany’s submission to the 83rd Academy Awards.
When We Leave star Sibil Kekilli first garnered critical adoration with her turn in Fatih Akin‘s 2004 film Head-On as a suicidal libertine. In that role and others Kekilli has established herself as perhaps the go-to actor in portraying the many struggles faced by immigrants in an increasingly hostile Europe. In When We Leave, she gives what Variety critic Derek Elley called a performance full of “quiet strength marbled with inbred loyalties.”
Other films playing during Film Neu include Mahler on the Couch, an imagining of the eponymous composer’s couple’s therapy sessions with Sigmund Freud, and an adaptation of the novel The Day of the Catstarring Bruno Ganz—best known for playing Hitler in Downfall, aka the movie ripped off for all those Hitler YouTube parodies—as an embattled Swiss president.
When We Leave plays at 7 and 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21 at Landmark E Street Cinema, 555 11th Street NW. (202) 452-7672. $8/10. See here for all Film Neu screeings.
Édgar Ramirez‘s turn as Carlos the Jackal in Olivier Assayas‘ five-hour saga Carlos was not to be missed. That it premiered first as a miniseries on French television is the only reason—and a pretty poor one at that—it is ineligible for any Academy Awards. (Though it did snag a Golden Globe on Sunday.) As the Jackal, Ramirez transforms from the playboy assassin the West feared in the 1970s into the paunchy middle-aged man Ilich Ramírez Sánchez was at the time of his arrest in 1994. Lusty and violent, this epic biopic drops the usual expository speeches in favor of a melange of three decades peppered with sex, death, and other forms of self-indulgence.
Since its original airing Carlos was reconfigured into multiple single-sitting versions, including a 2-hour-45-minute cut playing tonight at the Avalon Theatre. The short version does a fine job keeping the story intact, but do see the original 5-hour-30-minute film if possible. It’ll swallow a whole afternoon, but in an enthralling rush of espionage and destruction.
Carlos plays tonight at 8 p.m. The Avalon Theatre, 5612 Connecticut Avenue NW. (202) 966-6000. $11.