Saturday, November 14
Hans Ullrich Krause
Veit Helmer, Nicola Susser
Pieter Budak, Nora Borner, Benno Furmann, Fritzi Haberlandt, Christian Harting, Henriette Kratochwil, Charlotte Robig, Alexander Scheer, Mio Mattis Weise, Justin Wilke, Rolf Zacher
Veit Helmer is a true oddity, a creative mind whose films might well have been unearthed from a time capsule buried during the era of silent comedy. Born in Hanover in 1968, Helmer spent much of his childhood watching Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd and by the age of 14 had already made his first film. He studied at Munich’s School of Television and Film, and made quirky shorts throughout his time there, such as the highly inventive Surprise! (1995). When Wim Wenders, a professor of his, decided to make a film based on one of his students’ screenplays, he chose Helmer’s submission. The resulting film, A Trick of the Light, playfully combined documentary and fiction and displayed the retro visual style which has become Helmer’s trademark. In 1999, Helmer made his feature debut with Tuvalu, a festival hit about a crumbling bathhouse which was almost dialogue-free, was shot in color and black-and white, and tonally recalled both vintage silent comedies and the films of Jeunet and Caro. In 2003, Helmer followed it up with the much more conventional Gate to Heaven, a romantic comedy about illegal immigrants in Germany set in the present day.