24 movie tips for the Christmas season

Keep your distance, wrap up at home and enjoy culture in a different way! Our digital film tip advent calendar provides a cinema substitute on the way to the festive meal. 24 x cinema culture, insider tips and past festival pearls from the recommendation box of LICHTER.
In no way do we want to advertise the couch, but merely help to enrich the time in solitude with films that actually have to be watched in the cinema. Because - MISSION STATEMENT: Good movies belong in the cinema, basta!

Black Christmas

Serial killer in Santa costume - need we say more? Okay, one more sentence: Christmas is mightily spoiled for a group of young women from a college dorm after the first murder case. 

""Black Christmas"" from 1974 is our last Advent calendar tip, an atmospherically dense horror work that set new standards at the time. Rolling Stone wrote about the slasher classic: ""a psychological horror trip to feel uncomfortable"". 

Mmmmhhh... But the many shock moments also have their good: According to a study by the University of Westminster, watching a horror movie burns more calories. Our Christmas Eve recommendation therefore: first feast, then scary diet. For our part, we're going to get really comfy at Christmas (and beyond) and watch some good movies! Have a good time and enjoy yourselves!

Day of Short Films

"Hallelujah! The shortest day of the year can only mean that the end of this hair-raising year is not too long in coming. Besides the last festive preparations, however, today should still be taken for another little door of our Advent calendar: Today only, completely free of charge and best curated: corona-compliant short film watching on the occasion of the shortest day of the year.

Under the motto #wirkommenzueuch, seven different short film programs can be streamed free of charge today at https://kurzfilmtag.com/, the perfect selection for all ages and tastes guaranteed. 

Also included: the multiple award-winning short film "Beige", about the tendency of older people to said color, which is only at second glance a self-deprecating generational study - by former LICHTER juror and long-time festival friend Sylvie Hohlbaum."

Das Neue Testament (The New Testament)

"Briefly for classification: Milo Rau is the guy who has been directing plays almost daily since 2002 and who is actually only missing the Order of Merit to make his collection of famous German awards complete. Let's disregard the fact that Rau is actually Swiss and devote ourselves to his occasional activity as a film director, because real superstars can do everything: theater, film, art and literature. Among his best-known films to date is ""The Congo Tribunal"" from 2017, in which Milo Rau succeeds in gathering victims, perpetrators, witnesses and analysts of the Congo war into a unique civilian tribunal of the people in eastern Congo. The film also gained notoriety because, in an insane feat of strength, all those involved put together a transmedia accompanying project with a tour, symposia and an interactive internet project, touring across the world for months.

And now? New film, different omens! ""The New Gospel"" is about Jesus in the 21st century. What kind of speaker would he have been, what kind of impact would he have made and what would his keynotes have been? So short, so good. 

About the film: Jesus Revisited - of course you want to see it immediately, because it should be clear to everyone that a lot of the Jesus stuff has fallen out of time. 2000 years ago the world was also shit, but just different. For "The New Gospel", Rau went to the same place where Paolo Pasolini and Mel Gibson shot their passion films, namely the southern Italian town of Matera, which is supposed to look confusingly similar to ancient Jerusalem. ""Coincidentally,"" the largest refugee camp in Italy was also located there during the shoot. The film centers on political activist Yvan Sagnet (Jesus), who shares his story of injustice and inequality with the people stranded there (disciples), who work for a pittance in the tomato fields of southern Italy, where they live in ghettos under inhumane conditions. Together they found the "Revolt of Dignity" ("The Revolt of Dignity"). ""The New Gospel"" is a highly political project that skillfully combines theater, film and experimentation. 

And the portents? The very big hoopla was not possible this time because of Corona; no theatrical release (yet), no tour, no bonus material. Originally, the film was supposed to be released on the big screen today, but now it can be seen online. Tickets for it are available on the website https://dasneueevangelium.de/.

By the way, the cinemas will share in the box-office takings. When buying an online ticket, the viewer chooses which cinema he wants to participate in. Off to the Watchlist!"

Tripping with Nils Frahm

Let's start with a headline to an essay titled "The Day the Live Concert Returns." In it, David Grohl, lead singer of the band Foo Fighters, tells why no YouTube clip in the world can replace concert experiences. "There is nothing like the energy and atmosphere of live music. It is the most life-affirming experience, to see your favorite performer onstage, in the flesh, rather than as a one-dimensional image glowing in your lap as you spiral down a midnight YouTube wormhole." Right he is. So why all the concerts and live streams to marvel at online in recent months? Of course, a little goosebump feeling spreads when you see your favorite acts on stage and can dream of better times. Just in time for Christmas, live albums have just been released by The War On Drugs ("Live Drugs"), the Arctic Monkeys ("Live at Royal Albert Hall") and - well - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (Idiot prayer: Nick Cave alone at Alexandra Palace), who in wallowing melancholy didn't even want to appear to be in a good mood and shut out the audience. ByteFM has compiled the best 2020 concert streams for you, and tracked down Lizzo's Quarantine performance at "One World Together At Home" as a big 2020 streaming highlight. We chose Nils Frahm, who is not necessarily one of our favorite musicians - however, "Tripping with Nils Frahm," an extraordinary concert film was released this December that captured his performance at the Funkhaus in Berlin with a seven-person camera crew. It was directed by filmmaker Benoit Toulemonde and can be seen on the highly recommended streaming service MUBI. So, now you are spoiled for choice!


Beach Bum

The weather is gray, tempers are frayed. Fun is nowhere to be found in this strange December month of 2020. A short trip to Florida should help. First place in the "Most Underrated" category this year goes to BEACH BUM by Harmony Korine starring Matthew McConaughey, Isla Fisher and Snoop Dogg. Torn apart by critics, ignored by audiences, this film, completely over-the-top in both color and content, is the perfect guide to serenity. We quote the "hardcore hedonist" himself: "Fun is my motivation. I like boats, the water and sunshine" (Moondog). The steep thesis, which could be verified in a self-experiment, is: cinema works like a (winter) sunbath and releases vital happiness hormones. It worked for BEACH BUM! But one can also recognize in it "a rather precise snapshot of the intellectual situation of our epoch and a farce about the state of affairs of capitalism, and its consequences," as the film critic Rüdiger Suchsland wrote. By the way, he also thought the film was great!

Who streams BEACH BUM? https://www.werstreamt.es/film/details/1593749/beach-bum

What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire?

Roberto Minervini is undoubtedly one of the best documentary filmmakers of our time. With "Louisiana - The Other Side," which ran in LICHTER's international program in 2016, he opened a door that leads to the abyss of contemporary America: to "white trash," America's lost white underclass. With his new work, Minervini heads to Louisiana. He discarded the original plan to make a documentary about the music of the 1930s during his research in light of the omnipresent violence against blacks he encountered there. In intimate (and outstanding) black-and-white images, he shows with a lot of profundity the people behind the demand #blacklivesmatter and what their everyday struggle against racism looks like. The Nuremberg-based film distributor Grandfilm decided back in the summer to make the distribution catalog available as VOD and share the revenue with the cinemas. Their motto: "Cinematography is the backbone of cinema". We join them in saying, "Long live cinema!" 



First closed cinemas, then empty halls because summer was beckoning outside: this year, some film highlights did not spark the storms of enthusiasm at the box office that they deserved. WAVES - the entire LICHTER team agrees - is one of them. In a masterful interplay of colors, sounds and lighting, Trey Edward Shults tells a deeply moving story about a family tragedy. We're not used to anything else from A24, yet this film completely blew us away. Of course, it's actually a must-see for the big screen, but it's (almost) just as beautiful in the home theater. And we promise, you won't be able to get rid of the catchy soundtrack until Christmas! Available on Amazon Prime.

Uncut Gems

The second door opens...

Get up to speed on Sandler! Without a doubt a gem and already a milestone in the "Manhattan Classics" series. What a cinematic event! Movie event? Wait a minute, there was something? Ah yes, the posts from Netflix make cinema and then release it just for the couch. Couch bouncer and chancentod in one, yes, it's possible thanks to Netflix! Hardly a film held the world at the beginning of the year as "Uncut Gems" directed by Josh and Benny Safdie. The pair of brothers doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry yet, and yet they're on the verge of beating Ethan and Joel Coen to the punch. At least in the category "most exciting director brothers of the world". Cult!

On the Rocks

We have demanded a lot of you in the last 23 days, recommended high cinematic art, entertaining and have built many bridges to current social challenges. Or as a well-known American columnist recently put it: ""Filmmaking today is always an act of resistance, whether the subject of these films is explicitly political or not". This would also explain a core concern of our festival. But our Advent Calendar was also a tribute to the narrative power of cinema, to great stories and small anecdotes in Corona Year 2020. 

One who can tell stories like no other is Sofia Coppola, actress, screenwriter and director of wonderful films like ""Lost in Translation"" and ""The Virgin Suicides"". For ""On The Rocks"" she once again brought Bill Murray out of retirement and put him alongside Rashida Jones. Coppola is also a superstar in film craft: rhythm and structure, script, the atmosphere - you have to look closely to discover inconsistencies. In addition, the unique acting of Bill Murray is once again convincing here, who probably would have believably realized his role of the aged playboy even without direction.

"On The Rocks" is available to watch on Apple TV+

Schlaf (Sleep)

Like many other films, SLEEP was thwarted by the second wave. Originally, Michael Venu's debut film was supposed to open in German theaters on October 29. But just a few days later, public cultural life came to a standstill. The film quickly landed as VOD at the Salzgeber Club. Fortunately, it is a rarity in the German film landscape. A horror film that sets out to come to terms with German horrors from the past. A roller coaster ride between nightmare and reality, family history and abysmal fairy tale romance. Sandra Hüller and Gro Swantje Kohlhof as the mysterious mother-daughter duo not only confront their own traumatic fears, but at the same time reflect social practices of repression. What comes together here is the best proof: German genre cinema can serve more than the classic expectations. 

Half of the income Salzgeber generates from SCHLAF goes to partner cinemas throughout Germany. And here's another hot tip: More than 200 films from the distributor's repertoire are now available on the Salzgeber Club VOD platform. We'll have plenty of time to browse in the next few weeks. 

Click here to stream SCHLAF: https://www.salzgeber.de/schlaf


Window Numero 16: 

A young woman returns for a funeral service to remote Bacurau, a fantasy place in inland Brazil invented by the film's directors. It literally disappears from the map overnight - but mysterious figures from the big city suddenly appear and not far away Michael (Udo Kier) sends privileged maniacs on a manhunt. A confrontation between humanity, post-colonial structures, bare capitalism and imperialist cleansing seems inevitable. Apocalyptic things are brewing in Bacurau....

Mendoça Filho is one of the sharpest political filmmakers in contemporary Brazilian cinema, and Bacurau underscores the importance he places on his commitment to opposing the current Brazilian government and its willful erasure of the country's culture and heritage. "Bacurau," which premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival and was Brazil's entry for the 2020 Oscars the following year, is sure to be one of this year's LIGHTER highlights under the annual theme of POWER and can be marveled at on MUBI."


If filmmaker Lisa Charlotte Friederich and her partner, the studied trumpeter and film musician Rike Huy, were to follow their own story, illegal film screenings in an old vaulted cellar in Frankfurt-Oberrad would probably be the logical consequence. Maybe that's the good part of the story, that our society has not yet arrived at this point. At LICHTER ON DEMAND, their debut film LIVE won the top prize in April, including a Bembel; now, three days ago, it was virtually released on the streaming platform Kino on Demand. LIVE can also be seen on all other popular portals, which is many things, but above all it is, in an almost eerie way, a prediction of what has become reality since the end of 2019, since Wuhan, since Covid-19 and the state-imposed lockdown under different auspices. The film is about the world in a near future: encounters with other people and any form of cultural life may only... oh, what are we talking about! You already know the rest. Background information can be found on Zeit Online: "Fiction creeps into reality" (https://www.zeit.de/.../live-film-lockdown-dystopie...) If you would like to experience the two likeable all-rounders once again in the LICHTER interview, take a look at the corresponding contribution by and with Stefan Müller on our YouTube channel. The link can be found in the comment field. Click here to go directly to the film:



Behind the tenth door is a trip to Hollywood in the 1930s:

The washed-up and alcoholic Herman J. Mankiewicz is commissioned by a young up-and-coming director to write a screenplay about the rise and fall of a media mongrel who perishes from his lust for power. The client is none other than Orson Welles - Mankiewicz's script will become the basis for his directorial debut "Citizen Kane," known to be the best film of all time. David Fincher now recounts the making of this legendary classic in "Mank," his first feature film since "Gone Girl" six years ago.

As Rüdiger Suchsland aptly notes on Artechock, "This is not a film about the making of Citizen Kane. This is a film in which David Fincher reflects on his own work and its mythologies." And it shows: "Mank" is Fincher's heartfelt project, a film about filmmaking that stares at intertextuality. Not just for Fincher fans and cinephiles, but for everyone else, too: A dramaturgical and cinematic highlight on the last meters of this year, which can be streamed on Netflix.

Berlin Alexanderplatz

When Burhan Qurbani and actress and director Maryam Zaree ("Born in Evin") celebrated the Hesse premiere of "Shahada" at the LICHTER Film Festival in 2010, it was clear to us that we were dealing with two extraordinary talents. But the fact that ten years later both of them have become indispensable in the German film landscape surprised and delighted us in equal measure. Qurbani's current film was considered by many to be the film event of the year. In "Berlin Alexanderplatz," the director transposes Alfed Döblin's novel of the century into the present and tells of flight, poverty and the world of dealers in Berlin's Hasenheide. Francis wants to arrive, but the only way to do so is to go to the fringes of society, into the arms of the petty criminal Reinhold, played congenially by Albrecht Schuch. A downward spiral of structural racism, false promises and the temptations of the new homeland takes its course. At the 70th German Film Awards in 2020, "Berlin Alexanderplatz" won five awards, including Best Cinematography/Picture Design for Yoshi Heimrath and Best Supporting Male for Albrecht Schuch.


Burger To Go + Kino To Go

All good things come in threes, now comes door 4.

Okay, advertising on our own behalf part 3, but the to-go action is just too good... Short films from Hessen? LICHTER has been showing what the Hessian short film scene has to offer for 13 years. In cooperation with freitagsküche, we have put together a best-of short film reel that once again summarizes the highlights of the last three years. Entertaining, creative, clever and thought-provoking... Humor and facetiousness meet Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich this week with homemade Super Soft Bun, homemade chili mayonnaise, pecorino, pickled onions and homemade ketchup. Burger to Go meets movie theater to go! The promotion enters its third week today and runs through Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.

Rage Against the Machine - Live at Finsbury Park

The first door opens...

Oh, those were the days. 80, 90, 100,000 fans skin to skin. What did we know about aerosols back then? For us, they were at best natural stimulants. The Rage Boys' gigantic live show in London's Finsbury Park makes us feel nostalgic, but the message is different: Hey, guys! This is our life! Sweat, love, closeness and the body smell of the others. A better world is possible! We are sure of it!

But until then, it's: Keep your distance, wrap up at home and enjoy culture in a different way! Our digital film tip advent calendar provides a cinema substitute on the way to the festive meal. 24 x cinema culture, insider tips and past festival pearls from the recommendation box of LICHTER.

In no way do we want to advertise the couch, but merely help to enrich the time in solitude with films that actually have to be watched in the cinema. Because - MISSION STATEMENT: Good movies belong in the cinema, basta!

Until 31.12. in the ARTE media library: https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/096928-002-A/rage-against-the-machine/ 

Monsieur Killerstyle

And another gem from our LICHTER festival program this year. ""Monsieur Killerstyle"" (original title: ""Deerskin"") starring Oscar winner Jean Dujardin (""The Artist""). The horror year 2020 ends for us with probably the craziest serial killer in film history. ""Monsieur Killerstyle"", however, is neither a classic horror film nor a thriller nor a comedy, but both. Above all, this film is strange, and that's exactly why it was a little insider tip at this year's Fantasy Filmfest and the opening film of the "Quinzaine des Réalisateurs" in Cannes, the most important directing competition outside the festival. 

It all starts with a fringed suede-look jacket. Buffalo Bill wore a very similar one, only this one - as the name suggests - was the buffalo's enemy. Georges (Jean Dujardin) rather likes deer and is even willing to pay 7,500 euros for a deerskin jacket. The fact that the seller gives him a cheap hand-held camera for free would not have been necessary, but it is of great importance for the course of the story. Incidentally, Jean Dujardin is joined by the congenial actress Adéle Haenel ("Portrait of a Young Woman in Flames"), a barmaid and amateur editor, who in her spare time gets a kick out of Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction". 

Director Quentin Dupieux is no longer an unknown quantity in genre circles. But he can also do music: under his pseudonym Mr. Oizo, he already became known to a broad public in the late 1990s."


Our consideration today is possibly due to the Christmas buying frenzy: Who wants to get the full enjoyment of "Aquarela", "which makes the water the main character with a special shooting technique and lets it speak without saying much"" (epd Film), should strike quickly and get a 4K TV with a 58-inch screen for the perfect home cinema experience. But it doesn't have to be. A laptop or tube TV will do just as well! For his documentary, Russian director Victor Kossakovsky and cameraman Ben Bernhard went to seven different countries around the world to capture - there's no other way to put it - sensational natural landscapes in 96 frames per second. From the frozen Russian Lake Baikal to huge icebergs in Antarctica sinking into the sea, to Miami into a raging hurricane, to the "Salto Ángel" waterfalls in Venezuela, water is staged as a force of nature. That the Finnish music group Apocalyptica occasionally lays razor-sharp metal riffs over the images is a side note.

Aquarela screened in 2019 as part of the LICHTER Film Festival's annual theme of NATURE and can be seen on numerous streaming platforms 



2020: The Year That Trump Broke. And it was not a good year for the AfD either. The party was unable to find a suitable recipe against Covid-19 and disappeared (for the time being) into media insignificance. Only the trench warfare between the right-wing populist and the extreme right wing recently found its way onto the front pages once again. We know the result. In recent polls, the AfD lost more than 3% of its votes. The suspicion suggests itself: If the (radical) right continues to succeed in imposing its themes on the media in the future, political discourse in this country will continue to be shaped by the right. It's actually quite simple: media noise makes you sick.

But the fact that the danger from the right still exists, perhaps more than ever, can be seen in the current report on the protection of the constitution from July 2020. As long as troll factories carry fascism into the Internet, as long as right-wing extremist terror cells exist in the police, as long as hate comments and shitstorms in the social media determine everyday life and as long as politicians talk down the danger from the right, as long as we have to go out on the streets, write against brown agitation, stage political plays or make good films.

In this climate and under the impression of the NSU murder series, one of the best German films of recent years was made. A cuvée of Natural Born Killers, Funny Games and Clockwork Orange. Director Jan Bonny has succeeded in doing something almost unbelievable here, namely exposing the ugly grimace of right-wing terror in a way that is downright disgusting. Nothing is good. The film is!

Wintermärchen screened at the 2019 LICHTER Filmfest in the "Future German Film" section and is currently available on the streaming platform Kino on Demand. Here is the link to the film: https://www.kino-on-demand.com/movies/wintermarchen 

The 33rd European Film Awards Grand Finale

The last major film festival of the year has also sought and found its place in the digital realm: The 33rd European Film Awards celebrate their Grand Finale today after four days of virtual award ceremonies. In thirteen competition categories, the 3,800 members of the European Film Academy nominated their film highlights of the past year. Among them are two of our favorites from this year's LICHTER program: "Corpus Christi" by Jan Komasa and "Genius Loci" by Adrien Merigeau. Virtual individual ceremonies and panel discussions have been online since Tuesday, followed by the awards in the largest categories today at 8pm. Moderated by Steven Gätjen, presented by the crème de la crème of European actors*, streamed from Berlin. A bit of Saturday Night Fever at home on the couch, a bit of melancholy that the glitz and glamour can't take place as usual, and the hope that this time next year everything will be back to normal. The topic is also very close to our hearts, so we would like to make a note of it here: The second congress "Future German Film", including panels on European film, will take place on April 29 and 30, 2021 as part of the 14th LICHTER Filmfest. We are looking forward to it! <3

You can watch the award ceremony stream as a replay on the EFA site: https://www.europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN?p=1 

Chez Vivi recommends: The Lighthouse

As a maître crêpière, CHEZ VIVI has long been appreciated and loved by the film community in the Rhine-Main region. But what hardly anyone knows is that behind the culinary artist is also a cinephile with an unerring taste for the extraordinary. Therefore, it goes without saying that she is allowed to fill a door for our Advent calendar. She chose "The Lighthouse", one of the most intense (and possibly best) films of recent years. Here's her "Curator Statement": "This psychodrama by Robert Eggers is dark, claustrophobic, loud, brutal, dank and dirty; but above all it is one thing: a work of art. Screaming seagulls in a stormy landscape, powerful waves, sharp rain, a deserted island: this setting could be anywhere and nowhere; including an island in Brittany, my home. The two impressive protagonists, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, stay crammed into a very small space for weeks, yelling at each other, beating each other up and losing their bearings and sanity in the process - isolation makes you sick." Where do we know that from again? Oh yes, there was something...

If you want to enjoy crêpes and galettes before Christmas, visit CHEZ VIVI in their Pop Up Store at Fahrgasse 9 in Frankfurt. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Bon appetit!


Kiev Stingl - No Erklärungen

"He who shouts freedom must also shout loneliness".

Filmmaker M.A. Littler (Slowboat Films), who lives near Frankfurt, was one of the first to make his films available on Vimeo - years before Corona. And since Littler is constantly producing films, you can now find an impressive collection of his oeuvre there. Last week he celebrated the world premiere of his latest film ""KIEV STINGL - NO ERKLAERUNGEN"" on Vimeo for well-known reasons. Kiev Stingl? There we are already at the problem. For some he was the German LOU REED, for all others unknown. M.A. Littler has tracked down this extraordinary musician in Berlin and elicited rare archive material from him. After four cult albums, four volumes of poetry and several scandals, he disappeared completely from the scene in the 1990s. But all that doesn't matter. If you are interested in music and especially in the early Neue Deutsche Welle with its strong influence of punk and new wave, you are in the right place. Feared in his late phase as a kind of KLAUS KINSKI of the musical underground, his last album was released in 1989 with the title "Grausam das Gold und jubelnd die Pest". Oops, a rogue who thinks of 2020....

WATCH ""KIEV STINGL - NO DECLARATIONS"" on VIMEO: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/noerklaerungen

In den Gängen

Day 3 of our movie tip Advent calendar mission!

Because as we all know: Since yesterday it is decided. Until at least January 10, the part of our cultural life that takes place in public has been imposed a forced break. Thus also the cinema doors remain closed. Now only a (Christmas) miracle will help. As ARD cultural correspondent Maria Ossowski put it so well: "Politics overestimates gifts and underestimates spiritual needs." Of course, love is one of the basic needs of the soul. Cue: love movie! Christian meets Marion between forklift and coffee machine, in the aisles of a cold wholesale market. Thomas Stuber's tender love story in unfamiliar surroundings enraptured us as LICHTER's final film of 2018 and is still our favorite Franz Rogowski film.

Our digital film tip advent calendar. 24 x cinema culture, insider tips and past festival pearls from the LICHTER recommendation box. And remember: good films belong in the cinema!

Until 10.02.2021 in the ARTE Media Library: https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/060740-000-A/in-den-gaengen/