There are many different approaches to learning a language. At least according to us, it is very important that you also enjoy yourself while you are learning a language. A great way of picking up new vocabulary and improving your listening skills, is by watching foreign language movies or TV shows. Furthermore, with most movies you have the chance to also play subtitles during the movie, in case you are not such an advanced learner of the language. Unfortunately, subtitles are not always available in your mother tongue or English, however, you should simply see this as the extra little push of motivation to improve your language skills. You will be able to understand more than you think because watching a movie gives you the possibility of contextualising meaning and understanding actions from facial expressions and gestures.
In this week’s blog post we would like to present you a list of German movies to improve your German language skills. As we mentioned before, it is important that you are able to enjoy yourself while you watch these movies. Therefore, we did not only pick critically acclaimed German films, but also some pieces of German cinema that are light entertainment (as well as some harder stuff). German cinema has a long-lasting tradition, with its golden age in the 1920. Since the millennium there has been a resurgence of the German film. There are many well-known producers and directors, film music componists and actors and actresses.
It all begins with two 14 year-olds who don’t get invited to a party, Maik and Andrej Tschichatschow (short: Tschick). Andrej convinces Maik to take a spree with a “borrowed” Lada (Soviet car). Tschick suggests to Maik to go and visit Tschick’s grandfather in the middle of nowhere, without a map or anything. This is just the beginning of their chaotic and highly entertaining journey through the eastern part of Germany.
This movie is based on the acclaimed and extremely popular novel of the same name. Fatih Akin is a household name in Germany and has directed a wide range of other popular movies, including Kebab Connection and Soul Kitchen.
|Cast||Tristan Göbel, Anand Batbileg, Mercedes Müller, Aniya Wendel|
Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt)
Lola’s boyfriend Manni, who deals with stolen goods, loses a bag with 100.000 Deutschmarks that belongs to his boss. In the following, Lola and Manni try to get the money together and the movie plays in three strings that show three possible storylines. Surprisingly enough, Lola is running for most of the story. There are characters and incidents who repeat themselves in the three storylines but slightly vary due to small details that change the entire story. This gives a lot of food for thought regarding theories of fate and coincidence.
This German film is still very popular and had quite an impact on other movies and TV shows. The episode “Trilogy of Error” of the TV show The Simpsons is a homage to this movie and Lisa runs to the title track of the movie in her sequence. The character of Katja Obinger in the recent TV show Orphan Black is inspired by Lola.
|Cast||Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Armin Rohde|
The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)
The movie is set in East Germany in 1984. Stasi Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler is assigned to spy on the playwright Georg Dreyman. It turns out that the real reason for the spying is because one of the Stasi superiors is in love with Dreyman’s girlfriend, the actress Christa-Maria Sieland. Wiesler does not report on Dreyman, even when he writes an anonymous article for the West German magazine Der Spiegel on the suicide rate of artists in the GDR.
The Lives of Others won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was the first more serious approach to dealing with the former GDR after a series of comedies, such as Good Bye, Lenin! and Sonnenallee. The film is very popular, both with critics and the general audience.
|Director||Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck|
|Cast||Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur|
Rabbit Without Ears (Keinohrhasen)
This contemporary RomCom’s main characters meet after years again. They went to school together where Ludo used to tease Anna. Now a journalist, Ludo is sentenced to community hours in a kindergarten where Anna works. At first the two main characters do not get along at all but of course end up falling in love with each other.
This movie was one of the surprise hits of 2007 and was both loved by the general audience and critics. It is light entertainment for an easy watch and has some very funny parts (even for those people who do not find German humor funny at all).
|Cast||Til Schweiger, Nora Tschirner, Matthias Schweighöfer|
Good Bye, Lenin!
The film is set in East Berlin just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Christiane, the mother of Alex and Ariane, a convinced socialist, falls into a coma after suffering a near-fatal heart attack when she sees her son Alex being arrested at an anti-regime demonstration. Due to being in a coma, Christiane missed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of the inner-German border. When the mother wakes up from the coma, Alex and his friends do everything they can to hide what happened in the meantime in Germany to protect Christiane from any stress.
This German cinematic masterpiece was a huge success. Daniel Brühl, who was already quite well-known at the time, became incredibly popular overnight. This tragicomedy is both entertaining and thought provoking at the same time.
|Cast||Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova|
Learn German with movies and the help of native speakers
Improving your German by watching movies in German is a great way of having fun and learning at the same time. The list of movies that are worth watching is extremely long and we only provided a short excerpt of some of our favourites. You can make the most of your learning experience if you combine the fun part with what we offer: fully flexible lessons with trained native speakers! Our very own German teachers will help you choose more amazing German movies! Furthermore, you will have someone to discuss those movies with. Why not see for yourself and sign up for a trial class!