17 July 2013

German Cinema and the Absence of a Hollywood Ending

Several weeks ago, I watched a German film here in Berlin. I watched Freier Fall, and I found an indie cinema that screened it with English subtitles, which was great. It was an LGBT-themed drama, which is a genre I haven't watched in a long time. It told the story of Marc, who had a girlfriend who is pregnant, and life seemed happy, until a colleague comes along and a homosexual affair starts. Needless to say, this film didn't have a Hollywood ending.

I am not reviewing the film here, even though I liked it. Perhaps I liked it because it didn't have a Hollywood ending. Which made me think, most of the European films I have seen don't have a Hollywood ending. Most films don't have a feel-good yay-the-good-guy won sort of ending.

I remember the first time I saw a German film. It was in the early 2000s, when I was in college. I think it was Lichter, which told of the stories of residents on both sides of the Oder river in Frankfurt an der Oder and the corresponding Polish town. I remember feeling "What just happened?" when the film finally ended. I didn't expect it to end right there. I thought there would be an ending, but apparently, there wasn't. Or, there was, but I wasn't used to the format of the ending.

Anyway, I think I prefer the non-Hollywood ending anyway. Life, after all, is not Hollywood. So films like these just depict life as we know it. It's not a fantasy, but more a depiction of reality. Life, after all, isn't Hollywood. People don't live happily ever after. People have drama in their lives, people feel pain, people have conflicts, and sometimes, these do not get resolved. Life sucks, more or less.

Of course, there are happy moments, I am fully aware of that. But I suppose I'd rather take a realist view of life, than an idealist view. And that also goes with my movie preferences.

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