GOETHE FILMS @ digital TIFF Lightbox: Radical – Exiting Extremism


Wild Heart © Eichholz Film

GOETHE FILMS @ digital TIFF Lightbox:

Presented by the Goethe-Institut
with the Toronto Jewish Film Society, TJFF & Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre

March 4-6 + 8-10 + 11-13
@ digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

Outrage, hatred, excess — exit? What draws or drives people to the radical fringes of expression and action, what can get them out? In an era of global authoritarianism, with extremist movements attracting a motley crew of followers – male, female, political, religious, opportunist – what can be done to counteract the lure of the pied pipers and (re-)integrate former fanatics into civil society?

GOETHE FILMS offers Canada-wide digital screenings of a recent feature and two documentaries, with filmmaker and expert introductions, and a further watch list, to shine a light on the dangers of violent intolerance and the dangers of turning a blind eye.

The brand-new documentary “Renegades” by Mariam Noori and Lisa Maria Hagen gives us an idea of what it means to shift back from the life-changing decision of young European men to join the Islamic State and how it impacts their families. David Wnendt’s celebrated drama “Combat Girls” explores similar outlines, illustrating the right-wing radicalization of a young woman in Germany. Turning her back on civil society, she joins a neo-Nazi group until she finds a reason to search for a way out of an inhuman and violent mindset. The third angle points the camera towards the lifestyle and radical conviction of left-wing figure Jan “Monchi” Gorkow, a former soccer hooligan. “Wild Heart” by Charly Hübner and Sebastian Schultz documents the life of the singer of one of the most relevant contemporary punk bands from eastern Germany, his roots and his journey towards becoming a controversial public figure (under state security surveillance) in the name of his anti-racist and anti-fascist engagement.

March 4-6, 6pm EST: The Renegades – A Long Way Home (Germany, 2020, 75 min), documentary by Mariam Noori & Lisa Maria Hagen, starring Meral Keskin, Oliver N., Wolfgang Blaschitz, Ismail Özen-Otto, Clemens Desero, and others. International premiere!

+ Introduction by filmmaker Lisa Maria Hagen

“This is what your brother wanted: A martyr’s death.” Meral from Hamburg cannot believe it: Her little brother Ferhat, the baby of the family, is said to have died in the fight for the Islamic state. But she does not want to accept this. The ex-terrorist Oliver has returned home. At the age of 16, he joined the IS terror organization and became the face of its propaganda machine. Today he is a 21-year-old war veteran, blind in one eye. The shrapnel from 19 grenades in his body remind him of the deeds of that time. Oliver and Meral: he a perpetrator, she a victim of the radicalism of her own brother. Two wounded souls connected by a fateful photograph.

“The filmmakers followed Meral for two years in search of her brother. The documentary takes a rare perspective: that of the perpetrators and their families” – NDR Hamburg Journal

Co-presented with Hot Docs & POV Magazine

March 8-10, 6pm EST: Wild Heart (Germany, 2017, 88 min), documentary by Charly Hübner & Sebastian Schultz, starring Jan “Monchi” Grow, Kai Irrgang, Oaf Ney, Christoph Sell, and others. Canadian premiere!

+ introduction by filmmaker Charly Hübner

Wild Heart tells the story of Feine Sahne Fischfilet, one of the most successful German punk rock bands, and their lead singer, Jan “Monchi” Gorkow. As this film examines Monchi’s rural life in home movies and interviews with his parents, we gradually begin to understand that it is a parable of, a coming to terms with and an answer to what happened in the north-eastern German province of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania after reunification. The leftist movements of the 1990s failed, Gorkow says, and that this must never happen again. An important, almost normal, poetic and rough film – just like the band.

“Wild Heart is the intimate and rousing portrait of a young musician who, with a big heart and an even bigger mouth, braces himself against the growing right-wing extremism with no plans of backing down.” – mm filmpresse

Co-presented with Hot Docs & POV Magazine

March 11-13, 6pm EST: Combat Girls (Germany, 2011, 103 min), by David Wnendt, starring Alina Levshin, Jella Haase, Gerdy Zint, Lukas Steltner, and others

+ commentary by Elisa Hategan, a Canadian writer and educator on far-right extremism

Marisa, a 20-year-old German girl, hates foreigners, Jews, cops, and everyone she think responsible for the decline of her country. The only place she feels at home is with the neo-Nazi gang she joined, where hate, violence, and raucous parties are the daily norm. But Marisa’s convictions evolve when she happens to meet a young Afghan refugee.

“Wnendt’s Combat Girls caused a stir. A daring, unadorned film.” – Der Tagesspiegel

Tailored to fit the moment, GOETHE FILMS play at the digital TIFF Bell Lightbox with exclusive online access for Canadian viewers. Tickets on sale 1 March! Test the system here. Once purchased, viewers will have a 48h-watch window to hit play. After hitting play, you have 24h to watch the film once. For further questions visit digital TIFF FAQs, contact TIFF customer support at customerrelations@tiff.net, or the TIFF support chat at tiff.net/help daily from 2 – 8 pm (incl. weekends and holidays).

Background, interviews & a larger film list on the topic of (de)radicalisation on our blog “German Film @ Canada”

Press screener links available upon request.


Program & Media Contact:
Jutta Brendemühl
Program Curator
Goethe-Institut Toronto