GOETHE FILMS: Loneliness in the City

Neubau © MediaLuna


Presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto
with the Canadian Urban Institute

May 15-23
GOETHE FILMS @ digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

Should I stay or should I go? How we live our lives is centered around whether to live in or out of our (imagined) urban spaces. Cities can mean connectivity and community, boredom and loneliness. They are projections of dreams and disappointment, places of becoming or despair.

GOETHE FILMS offers Canada-wide digital screenings of three fresh cinematic perspectives from multiple angles on the interplay between our wellbeing and our physical environment. While the dozens of characters on-screen are distinct and diverse in their life choices, we can relate to each of them in their moments of urban alienation and distancing.

May 15-17, 6pm-6pm EST: The Mover (Atlas) (Germany, 2018, 99 min), by David Nawrath, starring Rainer Bock, Thorsten Merten, Albrecht Schuch, and others.

60-year-old Walter is a furniture remover for forced evictions in Frankfurt and his boss is planning a risky real estate deal. When the old apartment building is to be evacuated, one occupant refuses to move out. Walter thinks he recognizes his son, whom he ran out on years ago, in this young man. While keeping his identity secret, Walter cautiously gets closer to Jan and his young family. When he realizes how erratic the men his boss has gotten involved with are, Walter has to review his life decisions.

“Realistically and thrillingly staged. Carried by excellent actors, The Mover is a political, almost documentary-like, explosive and extremely exciting feature.” – Galore

May 18-20, 6pm-6pm EST: A Lonely City (Germany, 2020, 90 min), documentary by Nicola Graef. North American premiere!

Loneliness: young and old are afflicted by it, men, women, single, and married people. Director Graef lets the lonely urban inhabitants speak, and listens. Berlin is a city for extroverts, Tessa thinks, although the student is not one of them. 85 year-old Efraim, a photographer and flaneur, has found a confident way to deal with those nagging feelings. Artist Thomas suffers from the end of a long-term love affair. From the corner pub to the artist’s studio, from the parks to sports clubs and, time and again, into silent apartments – the filmmaker encounters witnesses to emptiness everywhere.

“Based on interviews with a dozen protagonists, Graef explores what loneliness means in a metropolis. A mosaic of sensations on a very personal level.” – Kinozeit

Presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto with POV Magazine, Hot Docs Film Festival & Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival

May 21-23, 6pm-6pm EST: Neubau (Germany, 2020, 82 min), directed by Johannes Maria Schmidt, starring Tucké Royale, Monika Zimmering, Jalda Rebling, Min Duc Pham. Canadian premiere!

Summer in Brandenburg, outside of Berlin. Markus is torn between the love for his grandmothers in need of care and the longing for a different life in Berlin. A crowd of shimmering demons keeps appearing in his daydreams. Will an allusion to the queer chosen family that awaits him in the city saves him from his loneliness?

“The Brandenburg that Markus lives in, calmly and without declaring war, defies notions of provincial normativity” – Missy Magazine

Presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto with Inside Out Film Festival

Bonus material: filmmaker introductions and an expert commentary by urbanism Professor Ahmed Allahwala.

May 19, 12pm: The Canadian Urban Institute & the Goethe-Institut Toronto present “Solitude and the City: Building Connections in Urban Canada,” a timely virtual discussion Canada-wide on how to build connection and community in Canada’s diverse city centres. Register here for free.

Get your GOETHE FILMS tickets here now ($10)!

Tailored to fit the moment, GOETHE FILMS play at the digital TIFF Bell Lightbox with exclusive online access for Canadian viewers. 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).

More information on our blog “German Film @ Canada”

Press screeners available upon request.


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