Top picks at the 2021 German Film Festival

Last Updated: 20 May 2021
Emily Graham

Palace Cinemas are once again celebrating diversity on screen at the 2021 German Film Festival, with over 30 films from the best and brightest in German cinema, taking place from 3 June to 20 June. Festival Curator Bettina Kinski has kindly shared some of her top picks from the festival program, to help you decide which films to catch this year.

Next Door (Nebenan)

Straight from the screens of Berlinale, this this highly anticipated dark comedy, directed and performed by Daniel Brühl (Good Bye Lenin!) will be opening this year's festival. The movie cleverly explores themes such as social inequality and gentrification in Berlin as it follows the life of Daniel, a famous actor, and his encounters with a problematic neighbour with ulterior motives.

Grab your tickets to this opening-night feature here.

Fabian: Going to the Dogs (Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde)

This film is the centrepiece of this years festival, coming straight from the world premiere at the 2021 Berlinale. Erich Kästner's iconic 1930s novel depicting the heady days of pre-Nazi Berlin has been transformed for the screen by director Dominik Graf, and traces the idealic world of a man falling in love. Starring Tom Schilling, Fabian: Going to the Dogs is one film not to miss this festival season. Events will be held at some screenings with speciality introductions and signature cocktails served at intermission.

Get tickets to the introductory screening here.

Berlin Alexanderplatz

Bring up the rear of the festival, closing night will feature this multi award-winning film, which traces the trials and tribulations of an undocumented immigrant from West Africa who settles in Berlin. He soon finds himself involved in Berlin's dark and dangerous criminal underbelly, and quickly learns just how difficult his new life is about to become. This book-to-film adaptation of Alfred Döblin's 1929 novel recontextualises one of the Weimar Republic's most influential pieces of literature for a modern-day audience.

See here to get tickets to this closing-night event.

I'm Your Man (Ich bin dein Mensch)

Starring Silver Bear Award winner, Maren Eggert and Downton Abbey actor, Dan Stevens, explore what it means to be human in this futuristic romance from Maria Schrader. As an experiment, scientist Alma agrees to live with a humanoid robot who shows her more than she expected. With such a display of extraordinary acting talent, and moving plot line, this film earned an acclaimed spot in this year's Berlinale lineup.

Get your tickets here.

How I Taught Myself to be a Child (Wie ich lernte bei mir selbst Kind zu sein)

Award-winning Austrian film, How I Taught Myself to be a Child, is one of the must-see films at this year's festival. A quirky coming-of-age story, searching for identity and finding one's true self, this film explores childlike wonder in an imaginative film from director Rupert Henning.

In conservative Vienna in the late 1950s, Paul’s adventurous spirit is imprisoned by a world dominated by conservative values and Jesuit morality. With wit, enthusiasm and good luck, Paul discovers his own extraordinary ability to shape his realities and escape into his own world of dreams. Based on Austrian artist André Heller’s story “Wie ich lernte bei mir selbst Kind zu sein”, this is a bewitching tale about an eccentric and loveable young hero.

Get your tickets

Other note-worthy films from this year's line-up


Follow the outrageous adventures of Lola with a 4K restoration of the film to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release. Lola, an ambitious and sultry cabaret singer, sets out to elevate herself in a world where every one and every thing has a price, by pitting the corrupt town building contractor against the fresh-faced building commissioner. This Rainer Werner Fassbinder classic will be showing with special introductions at selected sessions throughout the festival.

Tickets to Lola can be found here.

Enfant Terrible

It wouldn't be a German film festival without at least one film from famed director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder. This year, the roles are reversed and the man behind the cameras is placed front and centre in this moving bipoc, Enfant Terrible. Unravelling the short and intense life of the influential director, Oliver Masucci gives an electrifying performance, revealing the chaos and genius behind the biggest names in New German Cinema. Provocative and uncompromising, this cinematic exploration of Fassbinder's excesses and influence in the world of film was selected to feature at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, and is well worth a viewing.

Grab your tickets here.

Berlin Bouncer

Be sure to catch this fascinating documentary about Germany's capital, the beauty of the city and the haunting trials of its past. From the symbol Cold War division to Europe's party destination, see Berlin through the eyes of legendary doormen who have seen it all.

Get tickets here.

The Bra (Vom Lokführer, der die Liebe suchte)

This unconventional film is truely testament to the the visual power of cinema. Without using any dialogue, this is a poetic retelling of a Cinderella story, as a loveable train driver attempts to find the owner of a blue bra he stumbles upon. Though the film forgoes the use of scripted lines, the captivating physical acting, mastery of expression and stunning European scenery makes this a must-see at this year's German Film Festival.

See show times, or buy your tickets here.

The Audition (Das Vorspiel)

Music is at the heart of Ina Weisse's gripping drama, starring Nina Hoss as a violin teacher taking risks and searching for success. Be immersed in the score of this film as characters express emotions left unsaid through their music.

See tickets here.

Kino for Kids

If you are looking to take the whole family out for a silver-screen adventure, the Goethe-Institut will be presenting their popular sidebar 'Kino for Kids', with a list of films hand picked for young audiences. To see a list of these films, please see here.

To see the full program of events, times and films showing at the 2021 German Film Festival in Perth, see here.

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