Berlin & Beyond 2018

Some of the most notable recent films from Germany and Germany-adjacent countries.

German films often have an “It’s good for you!” stigma associated with foreign films to an extent rivaled only by Sweden, and while the 22nd Berlin & Beyond Festival (Feb. 9-14) certainly has some entries that are edifying or whatever, there are also some that are just plain entertaining. The promoters also promise “convivial social events,” and who doesn’t enjoy some conviviality? If you’d like some congeniality to go with your conviviality, Andres Veiel’s documentary Beuys looks at the artist Joseph Beuys through “a congenial montage of archival sources.”

More straight-up fun is Peter Luisi’s comedy Flitzer (Streaker), a sort of Swiss-German Full Monty about a teacher (co-writer Beat Schlatter) who decides to raise money for his school by taking bets on how long streakers can stay on the field before being taken away by the authorities. The impermanence of youth is a popular subject in American indie film — such as in While We’re Young and Mom and Dad, to name but two — and in Marie Kreutzer’s We Used to Be Cool, three young couples come to realize that having their material needs covered doesn’t necessarily lead to spiritual fulfillment as they age. And a different generational reckoning takes place in Jan Zabell’s Three Peaks, as a family’s vacation in the Italian Dolomites goes dangerously awry.

Opens Friday at the Castro Theatre and the Goethe-Institut.

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