Watching German movies is a fun and entertaining way to improve your German. It also helps you get accustomed with German culture, habits and natural German conversations. You don't really have to do much – make yourself a nice cup of tea, grab a blanket, and have a comfortable night on your couch. How about inviting a few German friends over to join you?
Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run)
If you are interested in Berlin, the capital of Germany, this movie will be the right one for you. Run Lola Run, a 1998 German thriller, was filmed in and around Berlin and gives you an idea of what the local dialect sounds like. After small-time criminal Manni collected 100,000 marks in cash in his most recent crime he called up Lola, who had agreed to meet him at the crime scene and drive him to deliver the money to his boss. She failed to arrive on time however as her moped was stolen, and that is how it all began. Lola has three runs in this film, in each of which she tries to obtain the lost money and save her boyfriend. Flashforward sequences reveal how the lives of people that Lola bumps into developer after the encounter.
Das Boot is a 1981 German war film and adaption of a novel of the same name, set during World War II. Das Boot is one of the most expensive films in the history of German cinema and tells the fictional story of U-96 and its crew. As one of the most authentic war movies ever made, the film follows the lives of a fearless submarine captain and his inexperienced crew as they patrol the Mediterranean and Atlantic in search of Allied vessels. The quick turns as hunter and prey as well as the epic battle scenes keep you on the edge of your seat. A solid movie that will give you a sense of claustrophobia as the camera follows the crew under pipes, into bunks, up ladders and through hatches.
Das Experiment is a 2001 German thriller based on Mario Giordano's novel Black Box and deals with a social experiment where 20 male participants who are being offered 4,000 marks to take part in the scientific study are hired to play prisoners and guards for two weeks. Tarek, one of the participants, records the events with a camera hidden in his glasses. Half of the participants chose to pose as prison guards and the other half as their prisoners. When the guards kidnap Tarek after a few days into the project, everything escalates. This drama blurs the fine line between play-acting and reality beyond recognition and is definitely worth watching.
Nirgendwo in Afrika
Nirgendwo in Afrika (Nowhere in Africa) is a 2001 German movie based on an autobiographical novel of the same name. The German movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film as well as five German Film Prizes, including best feature film. Follow a young Jewish family from Germany to Kenya as they flee the Nazi regime. The family consists of Jettel Redlich, a woman of upper-class upbringing, her husband Walter and her daughter Regina. Will this family withstand the war? Watch this deeply moving, wonderfully acted and richly photographed movie to find out.
Barbara, a German drama and Winner of the Best Director prize at the Berlin Film Festival, tells the story of a doctor working in 1980s East Germany. She had been at the prestigious Charité hospital in East Berlin but after officially requesting to leave East Germany, she finds herself confined and transferred to a small country hospital in a small town as a punishment for applying for an exit visa - still monitored by the Stasi. Jörg, her lover from West Germany, plots her escape, and Barbara waits patiently. While trying to avoid any relationships or friendships with co-workers, she ends up falling for the head physician Andre whom she can not be sure of if he is a spy or not. Will will her decision be? Will she take a risk or will she choose survival?
Good Bye Lenin!
Good Bye Lenin! is a 2003 German tragicomedy film. Most scenes were shot in East Berlin, just after German reunification a year later. Alex, a young German boy, causes his socialist mother to suffer a heart attack after witnessing him being arrested during a protest. She falls into a coma and remains comatose during the fall of the Berlin wall and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). After his mother Christiane wakes up, he pulls of an elaborate scheme to keep the fall of the GDR a secret for as long as possible as to not cause another heart attack. Christiane eventually gains back her strength and starts wandering around outside while her son is asleep to find out the truth.
Have you seen them all? Don't stop there! There are still a lot more amazing German films to be watched. Ask your German friends for their favorite German movies. Also, consider watching movies dubbed into German and watch them on a regular basis, especially the ones you already know as you can anticipate what is happening and you will have an idea of what people are talking about. Have fun!