Why do we learn German? One of the things that keeps me eager and interested to keep learning more is German culture, specifically cinema. Germany has claim to one of the richest film traditions of any European nation. The best part is that while appreciating all of these great films, you are improving your German! This is one of the easiest ways to improve your language skills.
While this method doesn’t work for all of the great silent films Germany produced, it does hold true all the way back to classic films such as Fritz Lang’s “M”. Follow the link to Youtube and check it out! The story is about a city’s manhunt for a murderer, and the climax at the end is one of the most moving scenes in all of cinema history.
In the 1960s a movement called New German Cinema got started, proclaiming a new age in German cinema. A generation of young directors created some of the freshest films in decades. Wim Wender’s “Wings of Desire” is a wonderful film set in a divided Berlin and told from the point of view of an Angel who wants to become human.
Filmmaker Werner Herzog is famous for being one of the most original directors to come out of any period in history. His films are certainly not for everyone, but if you’re adventurous he can be incredibly rewarding. Some of his more recent films are in English, but still worth checking out (plus you get to hear his great narration!), such as “Encounters at the End of the World” about McMurdo Station on Antartica!
These three are just a start, there are many more directors and many more amazing films worth checking out. Check your local library, or poke around on Netflix or the internet and see what great German Films you can find on your own. Here are some links to get you started.
This link to Open Culture’s free online films page has some German films on it, and at the bottom has links to other websites with free films. Look for Metropolis, Faust, and Pandora’s Box in the silent films section.
Ubu Web is a repository of difficult to find and out of print cultural, mostly focusing on more experimental stuff. There is a lot on there, and I’ll let you explore for yourself, here a place to start: Alphabet of Dada. You’ve been warned.
Have fun! Don’t forget why we learn languages, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself along the way!