The Berlin School

The DVD of Yella (2007) from now defunct New Yorker Video marks the Region 1 debut of Christian Petzold, a member of the Berlin School of filmmakers who, as author Marco Abel describes, are less interested in the past events of German history rather than how people are living and coping today - whether from the crumbling of the wall, influences of global economics, etc.

Perhaps the best known German films of the group include Run Lola Run, Downfall, and Good Bye, Lenin - the most popular films cited by Abel in New Yorker's handy booklet - and Yella, while flawed (and perhaps misrepresented by some of the quoted critics on the box as a hard and engaging mystery film) offers an intriguing stylistic jump from, well, stylish filmmaking.

Petzold's subdued, emotionally minimalist approach is intriguing, and I'm certainly curious to see how he tackles James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice in his most recent work, Jerichow (2008).

Ideally I'd like to get my hands on some of Petzold's films - even if I have to rely on my clumsy German when there's no English subtitles - and that might be possible, given I'll be in Germany for 10 days this month. The aim is to upload batches of reviews every few days, and bring back some very unique releases for review.

While in Germany, whatever's written will come from an Asus eee PC 1000 HE, and the reason I'm mentioning this cute gizmo is because I'm going to do the reviews, htm web pages, uploads, and site tweaking on this netbook. 160 GB hard drive, 2 GB RAM, a 10" screen, and an eeny-weeny keybaord ("92% the size of a standard laptop").

This is a challenge that I hope other reviewers and bloggers might find handy: exactly what the hell can you run on a netbook, and when is it clear your attempt to mimic a desktop setup with a 19" monitor is moronic.

Frankly, I want to prove the naysayers wrong (and you know who you are).



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