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German Film Series begins with Academy Award nominee

Sept. 9, 2006

KALAMAZOO--The German Film Series at Western Michigan University begins its fall schedule of seven films with Academy Award nominee "Downfall" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, in 3209A Kohrman Hall.

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, "Downfall" (Der Untergang) is the story of the final days of Nazi Germany as seen largely from inside Hitler's bunker in Berlin through the eyes of his personal secretary, Traudl Junge.

The film, which has been praised for its realism and historical accuracy, is based in part on Junge's memoir, "Through the Final Hours," published shortly before her death in 2002. Popular young German actress Alexandra Maria Lara plays Junge, and the real Traudl Junge, at age 81, appears in filmed interviews to open and close the movie.

Bruno Ganz turns in an award-winning performance as Adolf Hitler, and Corinna Harfouch is chilling as Magda Goebbels, who murders her six young children to keep them "from growing up in a world without National Socialism." Whether Goebbels personally murdered her children, as shown in the film, or had someone else do it is a subject of some controversy; but in any event, the award-nominated performance by Harfouch reveals the absolute perversion of a fanatical mind.

"Downfall" was a 2005 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and won honors at the British Independent Film Awards, European Film Awards and from nearly one dozen major American and European film festivals and critics circles.

All films in WMU's German Film Series are free and open to the public. All are presented in German with English subtitles and begin at 7:30 p.m. in 3209A Kohrman Hall.

Fall 2006 German Film Series

Tuesday, Sept. 12, "Downfall" ("Der Untergang")

Tuesday, Sept. 19, "Head On" ("Gegen die Wand")

Monday, Oct. 2, "Yasemin"

Monday, Oct. 16, "Ali: Fear eats the Soul" ("Angst Essen Seele Auf")

Monday, Oct. 30, "The Blue Angel" ("Der Blaue Engel")

Tuesday, Nov. 14, "Run Lola Run" ("Lola Rennt")

Tuesday, Nov. 28, "The Educators" ("Die Fetten Jahre Sind Vorbei")

For more information about the German Film Series, contact Dr. Olivia Gabor-Peirce, assistant professor of German, at olivia.gabor@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3036.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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