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Germany | 2013 | 98 minutes | Christian Schwochow

From the director of Cracks in the Shell (SIFF 2012) comes another spellbinding, harrowing tale of identity and empowerment. In 1975, Nelly and her son escape to West Germany for a new start, and question all they knew about the man in their lives.

May 28, 2014
Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center  
6:00 PM Date has passed
June 7, 2014
SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival  
6:00 PM Date has passed

Director Christian Schwochow scheduled to attend

June 8, 2014
SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival  
11:30 AM Date has passed

Director Christian Schwochow scheduled to attend

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Saturday June 7 and Sunday June 8 screenings on STANDBY – Advance tickets not available

West is a dramatic love story and psychological thriller set in 1970s Germany, based on the novel “Lagerfeuer” (Campfire) by Julia Franck. Nelly and her son, Alexei, want to leave East Germany and start a new life in West Germany. Nelly pretends to marry a West German, who takes them over the border. Two suitcases, a schoolbag, and a cuddly toy are all they take along. West really starts where other stories end—with a successful escape. Unfortunately, it’s when Nelly makes it to West Germany and applies for émigré status that the authorities take an interest in her. Until this point, Nelly believed that her former boyfriend (and the father of her child) had died, but she learns that in fact, he was a spy. He may still be alive, and what’s more, the police insinuate that Nelly might know something about it. The second half of the film transpires largely within West Berlin’s Marienfelde Refugee Center, where all émigrés take a series of never-ending tests and interviews before they can integrate into society. Some pass through easily, while others remain in limbo for months or even years. West is a realistic drama of a woman trying to deal with humiliation by a system that she hoped would set her free.

Director Biography

German filmmaker Christian Schwochow started out in high-school as the publisher and editor of a youth magazine before working as a radio reporter for various broadcasting stations. He eventually studied film at the Film Academy Bade-Wurttemberg, and has since directed several films, a stage-play, and television series.

Sponsored by Goethe-Institut, German Films, Snoqualmie Tribe

Director: Christian Schwochow
Principal Cast: Jördis Triebel, Tristan Göbel, Alexander Scheer, Jacky Ido
Premier Status: US Premiere
Country: Germany
Year: 2013
Running Time: 98 minutes
Producer: Thomas Kufus, Katrin Schlösser, Christoph Friedel, Helge Sasse, Barbara Buhl
Screenplay: Heide Schwochow, based on the novel by Julia Franck
Cinematographers: Frank Lamm
Editors: Jens Klüber
Music: Lorenz Dangel
Awards: Montreal Film Festival 2013 (Best Actress, FIPRESCI Prize)
Filmography: Cracks in the Shell (2011); November Child (2007); Marta and Her Flying Grandfather (2006)
Language: German
HasSubTitles: Yes
Format: DCP
International Sales: Picture Tree International GmbH
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