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“The limits of my language are the limits of my world”

6 May

Languages open up the world and all of its wonderful cultures and traditions to you. Which language do you want to learn next?

German cinema: Barfuss (2005) film review

30 Apr

By Fiona, kanzilingua.com

When I started watching German films, my best friend and I used to joke that you could separate German films into two categories – Nazi/war movies or Communist/DDR movies. German cinema certainly likes to focus on these two topics – and rightly so in my opinion. It is important to remember the past so that past events do not repeat themselves. Germany has been through a lot in the last century; experiencing fascism, communism, socialism, and finally capitalism. It was divided and then reunified; destroyed and rebuilt; poverty-stricken then economically-strengthened. In short, Germany has quite the story to tell.

The constant focus on Nazism and Communism can, however, get a bit depressing after a while. Sometimes we just need to laugh. Imagine my delight when I was introduced to the films of Til Schweiger by a friend. His films are both hilarious and thought-provoking as they deal with many important issues (thankfully not Nazism or Communism).

‘Barfuss’ is one such film. It is a romantic comedy concerning the lives of Nick, a fun-loving bachelor, and Leila, an escapee from a mental institution. It is both funny and moving as the pair gradually identify with each other and grow closer together. For me, the most hilarious scene comes a few minutes into the film. Nick, having taken a job as a janitor, is approached and intimidated by a gradually growing crowd of inmates at the mental institution. Til Schwieger’s facial expressions make this scene and the clever use of body language over speaking is quite inspired. My friend and I were in stitches watching it.

The comedy, like many other German comedies, also has a sobering message. The film shows how Leila is treated by society because of her mental illness. The film sheds light on the fact that there is still very much a stigma associated with mental illness. It is seen by many as shocking and unsettling; something which shouldn’t really be discussed. ‘Barfuss’ shows that mentally ill people are not as different from ‘sane’ people as one might think. Leila is a very genuine character and, apart from acting strangely in certain situations, is still a human being with human feelings and emotions.

The issue is beautifully presented and the film is definitely worth a go. It will make you laugh, cry and question your own prejudices.

To read more KanziLingua film reviews, click here 🙂

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The importance of languages

28 Apr

The importance of languages

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to a man in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela