5 Best German Movies to Watch

Staff & contributors

The Teacher’s Lounge is one of those movies where a simple misunderstanding is blown out of proportion, so much so that it causes the fabric of a community to unravel into chaos. Aided by a precise score, it ticks like a timebomb, with every second filled with so much dread and anxiety you have to remind yourself to breathe. It’s an impeccable and taut thriller, but it also works as an allegory about modern-day surveillance and authority. Director İlker Çatak gives the Gen-Z students and their much older teachers a level field where they struggle for control, and the result is both bleak and funny. It’s often said that schools are a microcosm of the real world, but nowhere is that more apparent than here. 

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Actor: Anne-Kathrin Gummich, Antonia Luise Krämer, Eva Löbau, Katharina M. Schubert, Kathrin Wehlisch, Katinka Auberger, Leonard Stettnisch, Leonie Benesch, Lisa Marie Trense, Michael Klammer, Özgür Karadeniz, Rafael Stachowiak, Sarah Bauerett, Uygar Tamer

Director: İlker Çatak

Rating: PG-13

Two angels wander the streets of a monochrome Berlin, invisible to the colorful world that bustles around them. When one of them falls in love, he begins to question his place and yearns to give up immortality to join the ranks of the living. Wim Wender’s exceptional film is a poetic meditation on faith, cinema, and a mournful tour of a city in the grip of the Cold War. 

Wings of Desire is bursting with poetry and heartbreaking humanism emphasized by the tender performances by Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander, and Peter Falk, while serving as a beautiful love letter to a city yearning for change. If you’ve only seen City of Angels, the loose American remake, then you owe it to yourself to experience the raw poetic power of the real deal.

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Actor: Annelinde Gerstl, Beartice Manowski, Beatrice Manowski, Bernard Eisenschitz, Blixa Bargeld, Bruno Ganz, Chick Ortega, Curt Bois, Didier Flamand, Elmar Wilms, Erika Rabau, Hans Martin Stier, Harry Howard, Johanna Penski, Jürgen Heinrich, Kid Congo Powers, Mick Harvey, Nick Cave, Olivier Picot, Otto Sander, Patric Kreuzer, Paul Busch, Peter Falk, Roland Wolf, Rowland S. Howard, Scott Kirby, Sigurd Rachman, Simon Bonney, Solveig Dommartin, Teresa Harder, Thomas Wydler, Ulrike Schirm, Wolf-Dirk Vogeley

Director: Wim Wenders

Rating: PG-13

Two people with different thoughts on love discover a common ground: they’re both anti-romantics. Realizing they got off on the wrong foot, they spend more time with each other and bond over realistic ideas of modern love. At one point, Maria (Rosalie Thomass) and Karl (Laurence Rupp) even diss romantic comedies for their cheesy music and naive understanding of fate and destiny. Their conversations are engaging and thoughtful, even and especially when they oppose one another. But just when you think you’re watching something smart and novel, Maria and Karl fall into the same implausible trappings they claim to hate. Suddenly, the film turns soft and transforms into the romantic comedy it once criticized. If only it had pushed into anti-romance territory even further and allowed Maria and Karl to truly hash out their differences, thorns and tension and all, then this could have been a truly interesting romantic film. Instead, it’s a standard romantic comedy that’s worse off for pretending to be above the genre, even though it’s really not.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Arash Marandi, Charleen Deetz, Cora Trube, Denise M'Baye, Jakob Schreier, Jerry Hoffmann, Laurence Rupp, Margarethe Tiesel, Maria Hofstätter, Özgür Karadeniz, Paula Schramm, Rosalie Thomass

Director: Shirel Peleg

Rating: PG-13