Kinofest, an annual German Film Festival organized by the Goethe Institute, has returned to audiences in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for its 2023 edition from November 1 to 7.

A scene from the movie Liebe, D-Mark, Tod (2022, Cem Kaya). Photo: Screenshot

Initiated by the Goethe-Institut Southeast Asia with the participation of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Timor-Leste, and New Zealand, Kinofest 2023 will showcase the latest award-winning films of German cinema, including those awarded at the Berlinale Film Festival.

Diverse in genre and subject matter, this year’s Kinofest film series revolves around the themes of connection, immigration, and cultural interference in contemporary German life.
The topic of migration captivates audiences in Germany, and cinema serves as an effective medium to express social issues in a compassionate way. The idea of migration in the context of globalization is not limited to a specific region or country.

It deals with issues of culture, identity, and challenges that individuals face in dealing with identity crises in the new era. Thus, each of us can find ourselves somewhere in the struggles and inner conflicts of this year’s Kinofest films.

All seven participating films in the festival will be screened in German with Vietnamese and English subtitles.

“Kinofest’s film selection process is based on the idea that German cinema is an extremely rich and diverse cinema with many interwoven cultural layers. All of them create a complex history and rich culture of the country,” said Gugi Gumilang, curator of Kinofest 2023.

The award-winning movie feature Toubab by Florian Dietrich will kick-start this year’s Kinofest. Photo: Goethe Institut Hanoi

In Hanoi, the festival will be opened on November 1 at BHD Star Vincom Pham Ngoc Thach with the film Toubab, 2020 by director Florian Dietrich.

The film has received many nominations and awards at German and international film festivals.

The movie is said to be an attempt to strike a precarious balance between the serious and the funny. The comedy tells the story of Babtou (Farba Dieng), who has just been released from prison and, although he was born in Germany, is to be deported to Senegal, so he decides to marry his best friend Dennis, who is also heterosexual.

The work raises issues of migration with cultural clashes, identity conflicts, and how people face identity crises in the new era.

According to the director, Babtou was meant to denounce unimaginable legal injustices and social ills. But his goal was one that is sometimes overlooked in German cinema. “It was important to me to tell a story about a very serious subject in a way and with a tone that would not exclude my own protagonists from being part of the audience,” he told the German press.

Other films include We Might As Well Be Dead (2022, Natalia Sinelnikova), Sisi and I (2023, Frauke Finsterwalder), Liebe, D-Mark, Tod (2022, Cem Kaya), Elaha (2023, Milena Aboyan), Till the End of the Night (2023, Christoph Hochhäusler) and The Ordinaries (2022, Sophie Linnenbaum).