Erbsen auf halb 6 (Peas at Half Past 5, Lars Büchel, 2004; 111 min.) Charming comedy drama centered on an unlikely romance: a young woman, born blind, is assigned to help a theater director cope after he loses his eyesight in an accident. Undeterred by his rejection, she doggedly decides to pursue him in a bizarre journey across northeastern Europe.
Geboren in Absurdistan (Born in Absurdistan, Houchang Allahyari, 1999; 111 min.) By mistake, two babies are exchanged in a Vienna hospital: the Turkish baby ends up with the family of a xenophobic Austrian immigration official; his baby with a Turkish family threatened with deportation. Mayhem ensues in this zany black comedy as the immigrants take their case to—you guessed it—said official.
Part memoir, part travelogue, Peter Wortsman’s latest book Ghost Dance in Berlin: A Rhapsody in Gray has been hailed as an unlikely declaration of love, as much to a place as to a state of mind, by the American-born son of German-speaking Jewish refugees. A 2010 Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, he was the recipient of the Solas Awards’ 2012 Gold Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year. Wortsman writes short stories, plays, travelogues, essays and poetry, and also translates from the German, which he considers another form of border crossing. He is the author of A Modern Way to Die, a book of short fiction, and Burning Words, a play produced in 2006 at the Northampton Center for the Arts in Northampton, Mass., and slated for production in Pforzheim, Germany, in 2014. His travel pieces have run in major American newspapers and been featured four years in a row in Travelers’ Tales’ The Best Travel Writing.
Sponsored by the Amherst College Lurcy Fund, Department of German and The European Studies Program at Amherst College