German Movies in San Francisco at the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival

Berlin & Beyond at the Castro Theater - Photo by Barak Shrama

After opening with the international premiere of “25km/h” (25 kilometers per hour) by director Markus Goller and starring Lars Eidinger (Babylon Berlin), Bjarne Mädel (25 Weeks), Sandra Hueller (Toni Erdmann), Alexandra Maria Lara (Downfall), and Franka Potente (Run, Lola, Run) on March 8, 2019, the 23rd Edition of The Berlin & Beyond Film Festival in San Francisco is in full swing at the Castro Theater. Arguably, the largest German-language film festival in the U.S., Berlin & Beyond has always managed to lure some of the greatest German talents – incl. Mario Adorf, the late Bruno Ganz, Tom Schilling, Julia Jentsch, and Maria Schrader – to San Francisco. 

At this year’s festival, acclaimed German actor Bjarne Mädel returned to the festival to be honored with the 2019 Berlin & Beyond Film Festival Spotlight Award in Acting

For its Opening Night movie, Film Festival President Sigrid and Festival Director Sophoan Sorn, chose the tragicomedy “25 km.h.” Brothers Christian (43) and Georg (45) have not seen each other for 20 years. They finally cross paths at their fathers funeral, of all places.

At first, their radio silence continues. Carpenter Georg cared for their father until his death and manager Christian has not been seen back home for years. But after a booze-fueled wake, the tension between the two of them eases and the brothers drunkenly decide to realize their boyhood dream of driving across Germany on their mopeds. And so begins a journey full of exciting highs and comically dramatic lows. A journey that allows the two brothers to reconnect and leads them to a turning point in their lives.

Presented by the Goethe-Institut in San Francisco, Berlin & Beyond will bring a vivid program of films crossing cultures and contemporary topics for three full days and nights to the legendary Castro Theatre (March 8-10), a night of encores at Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley (March 11), and three evenings at the Goethe-Institut (March 12-14). The line-up includes masterpieces like “3 Days in Quiberon” about the last days of Romy Schneider and “The Silent Revolution” as well as all-time favorites for kids like “Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer.

Berlin & Beyond 2019 Film Line-Up

Castro Theatre

March 8, 2019
Mountain Miracle – An Unexpected Friendship

Youth 4 German Cinema Winner: A girl struggling with asthma is taken to a clinic in South Tyrol. After escaping, she makes a new friend, and together they try to reach the peak of a miraculous mountain.

A Jar Full of Life (Vielmachglas)

Youth 4 German Cinema Runner-up: Tragedy hits Maureen and pushes her to go on an adventure. While a ship to Antarctica waits at the harbor, how will she go with pennies in her pocket?

As Green as it Gets (Grüner wird’s nicht)

A gardener in a small Bavarian town faces bankruptcy. When his plane is about to be impounded, he grabs the control stick and flies away in an attempt to save his plane and himself.

Opening Night (7 PM): 25 km/h

Two estranged brothers see each other for the first time in 20 years at their father’s funeral. As their tension eases, they decide to realize their boyhood dream of driving across Germany on mopeds. Opening Night Party at 9 PM following the screening.

Castro Theatre

March 9, 2019

Berlin Excelsior

In a Berlin apartment, inhabitants hope that life gets better: A former escort, a former showgirl, a startup… But hardly anyone manages to evade falling victim to our success-oriented society.

This Crazy Heart (Dieses bescheuerte Herz)

When 30-ish rich kid Lenny has to take care of 15-year-old David, who’s suffering from heart disease, it’s the beginning of a wild adventure.

3 Days in Quiberon (3 Tage in Quiberon)

In a spa hotel, Romy Schneider – the biggest female star in Europe of her time, gives her last interview to two journalists.

The Silent Revolution (Das schweigende Klassenzimmer)

A group of students decide to show their solidarity with the victims of the 1956 Hungarian uprising by staging two minutes of silence during lessons..

Only God Can Judge Me (Nur Gott kann mich richten)

When Ricky gets out of jail, his buddy already has the next heist planned. But their sure-fire scheme soon turns into a cat-and-mouse game with crooked cop Diana.

Castro Theatre

March 10, 2019

Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver (Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer)

Family Matinée: A new cinematic vision based on the famous novel by Michael Ende.

Cloud Whispers (Wer hat eigentlich die Liebe erfunden?)

60-year-old Charlotte leaves her husband behind at a pull-in station, says goodbye to her old life, and triggers a chain of events for her and her family.

The Chairs Game (Reise nach Jerusalem)

Unlucky and broke 30-something Alice can’t seem to meet the pressures of society. Her life is like musical chairs, and she can’t seem to get a seat..


A biopic of East German singer and writer Gerhard Gundermann and his struggles with music, life as a coal miner and his dealings with the STASI.

The Bra (Vom Lokführer, der die Liebe suchte)

A Cinderella story in the Caucasus. Train driver Nurlan embarks on a journey to find the owner of this perky piece of underwear.

Monday, March 11:
The Silent Revolution

25 km/h
The Bra

Tuesday – March 12:
6:00 PM: Exit
8:00 PM: The Cakemaker

Wednesday, March 13:
6:00 PM: Sandstern
8:00 PM: Waldheim Waltz

Thursday, March 14:
6:00 PM: Chris the Swiss
8:00 PM: 303

For more information visit