This event has passed. Film Studies for Adults: Great German Actresses

by admin

This October, in connection with the German Film Festival, The Picture House hosts a month of in-depth, online discussions featuring contemporary German films. Watch an exciting selection of films, each featuring an electric performance from a German actress — Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann), Nina Hoss (Barbara), Katrin Sass (Good Bye Lenin!), and Sibel Kekilli (Head-On). Each class will be led by a special guest instructor, along with Picture House Ambassador Hayley Atwell, who will give insight into this selection of award-winning films.

Classes will function much like a book club: attendees should watch the assigned movie at home through available streaming services and arrive at class online ready for a robust discussion.


Each class is $25. If cost is a barrier to access, please email

This class has already taken place. Please see the rest of our Film Studies for Adults: Great German Actresses listing below, for future class information.

Hayley Atwell Selects: Toni Erdmann with Philipp Nielsen

Sunday, Oct. 2 at 11:00 am

Winfried doesn’t see much of his hard-working daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller), so he decides to surprise her with a visit. It’s an unwelcome imposition, because practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks — and worse, take jabs at her lifestyle of long meetings, hotel bars, and performance reports. Winfried agrees toreturn home to Germany, but returns as flashy Toni Erdmann, his smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, wig, and fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines’ professional life, claiming to be her CEO’s life coach. Among the madness, Winifried and Ines grow closer, and Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all.


Barbara with Roland Dollinger

Sunday, Oct. 16 at 11:00 am

In 1980s East Germany, Barbara (Nina Hoss, Phoenix) is a Berlin doctor banished to a country medical clinic for applying for an exit visa. Deeply unhappy with herreassignment and fearful of her co-workers as possible Stasi informants, Barbara stays aloof, especially from the good natured clinic head, Andre.


Head-On with Philipp Nielsen

Sunday, Oct. 23 at 11:00 am

With the intention to break free from the strict familial restrictions, Sibel (Sibel Kekilli, Game of Thrones), a suicidal young woman sets up a marriage of convenience with a forty-year-old addict, an act that will lead to an outburst of envious love.


Good Bye Lenin! with Roland Dollinger

Sunday, Oct. 30 at 11:00 am

An affectionate and refreshing East/West-Germany comedy about a young man (Daniel Brühl, Captain America: Civil War) whose mother (Katrin Sass) was in a coma while the Berlin wall fell and when she wakes up he must try to keep her from learning what happened (as she was an avid communist supporter) to avoid shocking her which could lead to another heart attack.


About the Instructors

Hayley Atwell is an Olivier-nominated actress who made her name in acclaimed British television series including The Line of Beauty, Any Human Heart, and the adaptation of Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Mini-Series. She recently starred in the BBC production of Howard’s End from Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan. Hayley played Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger. In 2015, she was given her own show, Agent Carter, the first-ever Marvel spin-off to be fronted by a woman. She reprised the role in several films including Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Endgame, as well as in the animated series What If? Her other film credits include The Duchess, Christopher Robin, and Blinded by the Light. She will star opposite Tom Cruise as the female lead in the next two Mission: Impossible films.

Roland Dollinger is on the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, where he teaches in the German and Literature departments. BA, University of Augsburg, Germany. MA, University of Pittsburgh. PhD, Princeton University. Special interest in 20th-century German and Austrian literature; author of Totalität und Totalitarismus: Das Exilwerk Alfred Döblins and several essays and book reviews on 19th- and 20th-century German literature; co-editor of Unus Mundus: Kosmos and Sympathie, Naturphilosophie, and Philosophia Naturalis.

Philipp Nielsen is the Adda Bozeman Chair of International Relations at Sarah Lawrence College. BSc, London School of Economics and Political Science. PhD, Yale University. Philipp Nielsen specializes in the intellectual, cultural, and political history of modern Europe, with particular emphasis on German and Jewish history. Research addresses the history of democracy and its relation to emotions, constitutional law, and architecture. His first monograph, Between Heimat and Hatred: Jews and the Right in Germany, 1871-1935 (Oxford University Press, 2019) traces the involvement of German Jews in nonliberal political projects from the founding of the German Empire to the Nuremberg Laws. He also also co-edited volumes on the connection between architecture, democracy and emotions, and emotional encounters in history. He is currently working on a manuscript on “democratic architecture” in postwar Germany, and on a short history of compromise.


Part of the German Film Festival.

The German Film Festival is made possible in part by the Westchester Community Foundation, a division of The New York Community Foundation.

Westchester Community Foundation’s mission is to connect generous people to the causes they care about and invest in transformative ideas and organizations to improve lives and strengthen our community. WCF is a division of The New York Community Trust, one of the largest community foundations in the country, with assets of approximately $2.6 billion.