the sundance channel

Please watch Deutschland 83!

Hello! I’ve been meaning to make this post for weeks, and I apologize that I’m coming in after the finale. If you don’t already know, Deutschland 83 is a German series that airs on the American network, the Sundance Channel. It is America’s first full German language series, which is kind of a big deal. It may be done premiering, but now you can go binge watch all 8 episodes online. And here’s why you should:

  • It is in German! It’s America’s first German language series, which is really exciting. This historical drama is, in itself, a piece of history.
  • It’s a modern spy thriller. No, not modern as in the setting, but in the plot and themes. It’s not Bond or Borne; it’s realistic, gritty, humorous, disturbing, uplifting, and heartbreaking. The show is set in East/West Germany in 1983,and follows easterner Martin Rauch as he goes undercover in the West German army as a spy. He does so in order to score his mom a place on the kidney donation list, not an easy spot to grab in East Germany. He also wants to help build a better future for he and his girlfriend.
  • It’s a historical drama, set during the Cold War. There’s not a more interesting setting than Germany during this tumultuous time, and Deutschland 83 perfectly captures the atmosphere of both sides. There’s no clear bad guy or hero; the show reveals the good and bad sides of both East and West Germany and that people who lived there. 
  • The cinematography is beautiful. It’s captivating. It’s all kinds of fancy words. The framing and lighting for so many of the shots is so gorgeous that you won’t want to look away. They help show the emotion of the show, and there’s so much symbolism in them. 
  • Bad-ass female characters. I’m talking fleshed-out, fully-developed, emotional, loving but take-no-shit ladies. Mothers, girlfriends, sisters, wives and daughters. And when I say they are as well-developed as the male characters, I mean it. They might be even more compelling. Female spies, independent women, women who cry, women who cheat, women who are afraid to die, and women who aren’t. And the ratio of essential female characters to essential male characters is about 1:1. 
  • Gay characters!! This got me excited. And yes, they are main characters with their own character arcs that don’t revolve around them being gay. Except for one tiny thing. If you know anything about being a gay man in the 1980s, then you should be prepared for some crying. 
  • There are POC characters. Not a lot, there could be more. Only one is recurring and important. But I guess this is Germany, and it is the 1980s. But geez, if this German series set in the 1980s doesn’t have better representation than a lot of American shows set in the present. And I hope it’s a start for more POC characters in German television. 
  • The fucking soundtrack. I can’t even begin to say it. All your favorite 80s music, and 80s music that will soon be your favorite, played against a colorful Cold War drama. It’s just really good, okay?
  • It’s a series about a cute East German spy set during the 1980s, how could you not love that? And for a German tale, there’s not that much death. I mean, characters die, but not too many and nobody you’ll really come to love. 
  • It’s only 8 episodes. There’s a few episodes on the Sundance website, and the rest on plenty of websites. Just google that shit, bro. If anyone has any direct links they’d like to provide, that’s cool too. 
  • It’s super-duper important to show support and love for foreign series, so please help let Sundance and other networks know we want more foreign shows. Because America, you kind of suck in that department. 

In the new BBC drama series The A Word, English actor Christopher Eccleston plays Morris, the grandfather of an autistic 5 year-old boy. He spoke to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about the role, how the HBO series The Leftovers challenged his religious beliefs, and Brexit. 

“Morris is making the classic mistake, which I made with my father when he began to suffer from vascular dementia, of trying to bring my father – and Morris tries to bring the boy – into Morris’ world, where in fact what you have to do is you have to go into their world and play it by their rules. That is the journey for the entire family, dealing with the individual rather than dealing with the condition, because there is a very specific individual in there.” 

The A Word is coming to the Sundance Channel on July 13. It’s a six-part series. 

Hear the interview.

Tomorrow night Nao Bustamante presents the latest iteration of her multimedia performance Silver & Gold as part of MoMA Film’s current series Slithering Screens: 10 Years of New Frontier at Sundance Institute. Bustamante channels 1940s Dominican film starlet Maria Montez, probing at Hollywood orientalism (then and now) and portrayals of sexuality and eroticism. 


[Still from Nao Bustamante’s multimedia performance Silver & Gold. Image courtesy the artist]

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the last episode of #Rectify was INCREDIBLE storytelling, like always, but without having to use much dialogue. i love that.

i love this show, that gives so much, with so little. and that’s not an insult to the writers, actors, anybody… involved… the show seems small in scale, but what everyone involved brings to it… 

it’s this spellbinding experience that just pulls you into these lives… the lives of people that, if you’ve ever spent any time in Georgia, or the south in general, you’d know, are normal, average people’s lives; but at the center of them all, is this one man… Daniel… and who he is, how he affects people… the change that occurs, that opens everyone up, good or bad… it’s just impressive the range of emotions i actually go through, watching an episode, after three seasons… it’s maybe the best show you’ve never seen, and my personal favorite show, currently, aside from #Humans, from Channel 4 and AMC. 

I’m hoping the growth of #Rectify changes now that #AMC has stepped in to co-air it along with the #SundanceChannel, because it really is a show that could become the next big thing with a bigger audience. the writing staff is SOOO fucking impressive.