And we’re somewhat back to our regularly scheduled program…sort of.
As mentioned in our last post, we have been pushing the autumn season (and the weather seems to be cooperating) through sheer force of will; mostly through burning pumpkin scented candles, watching horror movies and tv series, turning the ac lower and closing the blinds. Before we left for our cousin’s wedding Kelsey and I watched three German horror movies: Anatomy, Vampyr, and Nosferatu. I’ve had some difficulty locating and obtaining some German horror films; it seems like when it comes to foreign films in the horror genre, you’re always hearing about Japanese horror (no doubt they are terrifying.) I was able to find several lists online, but was very limited to what was readily available in my libraries’ collections.
Staring Franka Potente (Lola from Run Lola Run!) is a medical student taking a summer course at a prestigious medical school where slowly, one by one, students begin showing up on the dissection tables. I’m not going to provide a detailed summary, the one on Wikipedia is quite good but don’t read if you’re not one for spoilers. Overall I enjoyed Anatomie; is it the best horror movie ever? Not by a long shot, but if you enjoy horror movies, this oddly reminded me of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. I thought the story was strong enough; full of kids making sexual innuendos, secret societies, and of course a twist regarding the hero’s background and a tease for a sequel. Okay, maybe the story’s not as strong as Scream and IKWYDLS, but it fulfills the rules of the horror genre and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Apparently this movie was a huge success in Germany and a sequel was made in 2003, Anatomie 2; unfortunately neither of my libraries has this one in their collection. Language-wise I had a little trouble keeping up and relied on the subtitles.
On to the Vampire movies. We watched Nosferatu and Vampyr. Both can be found on YouTube and Nosferatu is currently streaming on Netflix. Both are great old horror movies
(that did nothing for us language-wise in learning German)
Made in 1922, Nosferatu is an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s a silent film composed by Hans Erdmann; the music is beautiful and haunting and probably would make a great addition to my Halloween playlist. And Max Schreck as Count Orlok is fantastic. It’s oddly conflicting because the movie, and Count Orlok, really are quite scary. But he’s strangely adorable. There’s a lot to be said here about this movie plotwise and how it was one of the first films in the German Expressionism movement, but I think we may save that for another time. The version we watched, and YouTube video posted above, have English text. If you’re a fan of the old horror movies they play on TCM around Halloween this is for you. Interestingly enough, I remember hearing about this movie while watching a special by Mark Gatiss (Mycroft from Sherlock) about horror movies. Update: there are several episodes in his series about horror film, A History of Horror: Frankenstein Goes to Hollywood; Home Counties Horror; The American Scream; Horror Europa. If you’re a fan of horror movies and their history I recommend this series. All episodes can be found on YouTube.
Vampyr , a German-French film, is not a totally silent film but almost. It was the director’s first film with sound which is why there is very little, but interestingly enough it was filmed in three different languages. We watched it in German. We liked Vampyr, but to be completely honest I liked Nosferatu more.
Honorable mention: On my flight from Denver to D.C. I watched Step Brothers in German! My flight was super delayed leaving just enough time to watch several movies. A Philadelphia Story was only available in English, so I was surprised and completely delighted to see Deutsch as a language option for Step Brothers – and I really, shamelessly love Step Brothers and probably sat on that plane with the most stupid grin on my face.
Food: Notes about German Bread and Chocolate
Since living together this past January, Kelsey and I have developed a list of food items that are essential for our apartment. Besides the basics like eggs and bread, there are a few other random items on the list like maraschino cherries, whipped cream, and supplies to make at least one breakfast pastry. Anyway, a must on our grocery list are chocolate bars. We usually spend several minutes during each shopping trip in the chocolate bar aisle. Of course the assorted chocolates are then
kept on an end table so it is easy to share and eat while watching netflix, or to grab in a pinch when making random batches of chocolate croissants and chocolate covered raisins. Anyway, our local grocery store has a number of international chocolates which of course, we’ve been all about. (The chocolates listed below are located in the “German section” of our international foods section in our grocery store, it wasn’t until further investigation we discovered not all are German companies, and while the wrapper states, “made in Germany” we’re not totally sure). Regardless they are all delicious, pretty easy to find here in the US (most are carried in Target, Trader Joe’s, and Wegmanns), and a great addition to your candy bowl.
Milka – Milka was founded in Switzerland in 1901 growing to add production locations in Europe, South America, and more recently the US. Or I think, when going to the company website you are defaulted to select your country and the US is not an option. Anyway, we’ve tried the basic Alpine Milk Chocolate and Milk Chocolate with Toffee.
Ritter Sport – Ritter Sport is a German company with headquarters located in Waldenbuch. Ritter Sport was founded 1912 with the marriage of two chocolatiers. Unlike Milka, there is a North American English option to view the website so you can read all about the company history and products. There are many different flavors, with “special flavors” offered during the different seasons. I really haven’t branched out in trying the different flavors, but I can say the Alpine Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate with Marzipan and both awesome. Ritter Sport chocolates are available for purchase all over the place. You can find them in Target, Wegmanns, Trader Joe’s, Giant Eagle, the D terminal of Washington Dulles airport…
Kinder Chocolate– this was so misleading. Kinder Chocolates are actually a product of the Italian company, Ferrero. (They also bring Nutella to the world) Anyway it was in the German section at Wegmanns and it has a German name so I get some points. I bought Kinder Delice but have yet to try it, I’m sure that just like Nutella there will be no going back once I eventually eat this.
Honorable mention: Chocolove – Okay Kelsey and I love this chocolate. Not only is the chocolate good, but the wrappers are the best. No, seriously. Apparently Chocolove was the first chocolate company in the United States to list the cocoa content on its wrappers; but most importantly, included on each chocolate wrapper is a love poem. So not only is it fun to try the different flavors because they’re all good; we always can’t wait to see the poem. Chocolove’s factory is located in Boulder, CO. These chocolate bars may be a little harder to find, I’ve only seen them in Whole Foods or our local Wegmanns, but the Chocolove website provides a store locator. Their website is also great information-wise; check out the FAQs and Social Responsibility for chocolate and dietary information (kosher, vegan, fair trade, GMOs).
Bread, okay I was going to talk about Germany and bread variations; since we are huge bread fans, as they are in Germany, but this post is getting long so I’ll save it for the next time.