Stadt Land Fluss

Date: Friday, 10/21/2011
Time: 6:00 pm

Venue: GWU Amphitheatre

Tickets: $12 - [Buy Tickets]

Type: Feature presentation
Language: German with English subtitiles

Metro Weekly Rating:
starstarstarstar (4 out of 5)

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Review by Chris Heller

HARVEST IS UNLIKE just about any coming-of-age movie you'll see. Set in the rural Brandenburg district of Germany, it juggles social concerns with teenage identity crises without cliché or overwrought dialogue. It's a story that's both foreign and familiar, a touching portrayal of a working-class romance.

Marko (Lukas Steltner), a withdrawn teen whose parents abandoned him as a child, first meets Jacob (Kai-Michael Müller) in the German equivalent of vocational school. With only a few weeks left before final exams, Marko is struggling to decide if he wants to be a farmer, while Jacob, who comes from a stable, middle-class background, prefers an agricultural life over cubicles and office droning. They're drawn together despite their differences, slowly building chemistry with stolen glances and subtle flirts.

It's the ideal love story for director Benjamin Cantu, a documentary filmmaker, who blends a vérité style into Harvest that adds a pragmatic visual edge to the story. Earthy tones dominate the screen, while most shots are grounded in some sort of hard-labor reality, like herding cattle or raising crops. (The only downside? The method isn't fit for the nighttime, where scenes look dull and unfocused onscreen.) Cantu takes his time to usher Marko and Jacob's relationship along -- and uses every chance to drum up the socioeconomic differences between their lives -- but uses a deft hand, sculpting such believable progression that Harvest doesn't plod. These effects ultimately build toward Marko and Jacob's first kiss, a powerfully evocative moment that drives the plot to its finish.

In Harvest, Cantu explores a society largely unknown to most audiences at Reel Affirmations. Sure, it's a foreign-language film, but it has a universal message that shouldn't be missed.

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More information

Film Links:

  • Reel Affirmations - full details
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Rotten Tomatoes

Festival Venue:

GWU Amphitheatre
814 7th Street NW
3rd Floor
800 21st Street NW
Washington, DC


For individual tickets and festival passes, visit www.reelaffirmations.org. Standard Festival Passes are $150 and Six Pack Passes are $60. Both allow for entry to any of the films except special events and opening and closing nights. Tickets may be purchased online, at the box offices, or at Universal Gear (1529 14th Street NW, WDC).

For more information, pick up a copy of the Reel Affirmations 20 program guide, or visit www.reelaffirmations.org, or call 202-349-7358.

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