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West Midlands

Birmingham International Film Society offers some German films

West Midlands

Birmingham International Film Society and the Goethe-Institut are organising a German film season with introductions by academics from Birmingham University and Aston University.

The films are as follows:


CHANGING GERMANY: Migration and Imagination

Tuesday 5 February 6pm

When We Leave (Die Fremde) (12)

Dir: Feo Aladag Germany 2010

1hr 55mins German & Turkish with subtitles

Cast: Sibel Kekilli, Nizam Schiller, Settar Tanriögen

Unhappily married with a young son, German-born Umay lives in Istanbul. In desperation, she leaves her husband and returns unannounced to her parents in Berlin. Initially welcomed, she soon finds intense pressure on her to return, deemed to be bringing shame on her family by not living with her husband. Umay starts again from scratch, but she cannot totally forget her old life. Aladag portrays the life of a family bound by tradition while presenting Umay as a strong character, forced to revolt in order to survive and seek a chance of happiness.

Leila Mukhida (University of Birmingham) will be speaking about the film after the screening.

The film is presented in association with the London Goethe-Institut.


Winner: Six Awards including Best Film, German Film Critics Awards 2010


One of the best films I have ever seen. A remarkable achievement– The Huffington Post



CHANGING GERMANY: Migration and Imagination

Tuesday 5 February 8.30pm

Distant Lights (Lichter) (12)

Dir: Hans-Christian Schmid Germany 2003

1hr 41mins German, Polish & Russian with subtitles

Cast: Anna Janowskaaja, Ivan Shvedoff, Sergey Frolov

Set in two communities on the River Oder – Frankfurt in Germany and Slubice in Poland, Schmid interweaves a number of stories based on local research into illegal migration. A group of Ukrainians hoping to reach the ‘promised land’ of Berlin are stranded in Poland and try crossing the river at night. On the German side the locals are struggling trying to earn a living selling mattresses, car parts and smuggled cigarettes. A fascinating montage of Western and Eastern life on one of the key European borders at that time.

Dr Claudia Gremler, lecturer in German from Aston University will be speaking about the film after the screening. 

The film is presented in association with the London Goethe-Institut.


Winner: Best Film, German Film Critics Awards 2004


‘Stylistically… a superb achievement’ – The Film Journal




Wednesday 27 February 6.15pm

Jerichow (12)

Dir: Christian Petzold Germany 2009

1hr 28mins German with subtitles

Cast: Benno Fürmann, Hilmi Sözer, Nina Hoss

Jerichow - a small town in the ex-DDR plagued by population exodus and unemployment. Thomas, an ex-soldier returns to take over his mother's house. By chance he encounters Ali, owner of a snack bar chain in desperate need of a driver. The two become friends and Thomas works for Ali. Problems begin when he is attracted to Ali's wife Laura. Three people who have lost their way are brought together with tragic consequences. Petzold’s intriguing film is a taut, well-crafted reworking of The Postman Always Rings Twice reflecting the social impact of unification on the former East Germany.

Dr Elystan Griffiths (University of Birmingham) will be speaking about the film after the screening.

The film is presented in association with the London Goethe-Institut.


Winner: Best Film, German Film Critics Awards 2009


‘Petzold takes the Cain themes of lust and duplicity and twists them into a reflection on modern Germany, where nationalism and loyalties and identity and economics are jumbled and thrown into confusion’ –




Wednesday 27 February 8.15pm

And Along Come Tourists (Am Ende Kommen Touristen) (PG)

Dir: Robert Thalheim Germany 2007

1hr 22mins German with subtitles

Cast: Alexander Fehling, Ryszard Ronczewski, Barbara Wysocka

Young German Sven opts to do his civil service at Auschwitz in Poland where he encounters Stanislaw, a survivor placed in his care, and Ania, a museum guide and translator. Little by little through his relationships with them he comes to terms with the disturbing history and uncomfortable present nature of Germany’s responsibility to the victims of a brutal and genocidal occupation. Based on his own civil service experiences, Thalheim’s subtle and sensitive film confronts the challenge to the new generation of young Germans in facing up to the Nazi/Holocaust past.

Dr Joanne Sayner (University of Birmingham) will be speaking about the film after the screening.

The film is presented in association with the London Goethe-Institut.


Winner: Critics Award, German Film Critics Awards 2008


The film lends a weighty topic a lightness of tone and yet remains enthralling– Filmdienst



Ticket Prices

£4 Full Price, £3 Concessions.

Double Bill special price: £7 Full Price, £5 Concessions

Available on the door on the night.

Winner: Best Film Education Programme 2011, Film Society of the Year 2010 & Best Film Programming 2010

BIFS is supported by the British Film Institute Transition Fund

Results - European Day of Languages Poster Competition 2012

West Midlands

A huge thank you to all the pupils who entered our first European Day of Languages Poster competition!


Our theme was "Why Study Languages?" and we were looking for eye catching posters using any foreign language (some English was allowed too) which encourage language study by pointing out key benefits.


We received over 1000 entries across Years 7 - 9 each providing their own depiction of this message using many different languages from across the globe. We were so very impressed by the level of creativity displayed, the amount and accuracy of foreign language used and the inspiring messages encouraging us all to continue studying languages. Deciding on just one winner and one runner up was incredibly difficult and we commend all pupils for their efforts.


The winners were those who the judges deemed to best encapsulate the answer to the question "Why Study Languages?", demonstrating an effort to use foreign languages and originality of illustration as part of a well presented and attractive poster.


Congratulations to winners and runners up in the categories below.


Winners will receive £20 vouchers for HMV and a certificate, runners up will receive £10 vouchers for HMV and a certificate. Prizes will be presented by student ambassadors in special school assemblies.



Winner: Lauren Southall, King Edward VI High School, Birmingham (this is a 3D poster)


Runner up: Beth Lang, Colmers Secondary School, Birmingham



Winner: Chloe Lane, Smestow School, Wolverhampton


Runner up: Salix White, Abbots Bromley School, Staffordshire



Winner: Anja Elliman, Sir Graham Balfour School, Stafford


Runner up: Helena Godfrey, William Brookes School, Shropshire




Year 7 Aeron McMillan, Queen Elizabeth College, Bromyard

Year 7 Jasmine Davies, Lordswood Girls' School, Birmingham

Year 7 Jacob Payne-Lunn, Bishop Perowne School, Worcester

Year 8 Maria Skaria, King Edward VI High School, Birmingham

Year 8 Nasema Begum, Small Heath School, Birmingham

Year 8 Emily Hobbs, Abbots Bromley School, Staffordshire

Year 9 Kirsty Graham, Sir Graham Balfour School, Stafford

Year 9 Nathan Sillito, Sir Graham Balfour School, Stafford

Year 9 Polly Pye, Sir Graham Balfour School, Stafford

Jour de fete - classic Jacque Tati film at Artrix, Bromsgrove - 7pm 22nd September

West Midlands

Showing at Artrix in Bromsgrove on 22nd September at 7pm "Jour de fête" (aka Festival Day, The Big Day) (1949) by the French director Jacques Tati.


Jour de fête tells the story of an inept and easily distracted French mailman who frequently interrupts his duties to converse with the local inhabitants and inspect the travelling fair that has come to his small community. Influenced by too much wine and a newsreel account of rapid transportation methods used by the United States postal system, he goes to hilarious lengths to speed the delivery of mail while aboard his bicycle.


In Jour de fête, several characteristics of Tati's work appear for the first time in a full-length film. The film is largely a visual comedy, though dialogue is still used to tell part of the story, at one point using a background character as a narrator. Sound effects are a key element of the film, as Tati makes imaginative use of voices and other background noises to provide humorous effect. The film introduces what would be a key theme in Tati films, the over-reliance of Western society on technology to solve its (perceived) problems.


For more information and to book, visit the website

European Day of Languages - 26th September 2012

West Midlands

European Day of Languages takes place every year on 26th September. Many schools have their own activities to celebrate languages in Europe and the World and to recognise and celebrate the many languages spoken in our own communities. Ideas we've come across at schools in the West Midlands include themed food in the canteen, foreign language labels around the school, teachers taking the register in a different language every day and some even teach subjects such as Maths or Geography in a different language. It can be wonderful exercise to find out how many different languages are spoken in your school amongst pupils and staff - you might be surprised!


We are able to offer support for your EDL events, we can send along a student ambassador to talk about their experiences with languages or native speakers who can teach taster classes in new, often lesser taught, languages. This year we are also holding a new competition for EDL. For more information on what we can do to help your EDL celebrations, see our Events page.


For even more ideas and fun games, the Council for Europe have set up a website with lots of fun facts, games and activities. To find out more visit

Why It Pays To Be Bilingual

West Midlands

Being bilingual provides a variety of perks. Aside from giving you the ability to impress your latest love interest by reciting foreign poetry, being bilingual also pays dividends – monetarily, cognitively, and culturally. See the graphic below to find out why.


Note to teachers, edubloggers and all those interested: Want to use this infographic in your class or share it on your blog? No problem! You’ll find a cool collection of classroom activities and sharing options below.


(click to enlarge image)


Creative Commons License


Use This Infographic In Your Class

We think that infographics are an awesome learning and teaching tool, so our creations will always be available for you to print out, use with your students and/or embed on your blog!


Warm-Up Activity

Before handing out the infographic, discuss the following question with your students: What are the advantages of being bilingual?


Speaking & Critical Thinking Practice

Questions to ask your students after presenting the infographic:

  1. What is the most surprising fact that you discovered from this infographic?
  2. Is the information in this infographic applicable in your own country or society? Give examples.
  3. Since beginning your English studies, what perspective have you gained on the advantages of being bilingual? Do you agree with the statement that there are cognitive, monetary and cultural benefits to being bilingual? Why or why not?
  4. Today, many people would say that English is the most important language in the world; if English is not your first language, then you should become bilingual in your L1 and English. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
  5. If you agree with the statement in #4, do you think that another language will ever become more important than English?


Writing Challenge

After reviewing this infographic with your students, have them write an essay or blog post based on the facts from the infographic as well as their own findings. Encourage them to do their own research using the sources listed at the bottom of the infographic.


Article from


Foreign Language Films now showing at Artrix Community Arts Centre, Bromsgrove

West Midlands

The autumn 2011 programme of foreign language films at Artrix, Bromsgrove has just been announced.

Foreign language films at Artrix include:

Potiche/Trophy Wife (15) - French with subtitles - 25th and 26th September 2011

A Separation (PG) - Persian with subtitles - 27th and 28th September 2011

Elle s'appelait Sarah/Sarah's Key (12a) - French and English with subtitles - 3rd to 5th October 2011

La Piel Que Habito/The Skin I Live In (15) - Spanish with subtitles - 17th to 19th October 2011

Svet-ake/The Light Thief (15) - Kyrgyz with subtitles - 21st October (2.45pm) and 24th October 2011

L'homme qui voulait sa vie/The Big Picture - French with subtitles - 7th and 10th November 2011

For further details about any of these films please visit, all screenings start at 7.30pm unless otherwise stated.  Tickets can be bought on the day or in advance by phoning the Box Office on 01527 577330 or by visiting the website.

New opportunities for exchange visits in Madrid

West Midlands

The regional authorities of Madrid offer exchanges between schools in Madrid and schools in other countries in 2011-2012.

The students taking part in the exchange may stay:
• with Spanish families.
• at the CIE (School Exchanges Center)

Nr of participants: 15 to 50 students
Ages: 12 to 18
Length: one week
Cost: 62 € per person per week (at the CIE)
Applications deadline: April 20th 2011

For more information see the attached document. Please note this document is in Spanish.