MICHAEL "BULLY" Herbig's western genre spoof, "Manitou's Shoe" is one of the opening films for the 11th annual "New Films From Germany" series at Visions Cinema/Bistro/Lounge (1927 Florida Ave. NW). It's about two blood brothers in the American West of 1862, Apache chief Abahachi (German comedian Herbig) and white trapper Ranger (Christian Tramitz), who are looking for treasure and also trying to escape a false murder rap. A road comedy, filled with Monty Python- and Mel Brooks-style gags, it's the all-time most popular domestic success in Germany. It screens at 7:30 Friday.
The series, which kicked off with a gala Thursday night and a screening of Andreas Dresen's "Grill Point," showcases some of the best German-made films of the year. The event is presented by Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes in Washington and the Export Union of German Cinema, with support from the German Information Center in New York.
Many of the films will feature discussions with film scholars and other experts. And German actor Nadeshda Brennicke will attend both screenings of her film, "Tattoo," which screens Saturday.
There are many promising titles in this lineup of 10 features and 12 shorts:
* "School Trip," shown Friday at 5:30 and 9:15. Henner Winckler's film is a romance between two students on a school trip to Poland.
* "Tattoo," shown Saturday at 4 and 7. Robert Schwentke's stylish, grisly thriller is about a serial murderer who flays people for their tattoos.
* "Getting My Brother Laid" (aka "My Brother the Vampire"), Saturday at 2 and 9:30. In Sven Taddicken's film, two siblings arrange for their retarded brother to lose his virginity.
* "Sophiiiie!", Sunday at 1:30 and 6:30. In Michael Hofmann's movie, a young woman in Hamburg goes on a self destructive jag when she learns she's pregnant.
* "Grill Point," Sunday at 3:45 and 8:45. A relationship drama set in Frankfurt, this follows two couples who get enmeshed in affairs with one another.
* "Starbuck -- Holger Meins," Monday at 4:45 and 7. Gerd Conradt's film is about Holger Meins, the first member of the notorious 1970s Red Army Faction terrorist group to die in custody. Includes a discussion with Katrin Sieg, a professor at Georgetown University, after the second screening.
* "Baader," Monday at 2 and 9:30. Christopher Roth's movie chronicles the rise of Andreas Baader from small-time car thief to leader of the Marxist revolutionary Red Army Faction. The soundtrack includes music by local band Trans Am. Sieg will introduce the 9:30 screening.
* "Home Truths," Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:15. Carsten Fiebeler's film is a comic thriller in which two robbery victims attempt to exploit the loss of their possessions for insurance money.
* "99 Euro Films," Tuesday and Wednesday at 9:15. A collection of 12 shorts from Germany in which the budget for each film was held to 99 Euros -- less than $100.
* "Absolut Warhola," Thursday at 6 and 7:45. In the closing film, Stanislaw Mucha's tongue-in-cheek documentary visits with the many Eastern European relatives of painter Andy Warhol. Geralyn Huxley, curator of film and video at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, will lead a discussion after the 7:45 screening. A party follows at Visions with a cash bar featuring happy hour specials on German beer and Absolut Vodka.
The "99 Euro Films" program repeats Thursday at 10 with a "bottomless mug" of German beer included for patrons. This event costs $10.
Admission for all films (except for the closing "99 Euro" screening) is $8 ($6.50 for seniors, military and students.) For more information visit www.VisionsDC.com or www.goethe.de/washington. To reach Visions, call 202-667-0090. Call Goethe at 202-289-1200.
-- Desson Howe