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Special Screening Goethe-Institut 2013
Warum lernen Sie Deutsch – Planet Goethe Maren Niemeyer

Pope Francis, the writer Avi Primor, the opera diva Renée Fleming and more than 200,000 other people in 91 countries are doing it: learning German at a Goethe Institute. Why and how?

Warum lernen Sie Deutsch – Planet Goethe

Documentary Film
87 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Cordula Kablitz-Post, avanti media
Maren Niemeyer
Christian Ketels, Jens Staeder, Lorenz Haarmann, Chris Rowe
Kirstin Geller
Maren Niemeyer
Moritz Hömberg
The Goethe-Institut’s language classes are currently seeing a worldwide boom. Over 200,000 people at 150 Institutes in 91 countries are now learning the German language – more than ever before. With a total of 185 million speakers, German ranks eighth in the list of the most widely spoken languages of the world.
This trend was cause enough for director Maren Niemeyer to investigate why and how the German language is holding its ground in our digitally networked and globalised world. Her documentary goes back to the beginnings of the Goethe-Institut’s language work, using fascinating archive material to tell the eventful story of “Teaching German as a Foreign Language” from 1951 until today.
The film crew travelled across the continents, from Spain to Russia to Vietnam, from Ethiopia to Bavaria and Berlin through to Silicon Valley in California, to meet people whose motives for learning German are as different as their backgrounds. They are students and school kids, nurses and engineers, cleaners and IT managers, artists and diplomats. And some of them are fairly well-known, for example Pope Francis, the Israeli Avi Primor or the US-American opera diva Renée Fleming.