German fairy tales are not the best solution for totally beginners, however, it’s worth trying reading or listening to their easier versions (see below). They are ideal for learners who would like to improve their vocabulary and have great imagination and love to read, listen or watch fantasy genre at the same time. We are talking here about stories and films which were written or made by Germans. The plot is always great, the films are of highly quality and you will enjoy watching them.
If you would like to READ fairy tales, then feel free to take advantage of the following possibilities:
Reading – EASY language:
Literatur in einfacher Sprache – when you are there just click on the Märchen box on the left hand side menu. These texts have been adjusted for kids with hearing impairment.
Another valuable source of fairy tale films can be found here: Märchen TV(this is actually a real fairy tale TV!)
Materials provided by Goethe Institute that you can use for your classes can be found here: Märchen im Unterricht. You can find many other interesting stuff there. Just look at the tabs at the top of the page!
Films in this list were made in 2015 and 2016 which is why we can call them “new”. There were also made by native Germans which is why we can call them “German”. Some of them are so new that they cannot be watched online. Below you will find short descriptions to each film. If you like some of them you can watch them online or you can even order a DVD.
Grüße aus Fukushima, 2016
This is a story about two women, one from Germany and the other from Japan, and their broken dreams.
4 Könige, 2015
This film shows four young men who spend Christmas in a psychiatric clinic. This is a heartbreaking story.
Watch the films from this list online (trailers included):
Fack Ju Göhte 2, 2015
This is the second part of the comedy about the unusual teacher Zecki Müller and his students. He is a former convict and a replacement teacher.
A young refugee from Lebanon tries to get back on his feet in the suburb of Berlin. He is also questioning his manhood.
Anna lives her little life, reserved and without any excesses until she meets a wolf. That encounter changes her life completely.
This is a story about two young men whose lives do not interfere, they live in their own realities. One of them commits a homicide at the end.
Schau mich nicht so an, 2015
An interesting story about love and passion. Two women are involved in a love affair. The situation becomes complicated when on of them fells in love with the father of the other one.
Order a DVD:
This is a family drama which tells a story about a boy and his farther. They live in Kosovo. The father wants to leave the boy, but the later finds him in Germany. This film has received the New German Movie award at the Münchener Filmfest.
Die dunkle Seite des Mondes, 2015
After his colleague commits suicide, a successful lawyer and family man Urs Blank is attracted to an unconventional woman and her magical world. He makes a move that could cost him a lot.
Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer, 2015
The federal prosecutor Fritz Bauer is ready to do anything to catch the German Nazi Eichmann.
If you search in the Internet you will certainly find many lists where someone recommends some German films. I cannot say if you can trust those lists or not, I only know that I saw many German films and not all of them were good. However, some of them I count to the best movies that I have ever seen if my life. Here is my top-ten list of German films which made a big impression on me, which are clever, funny or full of action and they are all certainly remarkable and worth watching. I just want to add that I included links that lead to Amazon next to the films because in most cases that is the only way to watch these films (they cannot be found on any illegal servers). However, some of them can be watched on YouTube and I added those links too.*
1. Fack ju Göhte (2013)
This modern, captivating comedy about the teachers every day life will make you laugh out loud. It will also touch you to tears. You will find out that high school students are challenging for teachers not only in your country but also in Germany. For more information about the film click here (IMDb). In order to watch a trailer with English subtitles click here. You can order your copy here or you can watch it directly by Amazon:
You can also learn some German swearwords and every day words by clicking here.
2. Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland (2010)
There are about 2 million Turks in Germany. They mostly live their lives and do not wish to interfere with the German state. You can here the term “parallel society” which is being tied to the Turks in Germany in order to describe their life style. This film depicts the family history of one of the first Turks who came to Germany as “Gastarbeiter” in a clever and funny way. It will touch you to tears, make you laugh and teach you at least one of the most important life lessons.
You can order your copy here or you can watch it directly by Amazon – just click here (trailer included).
3. Lola rennt
Lola runs whole the time during the film but with good purpose, because she is in love. This film is very clever and inspiring and it was my favourite German film for a long time.
You can watch German television channels online and for free. All you need to do is to register at deutsches-fernsehen.net. Register now and watch ZDF, SAT1, WDR, ARD, RBB and many more channels via Internet. It’s free!
If you don’t need any suggestions from third parties and would like to explore the ARD Mediathek yourself, then click here. You can find there many different shows, so choose what you prefer the most.
If you don’t want to limit yourself to just one online archive (ARD Mediathek) and wish to browse through other German television transmitters’ online archives and choose shows (TV-Series, Films, Reportages or News) that you would like to watch, you can do that by using a program called MediathekView. It enables you to search by categories and keywords. The chosen show starts per one mouse click and you can even download it and watch later. Each show is usually available only 7 days after the broadcasting.
FAIRY TAILS (TV FILMS)
If you wish to spend a cozy weekend or evening watching films in German language, then fairy tails are the best solution for you. I enjoy watching film versions of fairy tails which were written by Grimm brothers. Their language might be little demanding demanding, however, it is worth trying. Any word that you manage to understand will be like a gift for you. Give it a try and keep watching as many TV-shows and films as you can because it is a good practice. Clickhere to watch various fairy tails.
ROTE ROSEN (German soup opera)
Click here in order to watch 4 latest episodes (~50 Min. each). For more episodes (20 latest episodes) visit this YouTube channel.
If you thought that Germans do not have soup operas, you were wrong! Yes, they have, and they are good! This one is my favourite.
MANN/FRAU (singles’ life in a big city)
Click here to watch the first season. After each episode is over, just click on ‘zur nächsten Folge’ on the video in order to watch the next episode.
This is a modern comedian TV-series. It consists of very short episodes (~ 5 Minutes) and is available online – it has its own home page and a fun page on Facebook where you can find the newest episodes. If you are an advanced learner who wishes to practice their listening then this is the right choice for you.
DIE SENDUNG MIT DER MAUS (TV-series for children)
When I work with small children, I read them stories in German (preferably picture books) or we watch cartoons. So I have discovered “Die Sendung mit der Maus” which contains short and very funny cartoons. The main protagonists are a mouse, an elephant and a duck. They do not speak, however, those cartoons still offer a good possibility to learn a foreign language, especially by describing what we see. You can watch these cartoons by clicking here. “Die Sendung mit der Maus” contains also episodes with short documentaries which can be interesting both for children and adults. You can practice your listening by clicking here. If you wish, you may explore the web page which is dedicated to the cheerful trio by clicking here.
SESAMSTRASSE (TV-series for children)
This series is being broadcasted by the NRD TV-station. It has its own web page which is very convenient. When you navigate to this web page (click here) you will find interesting online games for children and you can watch the newest episodes. This is a very good learning opportunity.