Bibi Blocksberg and the Secret of the Blue Owls

At first glance Bibi Blocksberg and the Secret of the Blue Owls (2004, 109 min.) may seem like Germany's answer to Harry Potter, but the characters, created by children's author Elfie Donnelly, predate J.K. Rowling's by two decades. Sent to a boarding school in an ancient mountain town, the title witch (Sidonie von Krosigk) is trailed by a grown-up rival (Corinna Harfouch) who seeks to revive her black magic by navigating a legendary maze hidden beneath the school. Harfouch, so chilling as Magda Goebbels in Downfall, shows a flair for light comedy here, as do costars Katja Riemann (Rosenstrasse) and Ulrich Noethen (The Harmonists) as Bibi's parents. Franziska Buch directed. 2004, 109 min.

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