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Berlinale 2015

2015-02-18 00:38

The great Berlinale Internaltional Film Festival 2015 is over. Time for a short wrap up of the films I've watched. I'll include the one sentence review that I always tweeted right after each film.

This overview is sorted by ranking, so you can easily spot the must watch films.

Must watch films

The films that were outstanding got a rating of 5/5. Those are the ones that I feel everyone should watch and will probably enjoy.

Feature films

Taxi

Berlinale program page

Unforeseeable, amusing trip that paints a diverse picture of today's Iran

The Golden Bear is really well deserved. Given that Jafar Panihi is not allowed to work as a film maker, makes this movie even more astonishing.

Varieté

Berlinale program page

Classic tragic suspenseful love story

Although the film is originally from 1925, it shows that stories about love are timeless. The top rating is mostly due to the atmosphere the live music created. I'm not sure if it is that impressive when watched with audio through speakers.

Vergine giurata (Sworn Virgin)

Berlinale program page

Touching film about family and finding the gender identity

This drama doesn't need much words, it evolves a lot through the pictures. It's one of the films that moves slowly without being lengthy.

Mariposa (Butterfly)

Berlinale program page

Uncommon, clever and complex film about love and relationships

It took me a while to really understand what's going on, but it's exactly that cluelessness that makes that film that great.

Documentaries

Tell Spring Not to Come This Year

Berlinale program page

Extremely disturbing/moving documentary about Afghan troops after ISAF

There's not much news how things are in Afghanistan with the ISAF troops leaving, it got quite silent. It's thanks to one of the film makers that served himself in Afghanistan for the British troops that made it possible to have such an great insight view on how the war against the Taliban is still ongoing. The Panorama Audience Award is well deserved.

Danielův Svět (Daniel’s World)

Berlinale program page

Stunning must-watch documentary about coming-out as pedophile

This documentary touches a topic I've never thought of before. How can you live with being a pedophile? I really admire the protagonist. He speaks openly about his life, desires and problems. How shows well, that pedophiles shouldn't be lumped together with child abusers. The vast majority of child abusers are not even pedophiles, children are often just an easier target for them.

Great films

These are the films that I really liked (a rating of 4/5). Though I guess some of them depend really a lot on my personal taste.

Feature films

Nadie quiere la noche (Nobody Wants the Night)

Berlinale program page

Tragic critism of humanity about love and friendship

It was the first film I watched at the Berlinale, I didn't know what to expect and how many great movies I was going to see. Looking back I think it's only a 3/5.

Nasty Baby

Berlinale program page

Starts slow, get's disturbing film about different moral concepts and anger management

It sometimes has a great use of pop music.

Hedi Schneider steckt fest (Hedi Schneider is Stuck)

Berlinale program page

Anxiety states and the effect on the family

I mostly decided to watch this one as one of my favourite films Farland starring the same main actress Laura Tonke. I wasn't disappointed. It was also interesting to hear that a lot of scenes that were in the original script got left out during the cutting process. And this is really what the film feels like, it's reduced to the story it wants to tell.

El Club (The Club)

Berlinale program page

Weird moral concepts under the cover of the Catholic Church

This is really a dark and sometimes bizarre movie. The Silver Bear is well deserved.

Selma

Berlinale program page

Gripping film about Martin Luther King Jr's fight for the voting rights of the black

I had the luck to be at the gala event of the film. It luckily doesn't feel as lengthy as the running time suggests.

Knight of Cups

Berlinale program page

In search of life fulfilment

I'm sure many people dislike the movie. If you don't know the feeling of emptiness inside, although you have everything. And don't know how it feel to search for something without neither finding, nor what you're exactly looking for, then don't watch it.

Virgin Mountain

Berlinale program page

A film full of emotions about unconditional love

I needed to watch this movie as I generally enjoy films from Iceland and additionally the director Dagur Kári also directed on of my favourite films Nói albínói. This one didn't touch me as much as Nói albínói back in the days, but it's still a pleasant film to watch.

De ce eu (Why me?)

Berlinale program page

Solid film portraying a young prosecutor fighting the system in Romania

It wasn't that easy to follow the film, given that it was a complex matter and with sub-titles. I rated the film higher after I got to know that it is heavily based on a real person (even the affair is part of that).

Stories of Our Lives

Berlinale program page

Pleasant collection of episodes about homosexuality in Kenya

It's a collection of short films, all in the same style. Some are funny, some are tragic.

Ten no chasuke (Chasuke’s Journey)

Berlinale program page

Funny japanese style film about prevision

The idea of having someone writing our lives is a good one and leads to very funny situations. It reminded me a bit of Bruce Almighty and The Truman Show.

Madare ghalb atomi (Atom Heart Mother)

Berlinale program page

Getting pulled into something without much choice

I changed that tweet three times. First the rating (up to 4/5), then the contents. Thanks to someone nice sitting next to me in the next film, I was able to hear what others thought about it as it wasn't really clear to me. During the next film I then suddenly felt like understanding what it was about and how great it was.

In case you also don't feel like getting the point, feel free to get in touch with me and we can discuss it.

Chrieg

Berlinale program page

"Anger without opponent" [quotation of the director]

It's not a film about a shiny world where everything is fine. It shows well that things go wrong and there needs something to be done in our society. It manages to be drastic without getting unrealistic.

Documentaries

Flotel Europa

Berlinale program page

Interesting retrospective of yugoslavian refugees from the view of a child

It was interesting to see a film whose footage was shot many years ago an is solely based on VHS tapes.

Me’kivun ha’yaar (Out of the Forest)

Berlinale program page

Documentary showing personal perspectives on the WWII mass murder in Ponary

If war crimes happen, people often pretend they didn't knew it, don't remember or are just not talking about it. This documentary shows that it can also be a relief for some to be able to finally speak about what happened.

Average films

These are films that I enjoyed but are not really special (rating of 3/5).

Feature films

Mr. Holmes

Berlinale program page

Solid film about hindsight making a change even at old age

I consider this a harmless main stream movie that is good to watch.

Seeds of time

Berlinale program page

Interesting documentary about Cary Fowler's mission to preserve the bio diversity

The topic it covers is really interesting. I didn't rate it higher as the documentary itself isn't done that well. Sometimes I felt like I've heard that information before. It could have been condensed. It was also not really pushing forward a story as other documentaries did. I wonder if a 40 minutes version of it could say the same.

Petting Zoo

Berlinale program page

Beautiful pictures about an end of high school girl dealing with pregnancy

It's a very atmospheric film. I enjoyed watching it. Though it's sadly nothing special.

Elser (13 Minutes)

Berlinale program page

Being fed up with the system and the urge to take action on your own

It's a solid main stream movie based in Nazi Germany. It's interesting, well told and played. It reminded me of a TV production you'd watch with your family on a Friday evening on public TV.

Cha và con và (Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories)

Berlinale program page

Living as young gay in today's Vietnam

I really liked the pictures, but the story is a bit shallow.

Superwelt (Superworld)

Berlinale program page

Mysterious film about self-doubts and self-discovery

It almost got a rating of 4/5, but somehow the overall movie didn't cut it for me.

Documentary

Freie Zeiten (After Work)

Berlinale program page

Entertaining documentary with interesting views on recreational activites

It was OK to watch with some funny situations, though overall just too average

Sergio Herman, Fucking Perfect

Berlinale program page

A workaholic trying to get out of it

Well made documentary, but sadly too much of a portrait of Sergio Herman. I found documentaries about people that change or try to change the world more interesting.

Cobain: Montage of Heck

Berlinale program page

Solid, but average documentary about Kurt Cobain

I don't know what I expected, but somehow I expected more of the documentary. It was interesting and well made, but just wasn't as good as other documentaries I've seen.

Other films

The following are films with no rating or a rating of 2/5 or less. All of them were feature films.

Body

Berlinale program page

Coping with sorrow

I might have been too tired when I watched that, but somehow I couldn't connect to it, hence it only got a 2/5.

Journal d'une femme de chambre (Diary of a Chambermaid)

Berlinale program page

Waiting for the grand finale to no avail

I was always waiting for the twist or the scene that adds another perspective, but it just didn't happen, hence it's only a rating of 1/5.

Pod electricheskimi oblakami (Under Electric Clouds)

Berlinale program page

Desolate future

The film is divided into seven episodes spanning over two hours. After each episode some people left the cinema. I also felt like one episode would've been enough. Rating: 1/5.

Aferim!

Berlinale program page

Historic narration of the situation in Walachia in the 19th century

As my interest is not in historic movies about Walachia it's a 1/5.

Berlinale Shorts I

No notable short film

The shorts were really disappointing. I would've expected more of a short movie selection at the Berlinale. The Filmtage Augsburg do a better job on the selection.

Mar

Berlinale program page

#didnotunderstandit

I don't really understand what the intention of this film was. It even wasn't much clearer after the Q&A session. It's supposed to be about the tension of the relationships of the main character between his girlfriend and his mother. I also didn't understand the end. As it had nice pictures and someone might get the point I decided to not giving a rating.

Black President

Berlinale program page

#lackingknownledgeofarts

I accidentally bought a ticket for this one. I thought it would be short films, but it was a movie in the Forum Expanded section. It seemed like a well made documentary, but I felt knowing too little about art and the culture in South Africa. Hence I refrained from rating it.

Categories: en, film, festival

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By Volker Mische

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