mon 24/06/2019

Berlinale

69th Berlin Film Festival round-up - what a banal Berlinale

As journalists and critics were enjoying the unseasonably balmy weather in Berlin at the 69th Film Festival, all were wondering – where are all the good films? Surely outgoing festival director Dieter Kosslick would want to conclude his 18-year...

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On Body and Soul review - terrible beauty, and beasts

Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi’s On Body and Soul (Testrol es lelekrol) opens on a scene of cold. It’s beautiful, a winter forest landscape, deserted except for two deer: a huge stag and a small doe react to one another in the snow, a tentative...

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The Other Side of Hope review - Aki Kaurismäki at his tragicomic best

It takes real skill to make a film about a desperate Syrian refugee and a dour middle-aged Finn reinventing himself and turn it into the warmest, most life-enhancing film I’ve seen this year. But Aki Kaurismäki has form, he’s been making movies...

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Taxi Tehran

Taxi Tehran is Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s third film since the 2010 prohibition that, among other restrictions, forbade him from working in cinema for 20 years. While its very existence may count as an achievement in itself, much more...

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Closed Curtain

Any consideration of Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain will inevitably be through the prism of how it was made, and the director’s current position in his native country. It’s his second work, after This Is Not a Film from 2011, to be...

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Max Raabe, Wigmore Hall

Fair exchange? German humour, perhaps? We send Her Maj off to the Fatherland for a State Visit, and the Embassy of the Federal Republic in London reciprocates by bringing us the popular singing phenomenon – “national institution”, as he was...

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Stations of the Cross

There is ice at the heart of German director’s Dietrich Brueggemann’s Stations of the Cross (Kreuzweg). Winner of this year’s Berlinale Silver Bear for best script – the director wrote the film in collaboration with his sister Anna – it’s a chilling...

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The Way He Looks

Falling in love for the first time is one of the standard tropes of the movies. Brazilian director Daniel Ribeiro gives it a new twist by making the teenage hero of his The Way He Looks (Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho) blind, and realising in the...

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An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker

We see the harshness of everyday life in Danis Tanović’s An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker first in its snowy, subsistence landscapes, as hero Nazif goes out to the forest to bring in whatever wood he can find to keep the family home warm....

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Berlinale 2014: 20,000 Days on Earth

He cuts a dash, that man Cave. Very tall, gangly, with his idiosyncratic snub nose and upside-down-U-shaped hair, the Australian is a one-off. His growly music isn’t always easy to like. In his fury days with the Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds, he...

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Berlinale 2014: The Winners

The Chinese thriller Black Coal, Thin Ice by director Diao Yinan won the Golden Bear at the closing ceremony of the Berlinale last night, as well as picking up the best actor prize for its star Liao Fan.It was a night for Asian cinema in general,...

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Berlinale 2014: The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq, Yves Saint Laurent, La belle et le bête

You couldn’t imagine The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq (****) coming out of anywhere except France. Three years ago the enfant terrible of French literature vanished for some days from a book tour, giving rise to rumours as extreme as that he had...

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