Annually the weeks leading up to Berlinale turn into a stress test. How well can I maneuver through the seemingly countless names of directors? How optimal can I structure my screening schedule? Will I manage to not only realize on day four that a film with my favorite actor screened on day one?
This year is no exception to this emotional roller-coaster. However due to extended internet research, reading of press newsletters and countless hours spent on the Berlinale website, I’m fairly confident Ive got thinks figured out. I nevertheless share my 10 highlights only with the cautious warning that these are not complete or final and definitely my personal taste. Each film can be your personal cinematic supernova, so head to Potsdamer Platz and into the dark. It’ll be worth it …
Isle of Dogs
Isle of Dogs – Wes Anderson (Competition)
The Stop motion film about a crew of Alpha Dogs on a rescue mission will only hit German theatres on Mai 10th. Getting in line for one of the rare tickets can thus be worth it for fans of the cult director Anderson.
3 Days in Quiberón – Emily Atef (Competition)
Photographer Robert Lebeck and his colleague Michael Jürgs visited famous actress Romy Schneider in the French spa town for three days. The famous actress showed herself vulnerable in front of Lebecks camera making the images world famous. In the Interviews she also opened up to painful honesty. The original documents of those three days are the foundation for this film, which promises to be pretty great.
11 x 17 – James Benning (Forum)
I love James Bennings quiet film experiments, which suck me up and have an almost meditative effect. This first long form by Benning was released in 1977 and returns to the silver screen in a restored version. A highlight for all cineastes. Probably not the right choice for those looking for narrative.
Chef Flynn – Cameron Yates (Culinary Cinema)
19-year-old Flynn McGarry is also referred to as the „Justin Bieber of Food“. The star chef recently opened his first restaurant in New York City and provided archive materials from 18 years for Chef Flynn. A film that allows great insights into the dynamic of the family of a culinary wunderkind.
After the film Flynn will cook dinner for those lucky enough to score one of the rare tickets.
Chef Flynn. Courtesy of Sundance Institute, photo: Will McGarry
Sweet Secrets: Sex in Film (Berlinale Talents)
I wrote my master thesis on Sex in Film and the topic still gets my attention. The discussions on the Berlinale Talents section are often interesting and sometimes boring (as is true for all panel discussions I suppose). This one sound extremely promising.
A work in movement: The restoration works of the Wim Wenders Foundation (Berlinale Classics Event)
Wim Wenders will talk about the restoration work on his film Wings of Desire. All those interested in the material aspect of filmic work shouldn’t miss this talk by the master director himself.
L’Animale – Katharina Mueckstein (Panorama Special)
I worked on one of Kathatina Mueckstein films back in 2010 and really liked her last film Talea. Now the new work of the ex Michael Haneke student hits the screens. It portrays high school graduate Mati on the farewell that follows graduation. Questions of love, friendship and the future play a central part in her endeavour.
Yardie – Idris Elba (Panorama Special)
Idris Elba became known as drug king pin Stringer Bell in the series „The Wire“. With his directorial debut he returns to the world of drugs: the adaptation of Victor Headleys successful novel dives into the world of Jamaican immigrants in 1980s London and accompanies D, who works as a drug dealer seeking revenge on his brothers murderer.
In den Gängen – Thomas Stuber (Competition)
I’ve been a fan of Sandra Hüller since long before her brilliant portrayal of ambitious business consultant in Maren Ades 2016 hit film Toni Erdmann. In Thomas Stubers competition film she plays a supermarket worker who turns the head of her co-worker. I can’t wait…
The Bookshop – Isabel Coixet (Berlinale Special)
Isabel Coixet has been part of the first league of directors for years. The Bookshop already swooped the Spanish film award Goya for best director, best screenplay and best film. It shows the struggles of young widow Florence (Emily Mortimer), who rebels against the conservative society of the fifties with her bookshop.
Check out the full Berlinale program and buy tickets on their website.