Berlinale 2015: A Guide to Selecting Films

Berlinale Red Carpet

photo by Ali Ghandtschi

It’s nearly Berlinale time and the city is buzzing with excitement.

The festival will show more than 400 films and is expecting close to half a million visits to the screenings taking place across the city. The program is already online and the first tickets have gone on sale. But how is one expected to make sense of the huge selection and find films one actually will enjoy?

Skylar has put together a list of highly anticipated films that’s worth reading. And of course there are plenty of articles with recommendations that can give you an idea. It’s usually films that were raved about at Sundance, films that have been anticipated highly, films from famous directors, with ingenious actors or winners from a few years back. However you never know if that just means that tickets will sell out immediately or if those films are actually down your alley. And it’s good to keep in mind that writers who do recommend movies before they’ve premiered often haven’t seen the films either, so really it’s just a lucky guess based on what they know based on press releases and participants of the project.

Therefore we recommend you to also make your own choices! Read our little guide on how to select the right films for your Berlinale visit…

Lia by Lia
on February 4th, 2015
in Events, Movies

Notes of Berlin – The Movie


Those of you who understand German have surely at one point in their Berlin life laughed out loud about one of the hilarious notes from Notes of Berlin that normally spread like a wildfire on Facebook. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Notes of Berlin is a collection of the funniest notes that people hang somewhere in public to address their noisy neighbors, ignorant customers, bike thieves, subway flirts and other fellow citizens. It’s an interesting reflection of the sass and wit of Berliners, but also of their anger, rudeness and sometimes their bad grammar.

Some of the notes have more than just a complaint behind them, but a whole story attached to it that I very often wonder how it might continue once the person the note is addressed to actually reads it. I think quite a few fans of the site might feel like that and I think it’s this thought that triggered the idea of turning the website into a movie. After so many other blogs turned their websites into books, this one might actually be the first one that comes out as a movie. But how does that work? The team behind the film has selected some of the most interesting notes and wrote stories around them that will be put together like puzzle pieces. The result is going to be one hell of an anthology film with the craziest Berliners in it and I am very sure it will be at least as funny as the blog.

Right now a film lab has been started where people can discuss the notes and submit new ones and a big casting is going on to find the people who will play in the film. They can be actors, but also non-actors. And in typical Notes of Berlin style the casting calls are hung around the city as notes. After the jump you can see some of them, or maybe you will also find them somewhere in your neighborhood? Enjoy some of the notes after the jump.

Frank by Frank
on November 26th, 2014
in Movies

Desire Will Set You Free – A New Berlin Film

desire will set you free 03

Considering that Berlin is such a hyped city I’m actually quite surprised that there are not more movie projects about it. With Ecke Weserstraße we already got a new series dedicated to our city exploring the life of a group of young people living in Kreuzkölln trying to make it here. But the brand new Desire Will Set You Free could potentially become the next big Berlin movie. With a quick glance at the trailer we get to see all the typical ingredients that already made Berlin Calling such a big success: Nightlife, romance, sex, drugs and a little bit of rebellious behavior, all of that mixed with some queerness and star power by Nina Hagen and Peaches. My favorite scene so far however is the one with the old man sitting in the cupcake shop of my friend Dawn talking about what old people like to see – a nice contrast to the otherwise mostly hedonistic scenes.

Director Yony Leyser says that his film is about contemporary life in Berlin and while some viewers might be sceptical that this film once again seems to reduce Berlin to sex, drugs and parties, I remain quite curious about what this particular life will look like. I think between the lines it’s going to be about more than just sweat and dancing. While the makers are currently still seeking financial support for the postproduction the final film is scheduled for a release in Fall or Winter of this year. Get a preview after the jump.

Frank by Frank
on July 28th, 2014
in Movies

Sex, Drugs and Greed: The Wolf of Wall Street


„Sell me this pen!“ challenges Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) the audience of his sales seminar. Empty faces look back at him and into the audience in the cinema.  They all want to become rich and lead the life Belfort once had. The audience seems hopeful and reflects the cinema’s audience, who knows the correct answer to the challenge after three hours of entertaining cinema. But what remains is the question if we even want to know this answer…

Lia by Lia
on January 21st, 2014
in Movies

Still my favorite Christmas Flick


There are plenty of new films in the cinemas these days, that are certainly worth forgetting about the world outside the screening room for 90 minutes. But if you ask me there is only one film we need right now.

Of course there are better films, deeper films, more meaningful and arty films than this one, but when you want to get ready for Christmas to stop fighting and begin enjoying the crazy shoppers and Christmas lights, this truly is what you need…

Lia by Lia
on December 17th, 2013
in Movies

Blue Jasmine


If you know less after a film than you did before, that’s actually a huge compliment. Because art is meant to startle you, to plant questions in your head and trigger new thoughts. That’s why it’s great, fun and important. Blue Jasmine managed to do precisely this to me. The latest Woody Allen film made me think about things I hadn’t thought about in a long time and reigned the conversation after…

Lia by Lia
on December 3rd, 2013
in Movies

Let’s watch some Porn!?


When I went to the Berlin Porn Film Festival for the first time a couple of years ago I was nervous. Of course I pretended to be super cool and calm, but when I walked into the Moviemento I did have a bit of a weird feeling and wasn’t sure what to expect.

It didn’t help that everyone in the cinema seemed to know each other and the bar was dark and red, but I fought my way to a seat and  actually really enjoyed the documentary I saw. It was a film by Rosa von Praunheim, and until today I have not made it to a public porn film screening but who knows, this might be the week that changes…

Lia by Lia
on October 22nd, 2013
in Events, Movies

The King of Lust


9 Songs

I’ve been a fan of Michael Winterbottom since he made the scandalous 9 Songs. He announced it was the first film of a new genre in which a mixture of Art House films and hard core porn merge to form Art Core. I adored the film and his comments about the depiction of sexuality and was excited to see what he would do next. Unfortunately Winterbottom went back to shooting fairly standard films instead of proceeding his just developed genre. His latest work The Look of Love is now hitting German screens…

Lia by Lia
on September 3rd, 2013
in Movies

Friday Night Comedy – The Heat


To be entirely honest, I haven’t really watched many films over the last few weeks. Summer is finally here and I feel more like hanging out with friends and have a beer outside than to look at a screen for two hours. This feeling of „filmlessness“ is pretty new and somewhat odd, but after I had enough of the beer last week, Friday night was perfect for an easy watching night and so I spent the evening with Sandra Bullock und Melissa McCarthy watching The Heat.

Lia by Lia
on July 30th, 2013
in Movies

A Trailer Party


It was way too hot to go to the movies and I was too addicted to New Girl (not advisable when apartment hunting – simply nobody can keep up with those roommates) to watch exciting DVDs. So all I can offer is a little Trailer Party with beautiful, exciting and hopefully good films and some namedropping: Pedro Almodovar, Ryan Gosling, Antonio Banderas, Nicolas Winding Refn, Kristin Scott Thomas...

Lia by Lia
on June 25th, 2013
in Movies