Back To Nothing
For the 12th time, Achtung Berlin is back for this city’s most self-indulgent cinematic celebration, rounding up a bunch of new films shot or produced in Berlin or made by Berlin filmmakers (nearly 100 this year!), and getting Berlin film celebs to award them prizes – mostly funded by the city government and supported by Herr Bürgermeister in person. There are always a few real gems in the mix of good films, bad films, premieres and re-runs, and the glitterati of the Berlin film world attends the opening ceremony in the palatial, commie-chic Kino International.
This year, it’s Timo Jacobs, a ‘face’ of German cinema, who opens the festivities with a whacked-out UFO of a comedy called Mann im Spagat, his second directorial effort since Klappe Cowboy!. Following last year’s opening downer, this urban fairytale about self-produced water, Elvis hologram shows and bike rallies should make for an anarchic kick-off. (Apr 13, 20:00, Kino International)
Eleven movies joust for the New Berlin Film Award, including Fado by DFFB alum Jonas Rothlaender, an utterly convincing drama about a young doctor who leaves Berlin for Lisbon to win back his ex-girlfriend. (Apr 17, 19:45, Kino Babylon)
Romance (but not fulfilment) is at the heart of Daniel Carsenty’s slow-burning genre hybrid After Spring Comes Fall, a bleak tale of a Kurdish refugee recruited as an informant in Berlin by the Syrian Security Service. (Apr 16, 18:00, Neue Kammerspiele)
Meanwhile, Yony Leyser’s Desire Will Set you Free captures Berlin’s bruised, messed-up beauty with lots of great stand-alone scenes and a who’s who of international lefty radicals, punks and queers. (Apr 19, 20:00, Kino Babylon)
As usual, it’s the non-fiction section that truly delivers, with Britta Wauer’s Rabbi Wolff painting a charming portrait of rabbi and former political correspondent William “Willy” Wolff (Apr 14, 19:45, Filmtheater am Friedrichshain), and Annett Ilijew’s insightful Somos Cuba taking an intimate seven-year look at working-class life in Havana. (Apr 18, 20:00, Kino Babylon)
Another doc that stands out is Fluchtrecherchen (Skizzen), a compilation of elegant, at times playful and never preachy shorts on the refugee crisis. (Apr 20, 18:00, Neue Kammerspiele)
Bonus: keep your eyes peeled for veteran photographer and filmmaker Miron Zownir’s latest feature Back To Nothing, a baffling and at times nightmarishly disorienting odyssey through abandoned locations in Berlin, starring everyone from Birol Ünel to King Khan but strangely relegated (elevated) out of competition status. The less you know, the better; just know to not miss out! (Apr 14, 22:15, Kino Babylon)
Finally, this magazine will partake in the self-congratulating festivities with its own award, handed over to an outstanding film made by an international filmmaker or tackling an international subject. Don’t miss out on the special screening of the winner of the Exberliner Film Award at Lichtblick on April 27, just one week after the fest closes.
Full programme, including times, dates and venues for all screenings, at www.achtungberlin.de.