With a thrillingly diverse selection of films screening across eight days, Achtung Berlin, the city’s homegrown festival is back in its usual April slot – after being dislodged last year – for a snapshot of Berlin’s film scene, as well as our very own English Days weekend of films.
This year, there’s a diverse cinematic lineup, with 10 in Competition and another 10 in the Documentary Competition section. Achtung has also reported a wish to highlight the diversity of Berlin-Brandenburg film productions both in front of and behind the cameras, with over 50 percent of the selected films being directed or scripted by female filmmakers.
Highlights in Competition include several films that grapple with toxic relationships and the struggle to find one’s place within patriarchal patterns and existing power structures, specifically from the female POV: Risse im Fundament addresses abuses of power in the architectural world, Jessy sees the arrival of the patriarch figure disrupt mother-daughter bonds after he returns home following a prison sentence, while Sweet Disaster deals with the aftermath of a breakup in a disarmingly honest and raw way.
Our main pick, however, is Axiom. Screening Out Of Competition at Achtung and fresh from its premiere at this year’s Berlinale in the Encounters section, Jöns Jönsson’s second feature sees the charming and eloquent Julius (a pitch-perfect Moritz von Treuenfels) go through life spouting falsehoods, borrowing anecdotes and compulsively inventing realities. He reveals himself to be a pathological liar who may or may not be able to distinguish fact from fiction.
It’s an unpredictable, fascinatingly uneasy watch that keeps you on the edge of your seat and has plenty of layers to peel regarding social behaviour and how the modern ideal of self-reinvention invites not only imposter syndrome but ends up creating imposters. It was undoubtedly one of the strongest films to premiere at this year’s festival – across all categories – so don’t miss out.
Regarding the documentary strand, highlights include this year’s opening film, Als Susan Sontag im Publikum saß, which will be screening as part of our English Days selection, Among Us Women, which accompanies expectant mothers in Ethiopia and shines a light on the challenges they face in a society with entrenched patriarchal values, and Heimatkunde, which follows students and their teachers as they delve into former GDR school doctrine.
All screenings are spread out across eight venues – from the grand Kino International to Neukolln’s cosy Wolf Kino. Check out the full programme here and make sure to check out our rundown of our beloved English Days, Exberliner’s three-day takeover of Prenzlauer Berg’s Lichtblick Kino, which brings you a 3-film programme with English subtitles and moderation with filmmakers. Click here for our full rundown.
Achtung Berlin Festival / April 20-27 / Kino International, Filmtheater am Friedrichshain, Babylon, Lichtblick Kino, ACUDkino, fsk Kino, City Kino Wedding, Wolf Kino.