It’s a very strong week for releases, apart from one notable exception.
Let’s get the dud out of the way first, by advising you to avoid Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins like the plague. Now that’s done, onto far more exciting fare.
Two major awards winners are finally out in cinemas, following some lengthy delays because of you-know-what: the Oscar-winning debut film by Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman, and 2020’s Golden Bear winner, Mohammad Rasoulof’s Sheytan vojud nadarad (There Is No Evil).
The first is a darkly comic thriller that sees Carey Mulligan give the performance of her already impressive career as Cassie, a 30-year-old medical school dropout who fakes blacking-out drunk behaviour to see how far her “nice-guy” hook-ups will go with someone who they believe is too smashed to resist their advances.
The second became the third Iranian film in the last 10 years to win the Golden Bear, following Jafar Panahi’s Taxi Teheran and Asghar Farhadi’s A Seperation. Filmed in secret following Rasoulof’s prison sentence and filmmaking ban, it sees the director boldly and thought-provokingly denounce Iranian repression with four genre-fluid shorts that revolve around capital punishment and go out of their way to disprove the film’s provocative title.
Another 2020 Berlinale alum is out this week: Victor Kossakovsky’s Gunda. Shot in black-and-white and without any dialogue, the documentary follows the daily life of a sow and her piglets, two cows, and a one-legged chicken. Best not to reveal too much, but safe to say that it features the most heart-breaking single-shot final sequence that’ll stay with you for a very long time.
And for those of you who like a music doc, rejoice: Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan. It’s a fascinating and freewheeling portrait of the infamous and self-destructive Pogues frontman that is well worth your time. It sees the legendary Julien Temple, who has been a lifelong chronicler of music’s most transgressive figures – most notably with his 1980 Sex Pistols documentary The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle – tell a story of rock, excess and punk beauty with great heart and a fair amount of quirky humour. We had the pleasure of interviewing the legendary Julian Temple, who shared with us how chaotic it is trying to work with the infamous MacGowan, as well as a few insights and anecdotes from his time filming the London punk scene and his creative partnership with David Bowie.
On the events front, you’d do well to book tickets for a film series hosted by Mobile Kino and an upcoming festival.
Mobile Kino’s Mexico Scope series, which celebrates the very best of Mexican cinema, starts tonight at 20:30 with Esto No Es Berlin at Kiezkino Charlottenburg. Other notable selected films include La Camarista on the 20th, Las Niñas Bien on the 21st and the recently released and reviewed Nuevo Orden (New Order) on the 23rd. Check out the full schedule here.
The upcoming festival is the 16th filmPOLSKA, the largest Polish film festival in Germany (August 25 – September 1), taking place in 14 cinemas and open-air locations across Berlin. It provides a creative platform for cultural exchanges between filmmakers and cinemagoers, screening recent Polish fiction and documentary films, as well as organising retrospectives and workshops. The Competition section comprises seven current productions and is rounded off this year by special screenings by seasoned directors such as Agnieszka Holland and Jolanta Dylewska. Check out the programme here. We recommend you rush to book tickets for screenings of this year’s opening film Sweat, Magnus von Horn’s fantastic influencer drama (which the director will present at Freiluftkino Kreuzberg on the 25th at 21:15) and Never Gonna Snow Again, Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert’s award-winning film about a Russian-speaking immigrant working as a masseur who unexpectedly builds a cult following.
That’s it for us this week. Happy screenings, and don’t overlook previously released films that are still screening in your local kino, like the harrowing achievement that is Quo Vadis, Aida? (cheeky plug for our interview with director Jasmila Žbanić) and the fantastic Censor (second cheeky plug for our interview with director Prano Bailey-Bond). Both will doubtlessly rank high on our end-of-year Best Films list and shouldn’t be missed.