Dislodged from its usual April slot but not cancelled, the 17th edition of Achtung Berlin launches this month and should get even the staunchest sofa-based streamers back into their favourite Kinos. It’s six glorious days with a total of 70 features, documentaries, middle-length and short films screening over 10 venues – from the grand Kino International to Neukölln’s cosy Wolf – including a competition and a retrospective. Not to forget English Days, EXB’s three-day weekend takeover of Prenzlauer Berg’s Lichtblick Kino, bringing you a five-film programme with English subtitles, plus moderation with filmmakers.
Achtung strengthens its credentials as a springboard for the many inter- national talents emerging from its DFFB film school: Eline Gehring opens the festival with Nico, a drama about a woman dealing with the aftermath of a xenophobic attack (Sep 7, Kino International). Other alumni gracing the programme are York-Fabian Raabe, presenting Borga, a standout debut feature about the myth of prosperity in Europe for Ghanaian migrants, and Georgian director Alexandre Koberidze, kicking off the English Days with his DFFB diploma work and one of the strongest films in this year’s line-up, What Do We See When We Look At The Sky? (Sep 10, 20:30).
This Berlinale Competition favourite, which won the FIPRESCI prize, celebrates the extraordinary in day-to-day life with a blend of timeless romance and magic realism. Also keep an eye out for Rivale, Marcus Lenz’s chamber play about a boy’s jealousy towards his mother’s older partner, which won the New German Cinema Award at the 54th Hof International Film Festival last year.
To top things off, don’t miss our English Days matinée on Sunday (starts 11:00, Lichtblick) with Jonas Rothlaender’s return to Achtung, following his Exberliner Award-winning film Fado in 2016. In Das Starke Geschlecht, the filmmaker confronts various men about sexual fantasies and gender roles; their testimonials build to a candid, playful and surprisingly impactful documentary on masculine stereotypes. Preceded by the short Ein Raum Für Männer by veteran critic turned director Frédéric Jaeger, it’ll be a testosterone-fuelled morning, rounded off with a brunch to remember, supplied by Masha’s Bagels & Delicatessen.
Achtung Berlin Sep 7-12, Cinemas across town / EXB English Days, Sep 10-12