Titles from this year’s lineup we’ve already seen and loved. Check the Berlinale programme for screening dates, times and locations. AMAZING GRACE (C) Unseen for decades at the behest of its subject, Sydney Pollack’s spine-tingling 1972 concert film captures late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin at the height of her performing powers, and receives an extremely belated European premiere in this year’s Out of Competition strand. A COLONY (UNE COLONIE) (G) This Canadian standout from the Generation section is Geneviève Dulude-De Celles’ assured debut feature. It’s an authentic story about fitting in at a difficult age, bolstered by note-perfect performances from a cast of young newcomers. THE CROSSING (GUO CHUN TIAN) (G) Bai Xue’s first feature sees a 16-year-old starting to smuggle goods across the transit zone between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. It’s a deftly balanced coming-of-age story that avoids well-trodden tropes. HANNAH (H) Charlotte Rampling wows in Andrea Pallaoro’s under-seen 2017 drama, which won her the Volpi Cup for Best Actress in Venice. She plays a woman driven into an austere existence as she shoulders the sins of her recently-incarcerated husband. Impactful and unmissable. THE LAST TO SEE THEM (Gli ultimi a vederli vivere) (F) The opening credits of this bold drama reveal that the protagonists, an unassuming rural Italian family, will soon be murdered by home invaders. The film follows them as they unwittingly fritter away their last hours on earth, with increasingly nerve-shredding results. MID90S (P) Jonah Hill makes the leap from schlubby screen star to sharp-eyed auteur with his surprisingly great directorial debut, a nuanced portrait of listless teens with shades of Larry Clark’s Kids and a killer soundtrack. NEVER SLEEP AGAIN (NIE WIEDER SCHLAFEN) (R) A true hidden gem unearthed for this year’s Retrospective, Pia Frankenberg’s 1992 feature is an immersive, wryly amusing account of three women wandering around post-wall Berlin, trying to figure out exactly how they’re meant to feel about the newly reunified nation. RETROSPEKT (F) This Belgian-Dutch co-production is an elliptical, timeline-hopping puzzle box which deals with domestic abuse and sees a woman recovering her memories following an accident. It’s as inventive as it is thought-provoking. SHOOTING THE MAFIA (P) Veteran documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto has devoted her career to championing heroic women. Her latest feature profiles fearless octogenarian Letizia Battaglia, whose jaw-dropping photography exposed the atrocities of Palermo mobsters. WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL (P) A no-brainer for nostalgic cinephiles, this inspiring doc celebrates the legendary film critic by blending evocative archive footage, slick movie montages and reams of Kael’s sublime, punchy prose.
PDK: Perspektive Deutsches Kino