Previous instalments of Down Under Berlin Film Festival have placed bombastic genre movies front and centre, but the standouts of this ninth edition are decidedly downbeat. Dustin Feneley’s sparse drama Stray (Sep 26) follows two damaged strangers on a path of healing and reconciliation. It’s a triumphant double character study that deftly employs near-wordless storytelling. Gabrielle Brady’s stunning doc Island of the Hungry Ghosts (Sep 27) draws attention to Christmas Island, Australia’s grim offshore prison camp for asylum seekers. Brady weaves poetic images of the island’s crab migration into reconstructions of detainee therapy sessions, with mesmerising results. And closing the fest is Richard Lowenstein’s achingly intimate Mystify: Michael Hutchence (Sep 29), which traces the charismatic INXS frontman’s meteoric rise to fame, decline in mental health and tragic suicide.
Down Under Berlin Film Festival | Sep 26-29 at Moviemento Kino, Kreuzberg