Held annually, with special events throughout the year, Final Girls Berlin Film Festival is dedicated to horror films made by women and non-binary directors, scriptwriters and producers.
Their fifth celebration of women in horror takes place from February 6 through February 9 at City Kino Wedding and opens with Mary Harron’s (American Psycho) latest film Charlie Says, a biographical thriller with a twist. Rather than focus on the infamous murderer and cult leader, Harron hones in on the “Manson Girls”, a trio of women who killed for Charlie and who begin to confront their crimes from their prison cells. The diverse feature film line-up includes Carlo Miabella-Davis’ unshakably uncomfortable and thought-provoking fairy tale Swallow, about a newly pregnant woman who develops a twisted compulsion, and features two South American films that are well worth your time: Macarena García Lenzi and Martín Blousson’s Rock Paper Scissors, which will make you appreciate the relative saneness of your family members, and Gabriela Amaral Almeida’s stunning The Father’s Shadow, painting the portrait of a young girl who turns to magic in the wake of her mother’s passing. There’s also Dark Whispers – Volume 1, a horror anthology directed by 11 female filmmakers from Down Under, showing once more how prolific Australia is when it comes to getting under your skin. There’s something for everyone: ghost stories linked to grief, animations about heartbreak, paranoia-soaked morality tales and even a lurid spin on Ron Howard’s Splash.
As always, Final Girls have lined up an expansive selection of horror shorts, separated into eight curated blocks: Bad Romance, Social Ills, #MeToo, Queer Horror, to name but a few, and a common theme that emerges across the sections is cannibalism. Whether it’s the match made in hell between anthropophagy and sexuality, identity or the past’s torments, some of the most memorable shorts deal with this layered topic. Our favourites are Meredith Alloway’s sensational Deep Tissue, Izzy Lee’s topical and brilliantly warped Re-Home, and Audrey Rosenberg’s expectation-subverting and quietly touching Skin.
As if that wasn’t enough to quench your bloodlust, there’s also a horror-inspired self-defence workshop, multimedia drag performances and specialist talks. Don’t be screamish and make sure to attend our highlight: Rue Morgue executive editor and The Faculty Of Horror host Andrea Subissati’s talk on horror martyrs, As God Is My Witness: Martyrdom in Modern-Day Horror.
Final Girls Berlin Film Festival | City Kino Wedding, Feb 6-9. Full programme here.