The 70th Berlinale is now over and it’s been a particularly strong year, with new directors, a sharper curational approach and a lot of bloody good films. You can find all of our coverage on the EXBerlinale Blog page, including film reviews, exclusive interviews with directors and actors, as well as our vlog series for our fresh takes on this year’s Competition winners and losers. And speaking of winners, Ladj Ly’s Les Miserables bagged the French Oscar (César) last week – in case you missed it, check out our interview with the filmmaker.
Not being one to waste time and take a break after the Berlinale, Berlin is ploughing ahead with another film festival, one that’s well worth your time: The Berlin Feminist Film Week, which has committed to providing a platform for those frequently neglected by the film industry. It starts today until March 9 at the BUFA Campus – make sure to read our preview for our top tips. The festival cannily coincides with International Women’s Day on Sunday, and we recommend that you take a break from Feminist Film Week on the 8th and head to Lichtblick Kino for a fantastic line-up of films directed by female filmmakers. These films don’t only celebrate women but are some of the best around. There’s Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992, with the director Dagmar Schultz in attendance (16:15), the fantastic and patriarchy-challenging satire God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya by Macedonian filmmaker Teona Strugar Mitevska at 18:00, followed by Greta Gerwig’s stunning adaptation of Little Women at 19:45. As if that weren’t enough to spend the evening in the cosy kino, Lichtblick has saved the best till last with our favourite film of last year, Celine Sciamma’s stunning 18th century romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire, screening at 22:00. Don’t miss out.
It’s a mixed bag this week for general releases. Top priority should be Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’ documentary For Sama, a visceral first-person account of the female experience of conflict. Emma. is the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1815 novel about the restless matchmaker; it’s a stylish but unambitiously faithful piece that doesn’t rock the frocks. Pixar also have a new release this week with Onward, a middling effort that looks great but isn’t top-tier material like Ratatouille or Inside Out. The biggest disappointment is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest film La Vérité (The Truth) – his first feature outside of his native Japan. It’s an uninspired mother-daughter film you’ve seen countless times before, and it’s genuinely baffling how the filmmaker behind the 2018 Palme d’Or-winning Shoplifters could make such a bland film. Lastly, Bloodshot is the latest shoot-em-up action flick that had plenty of potential in the shape of a nifty plot twist, but squanders its promising elements in favour of a jacked Vin Diesel doing his signature mumble-grunt and looking like a smacked arse.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that Babylon are starting a retrospective today on 30 of the most famous clowns in film. The Clowns series starts today at 18:15 with a panel discussion on the circus and avant-garde connections made on cultural stages, with chief dramaturg of Komische Oper Berlin Ulrich Lenz leading the discussion, followed by a screening of Todd Phillips’ Joker at 19:30 (with an introduction by Dr. Anna-Sophie Jürgens). The loose definition of the term ‘clown’ means the programme goes from Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight to Fellini’s La Strada, all the way to both Tim Burton’s Batman films and 2017’s It. We recommend you don’t miss the opportunity to catch Monty Python’s Life of Brian (today and tomorrow at 22:00), Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law (on the 7th at 21:30 and 11th at 22:00) and a double helping of the Marx Brothers tomorrow, with Duck Soup at 18:30 followed by A Night At The Opera at 20:00.
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