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This week at the kino: The roads to take and avoid

Berlinale alumni return, a horror adventure for the patient, queer film fest XPOSED, afrofuturism and Freiluftkino picks: Here's what not to miss!

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Disappointment of the week: Sally Potter’s The Roads Not Taken. (UPI)

Out this week on general release is Kokon (Cocoon), Leonie Krippendorff’s second feature which opened this year’s Generation section at the Berlinale. Set in Berlin, it’s a smart, shrewdly observed coming-of-age story that’s worth your time. Make sure to check out our interview with the director. Another Berlinale alumnus hitting the screens is Sally Potter’s The Roads Not Taken, which premiered in Competition. It’s a baffling misfire that clashes quite violently with the usually excellent output from the British filmmaker. Choose to watch Kokon instead, or The Wretched, which is an 80s-indebted horror adventure that just about works due to some nifty late-act twists. This week, we’re also getting the re-release of Christopher Nolan’s Inception, which turns 10 this year. Both an anniversary rerelease and a placeholder as we wait for the delayed and much-anticipated Tenet, it’s a real treat to rewatch a high-concept blockbuster that holds up as one of the most daring and significant blockbusters of the 21st Century.

Lastly, in anticipation for the release of the documentary Burning Man: Art on Fire, which is released worldwide on 22 August on iTunes, Amazon Prime, GooglePlay and Vimeo on Demand, our Tech editor caught up with the producer of the documentary Sophia Swire and one of the main subjects of the film, French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani – make sure to check out the interview.

Regarding upcoming film events and outdoor screenings, we’ve fashioned something of a viewing schedule for the coming days.

Tonight sees Frieluftkino Kreuzberg host Berlin’s beloved XPOSED International Queer Film Festival, with an evening of the most exciting and inspiring queer short films from this year’s festival. Starting at 9.15pm, the eight shorts range from playful to thoughtful – what better way to spend your evening than celebrating queer in all its forms under the summer sky? A more heavy-going alternative is the Human Rights Film Festival’s presentation of For Sama (with English subs) at Freiluftkino Insel im Cassiopeia – it’s a devastating film by Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts that’s impossible to ignore. Sticking with Cassiopeia for Friday evening’s entertainment, there’s a second helping of British Shorts (8.30pm) after last week’s sold-out night. The British Shorts Summer Edition features awarded short films and other highlights from the British Shorts Film Festival held in January. Read up on our festival preview from January for inspiration.

Also on Friday is a special evening at Kino Central which sees the spotlight shine on the work of Zimbabwe-born, British indie filmmaker (and current Berliner) Ncube. Over the coming weeks, Kino Central is showing his new trilogy of films as part of the kino’s Black Lives in Modern Cinema selection, alongside the likes of Waves and Harriet. Ncube will be present at the screening of his sophomore feature that fly 70s sci fi futuristic shit!! on Friday at 8pm, with a Q&A after the screening. Described by the filmmaker as an afrofuturist / blaxploitation wanderlust, his second film is set in 2122 when every household with a least one Black person is compelled by law to have a robot officer living with them.

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Zimbabwe-born, British indie filmmaker (and current Berliner) Ncube will discuss his latest films at Kino Central.

This weekend, we recommend you stop making excuses and finally catch up on the excellent Berlin Alexanderplatz: it’s screening with English subs on Saturday evening at Sommerkino Kulturforum (9pm) and on Sunday at Il Kino (7.40pm). Whichever option you choose, don’t miss out on this brilliantly compelling and daring adaption of Alfred Döblin’s famed modernist novel – and make sure to read our exclusive interview between the director Burhan Qurbani and filmmaker Yony Leyser.

For the upcoming week, there’s plenty of cinematic goodness to look forward to: Monday 17th’s screening of Spielberg’s Jaws at Sommerkino, as part of the Creepy Crypt series (9pm); Tuesday 18th’s Open Air Kino on the Island evening, hosted by Mobile Kino and showing another stunning literary adaptation, Little Women (8.45pm); and Mobile Kino’s Wednesday projection of Bacurau (8.45pm). Dubbed a “weird Western”, this Brazilian must-see won the coveted Jury Prize at Cannes last year and never got a theatrical release in Germany – it sadly went straight to streaming in the wake of COVID. Mobile Kino have teamed up with MUBI for this open-air premiere of Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles film, and you shouldn’t miss out.

That’s it for us this week. Happy screenings, book your tickets online, and keep wearing your masks.