Week two of cinemas reopening and they still need our support. Let’s get you booking some tickets…
There are four main releases on our radar this week. Leading the pack is Gretel & Hansel, a visually striking retelling of the Brothers Grimm tale that fares a lot better than previous horror adaptations of the famous folktale. There’s also the must-see French absurdist slasher film Deerskin (Le Daim), which was due to hit the screens in April and which is now doing the freiluftkino rounds (keep on reading to find out where to watch it). Less exciting is the disappointing Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet, a missed opportunity whose central figure deserves a far stronger big screen vehicle. Lastly, we’re proud(ish) to present our shortest review yet for Scoob!, a soulless CGI treatment of the beloved Scooby-Doo cartoon. Feel free to preserve your fond memories of the original series and stay away from this bland dud.
Outside of general releases, the main event is the return of film festivals to Berlin with Fantasy Filmfest Nights this weekend (July 11 – 12). For this edition, they’ve lined up 10 films over two days in an eclectic programme featuring Berlinale-premiering genre movies, B-movie thrills and enough bloodshed to satisfy all gorehound cravings. Read our full preview of the festival, and we recommend you book your tickets online asap (follow the links in the preview).
Still on and well worth your time is Arsenal’s Black Lights retrospective, which focuses on US films made between the 1920s and 1990s that explore the black experience, as well as delve into issues of racism and representation. This week, we strongly recommend you check out tonight’s screening of Samuel Fuller’s White Dog (screening at 8pm in 35mm OV, with a repeat screening on 22 July). Based on the 1970 novel of the same name by Romain Gary, this exceptional film sees our protagonist Julie (played by Kristy McNichol) adopt a seemingly injured stray dog only to discover that it is trained to attack black people. It’s a gripping call for tolerance that examines the question of whether racism can be a treatable condition. It was misunderstood as being racist when released in 1982 and its theatrical release was suppressed in the US; the film only garnered well-deserved praise years later. Robert Wise’s Odds Against Tomorrow is showing on Friday (9.30pm), and later this weekend is the screening of Shirley Clarke’s 1963 film The Cool World (8pm), an energetic and raw story boasting a wonderful soundtrack by Dizzy Gillespie and following a young member of a Harlem street gang who tries to become the leader once he gets his hands on a weapon.
Elsewhere, we’ve curated something of a schedule for you for the coming days. Don’t say we don’t spoil you. If you decide to skip Fantasy Filmfest this weekend, Il Kino are showing Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’ unmissable documentary For Sama at 6pm on Saturday, while Freiluftkino Kreuzberg screens Parasite that the same evening at 9.30pm, with those handy English subs to boot. Sunday screenings include Creepy Crypt’s advance screening of Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella’s horror-romance After Midnight (10.30pm at Rollberg – the film comes out next week and will be reviewed), as well as a double helping of Greta Gerwig’s stunning Little Women, both at 9.30pm at Freiluftkino Kreuzberg and B-ware Open Air.
At the beginning of next week, we urge you to head either to a screening of the aforementioned Deerskin (Le Daim) at Freiluftkino Insel im C, assiopeia at 9.45pm, Sam Mendes’ 1917 at Freiluftkino Hasenheide at 9.30pm, or Monday’s screening of the stunning And Then We Danced at Kino International at 10pm (the latter heads to kinos on the 23rd). Our top pick for Tuesday evening is the screening of Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides – featuring that now-iconic oneiric score from Air – at Freiluftkino Insel im Cassiopeia at 9.45pm, while Wednesday serves up an outdoor screening of Cannes-winning Les Miserables at Freiluftkino Kreuzberg (9.30pm – make sure to catch up on our interview with director Ladj Ly, who talked to us about cop-watching, elitist cinema and raising awareness with his political powderkeg of a movie that indicts a system of social oppression). Finally on Wednesday is an indoor showing of 28 Days Later (9.15pm), as part of City Kino Wedding’s Krisen Kino selection. We included Danny Boyle’s 2002 post-apocalyptic horror film in our list of must-see pandemic films, and it’s well worth catching one of the modern ‘zombie’ genre’s very best entries on a big screen once more.
Happy indoor and outdoor screenings, make sure to book your tickets online, wear your masks, and make sure to keep supporting your favourite indie kinos.