And it’s a wrap! How to see the next big thing at the movies. Plus very new stuff!

Hugh Jackman - Logan ©Berlinale
Hugh Jackman – Logan
©Berlinale

My Goodness!

What a fabulous ten (10) days we have had in Berlin.

Just wow!

Sunday was the last day of the Berlin International Film Festival otherwise known as the Berlinale! And what a wonderful time we all had!

We had a long, fantastic fortnight of films, films, and yes more films!

I live in Berlin. And of course, I’ve been to the Berlinale before but last year was the first time ever, to go there as a press person.

Never as a professional journalist!

So this year, I went as a pro!

Let me tell you.

It was cool stuff!

Jeremy Miliker - The Best of All Worlds - was looking pretty dashing! ©Berlinale
Jeremy Miliker – The Best of All Worlds – was looking pretty dashing!
©Berlinale

Berlin has been hobnobbing with the best. If it’s good enough for the likes of the talented Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Patrick Stewart (the X-Men), Penélope Cruz, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson (Harry Potter & Twilight) surely, it must be good enough for you!

In the flurry of excitement and talented art, I managed to watch forty-four (44) films in just ten (10) days.

Forty-Four!

I admit. It was a little exhausting but some films were long and some weren’t.

Me at the Berlin International Film Festival aka the Berlinale!
Me at the Berlin International Film Festival aka the Berlinale!

I’m a Vice-Principal & Corporate English Manager,  I’m married and have a teenage son, so I always have to get smart and creative. During the week, I went to only two movies per day – late night – and then really went crazy over the weekend.

I must be bonkers!

Book your hotel here!

The beautiful Sienna Miller & the gorgeous Robert Pattinson at the Berlinale ©Berlinale
The beautiful Sienna Miller & the gorgeous Robert Pattinson at the Berlinale
©Berlinale

Here are the films that I watched:

T2 Trainspotting - Ewen Bremner, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller & Robert Carlyle © Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH
T2 Trainspotting – Ewen Bremner, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller & Robert Carlyle
© Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH
  • T2 Trainspotting
  • The Party
  • Viceroy’s House
  • Logan
  • The Best Of All Worlds or Die beste aller Welten
  • Django
  • Bye Bye Germany or Es war einmal in Deutschland…
  • Vaya
  • Becoming Who I Was
  • Menashe
Dream Boat ©Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion
Dream Boat
©Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion
  • Dream Boat
  • Casting JonBenet
  • Berlin Syndrome
  • 1945
  • Vazante
  • Animal or Tiere
  • Foreign Body or Jassad gharib
  • Mr. Long
  • Ciao Ciao
  • Wallay
The Other Side of Hope - Sherwan Haji, Nuppu Koivu, Janne Hyytiäinen, Sakari Kuosmanen & Ilkka Koivula Malla Hukkanen ©Sputnik Oy
The Other Side of Hope – Sherwan Haji, Nuppu Koivu, Janne Hyytiäinen, Sakari Kuosmanen & Ilkka Koivula- Malla Hukkanen
©Sputnik Oy
  • The Other Side of Hope or Toivon tuolla puolen
  • God’s Own Country
  • Stonehead or Shi Tou
  • The Tundra Book. A Ta or Kniga Tundry. Povest’ o Vukvukaye
  • My Wonderful West Berlin or Mein wunderbares West-Berlin
  • The Taste of Betel Nut or Bing Lang Xue
  • Railway Sleepers or Mon rot fai
  • Just Like Our Parents or Como Nossos Pais
  • Grandfather or Aaba
  • Black Head Cow or Engiteng’ Narok Lukunya
The Dress on Her - Rose Yu & Peggy Tseng ©Lee Meng Ting
The Dress on Her – Rose Yu & Peggy Tseng
©Lee Meng Ting
  • The Dress on Her
  • Insyriated
  • In a Nutshell
  • Li.le
  • My Gay Sister or Min Homosyster
  • Swedish Cousin or La prima sueca
  • Playground or Terrain de jeux
  • Volcanoisland or Vulkánsziget
  • White Riot: London
  • The Catch
Lost Child or Xalé Bu Rérr - Abdou Khadir Ndiaye ©Cinekap
Lost Child or Xalé Bu Rérr – Abdou Khadir Ndiaye
©Cinekap
  • Lost Child or Xalé Bu Rérr
  • Promise
  • The Jungle Knows You Better Than You Do
  • Sirens

In my opinion, every film was brilliant, and none were duds!

So without further ado, here are the films that I think are going to be the next big thing, in alphabetical order!

AND IT’S A WRAP!

HOW TO SEE THE NEXT BIG THING AT THE MOVIES. PLUS VERY NEW STUFF!

Group selfie with everyone! - Viceroy's House ©Berlinale
Group selfie with everyone! – Viceroy’s House
©Berlinale

THE HITS FOR EVERYONE!

1. Becoming Who I Was

Becoming Who I Was ©Sonamu Films
Becoming Who I Was
©Sonamu Films

A seemingly ordinary boy (Padma Angdu) who lives in the Himalayan region of India, discovers (at the age of 5), that he is the highest ranking reincarnated Tibetan monk, giving him the noble and spiritual title of Rinpoche! However, the fact that the young boy was born in the India and hence in the wrong place, leads to his banishment from the local monastery in Ladakh. And so the lad is separated from his destiny, his spiritual monastery and thus his disciples, as his monastery is in closed-door Chinese Tibet!

This film is the real-life story of his struggle to get into Tibet and back to his people, with the help of his guardian, teacher and godfather Urgyan Rickzen.

I won’t tell you whether he succeeds, but I can tell you that there was not a dry eye in the room, and various sounds of sniffing and blowing of handkerchiefs!

If you can find this documentary, you must watch it!

2. Logan

Logan - Dafne Kenn, Hugh Jackman ©2017 Twentieth Century Fox
Logan – Dafne Kenn, Hugh Jackman
©2017 Twentieth Century Fox

I’m thinking that Logan, needs no introduction but if you’ve been living under a stone in the last ten (17) years, he’s also known as The Wolverine, from the X-Men!

The Wolverine is one of the greatest comic book heroes ever created and happily, Hugh Jackman was more than able to reprise his iconic role as The Wolverine for one final time. Mind you, this isn’t your every-day bubble-gum X-Men saga, ‘cos the film is bloody, violent, disturbing and raw, so get ready to hold onto your seat.

We saw it in a press-only screening, so I couldn’t make any comment about it when I first watched it!

As the only girl in a family of boys, my inclusion into the MARVEL family, and any other male-dominated comic / magazine, was always going to be a thing.

It’s 2029 and the mutants are gone – or almost gone. Could this be the last we hear of Logan? If you’re male, you’re going to love it. I know I did!

3. T2 Trainspotting

T2 Trainspotting - Jonny Lee Miller & Ewan McGregor ©Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH
T2 Trainspotting – Jonny Lee Miller & Ewan McGregor
©Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH

Yeeeees!

They’re back.

The boys are back in town, looking as roguish as when we last left them, 21 years ago!

Yikes!

It was the 90’s and for many people, the original Trainspotting film provided an adrenalin rush to the British movie scene, injecting the soundtrack of Underworld’s – Born Slippy NUXX – raves, techno clubs, ecstasy, poverty, politics, and the reality of a dead-end life into Scotland, and many parts of forgotten Britain at the time.

Trainspotting pretty much made careers out of our unforgettable anti-heroes – Ewan McGregor (Renton), Jonny Lee Miller (Sick Boy), Robert Carlyle (Begbie), and Ewen Bremner (Spud). I mean, I have the original book written by Irvine Welsh, I’ve seen the film a million times, and I even have the soundtrack somewhere, as we all use to go mad with it! As for me, it was the music more than anything that really made the film a cult one.

I’m amazed that Danny Boyle managed to get everyone together again with a shoot of over 70 locations, 12 sets, and 55 days, but manage they did, and they all look great. Indeed, the two main characters still manage to get into a pair of skinny jeans, and that’s saying a lot.

I won’t say any more except to say that T2 Trainspotting is a continuation of the first film, with flashbacks here and there, and references to the original story.

I loved it, and will most likely watch it again when it comes out at the cinema. You should too!

Book your hotel here!

4. Viceroy’s House

Viceroy’s House - Hugh Bonneville & Gillian Anderson Kerry Monteen ©Bend It Films Pathé
Viceroy’s House – Hugh Bonneville & Gillian Anderson
Kerry Monteen ©Bend It Films Pathé

Viceroy’s House is the personal story of the family of the British director – Gurinder Chadha.

The film is about the 1947 Partition of India into Pakistan, and how it affected everyone involved. The story takes place entirely in Viceroy’s House, the British Raj’s seat of government in Delhi, to create an Upstairs, Downstairs vision of Partition. The film focuses on the negotiations upstairs between Lord Mountbatten, the last British Viceroy of India, and India’s new political leaders Nehru, Gandhi and Jinnah, whilst interweaving the stories of the local Indians downstairs (their hopes and fears in relation to how these negotiations will impact their own lives).

The combination of British and Indian talent, gave Gurinder the opportunity to make a true-life British historical epic which is both sorrowful and heartwarming. With talented actors such as Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson and Michael Gambon. And she succeeds.

In fact, there is a twist to the story, but you’ll have to watch the film to find out. I suggest that you do so!

THE HITS FOR FILM NERDS

If you’re really into independent or international films, then the following list will please you, and whet your appetite, for good quality film-making.

Films that don’t need to worry about whether the audience will “get it” or appeal to 12 year old boys. In short, intelligent films!

Here goes:

The Party - Timothy Spall ©Oxwich Media Limited Adventure Pictures Limited
The Party – Timothy Spall
©Oxwich Media Limited Adventure Pictures Limited
  • The Party is a black and white subtly witty comedy replete, with sharp-tongued dialogue, that later veers off into tragedy. Very cleverly made and with a stellar cast.
Vazante -Alexandre de Sena, Adão de Fátima Gomes, Adelsson Gonçalo Higino & Celso Timoteo Pereira ©Ricardo Teles
Vazante -Alexandre de Sena, Adão de Fátima Gomes, Adelsson Gonçalo Higino & Celso Timoteo Pereira
©Ricardo Teles
  • Vazante is a black and white film based on 1821 Brazil. It showcases a slave trader who marries a 12 year old girl, which leads to  violence, prejudice, and inevitably, tragedy.
Menashe - The first Yiddish film to be presented at the Berlinale. Ever! © Federica Valabrega
Menashe – The first Yiddish film to be presented at the Berlinale. Ever!
© Federica Valabrega
  • Menashe is about religion and tradition that determine everyday life in the Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Brooklyn. The film is based in part, on the true life story of Menashe Lustig who after his wife dies, is pressured to re-marry as quickly as possible, even though he doesn’t want to! In the vein of a tragi-comedy, he attracts one misfortune after another.

In a way, Menashe is quite funny!

Casting JonBenet ©Netflix Michael Latham
Casting JonBenet
©Netflix Michael Latham
  • Casting JonBenet is a sly and stylized exploration of the world’s most sensational child-murder case – the unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen – JonBenet Ramsey. After years of media speculation and public fascination, we are presented with a documentary hybrid examining the macabre legacy of the starlet.
Berlin Syndrome - Max Riemelt & Teresa Palmer ©Berlinale
Berlin Syndrome – Max Riemelt & Teresa Palmer
©Berlinale
  • Berlin Syndrome is a film about an Australian backpacker who finds herself in Berlin, meets a friendly English teacher on the street, spends a night with him, and soon finds out that when he goes off to work, she is locked in! Cut off from the rest of the world, Clare experiences terrifying weeks during which she vacillates between yielding to her kidnappers’ obsessions, and continuously trying to escape.

We’ve all seen disturbing psychopathic thrillers before, but they’ve never been about fun-living hedonistic Berlin.

Gulp!

Book your hotel here!

Animals - Birgit Minichmayr & Philipp Hochmair ©tellfilm, Andreas Seibert
Animals – Birgit Minichmayr & Philipp Hochmair
©tellfilm, Andreas Seibert
  • Animal or Tiere is a film about an Austrian couple who plan to spend a few months in Switzerland. However, on the way to their rented mountain-hill house, they have an accident with some sheep on a country road. This accident initiates a whole series of weird and unsettling experiences for the couple, which ultimately leaves them both incapable of being sure about where exactly where they are: in the real world, or in someone else’s imagination…

Very cleverly done.

The Other Side of Hope - Sherwan Haji, Nuppu Koivu, Janne Hyytiäinen, Sakari Kuosmanen & Ilkka Koivula Malla Hukkanen ©Sputnik Oy
The Other Side of Hope – Sherwan Haji, Nuppu Koivu, Janne Hyytiäinen, Sakari Kuosmanen & Ilkka Koivula Malla Hukkanen ©Sputnik Oy
  • The Other Side of Hope or Toivon tuolla puolen is a film that consists of two stories. The first one is about Khaled, a young Syrian refugee who has lost virtually all of his family, and finds himself as a stowaway passenger in Finland. Wikström, the other protagonist, is a middle-aged travelling salesman. The film is about how they meet, racism, and kindness.

Although based on the serious topic of refugee safety, the film is strangely disturbingly hilarious!

Aaba or Grandfather ©Raapchik Films Soumik Mukherjee
Aaba or Grandfather
©Raapchik Films Soumik Mukherjee
  • Grandfather or Aaba is a film about a young girl who lives in the highlands of India. The young girl lives alone with her aged grandparents.

After her grandfather is diagnosed with lung cancer, she watches as he calmly digs his own grave, furnishing it for his comfort in the hereafter with a handful of his worldly possessions. His light-hearted approach to dying is a gentle and laconic acknowledgement of the natural cycle of life and death. But things don’t always go as planned in the land of the living..

A heart-warming, but sad film.

Lost Child or Xalé Bu Rérr - Abdou Khadir Ndiaye ©Cinekap
Lost Child or Xalé Bu Rérr – Abdou Khadir Ndiaye
©Cinekap
  • Lost Child or Xalé Bu Rérr is a film about an innocent young boy from an affluent family, who has the experience of a lifetime. after his first day of school.

The boy’s father fails to pick him up from school, so he simply walks off. Of course, he quickly finds himself lost and wanders through the noise and chaos of the poverty-stricken African city in Senegal. Does he ever find his way home?

Watch it and see!

In a Nutshell ©YK Animation Studio
In a Nutshell
©YK Animation Studio
  • In a Nutshell is a short animated film about an attempt to capture the world in a nutshell, through images ranging from a nut seed to war, from a chunk of steak to love, from indifference to apocalypse.

Splendidly presented!

Promise - Feng Linhua ©Xie Tian
Promise – Feng Linhua
©Xie Tian
  • Promise is a film about a young boy left behind.

Like 60 million other children in China, his parents leave the country to find work elsewhere. Fending for himself in the mountainous countryside, he finds solace in his parents’ promise to return on New Year’s Eve, and in the loyal company of a tame piglet.

With magnificent footage, the film tells the tale of an existence filled with unavoidable adversity.

A heart-breaking film.

FILMS I REALLY, REALLY LIKED!

I’m very into British / Irish, Asian and East European films, as they’re all quite gritty, weird and obscure. This year, I watched quite a few German films. And surprisingly, I liked them!

The Best Of All Worlds - Jeremy Miliker ©RitzlFilm
The Best Of All Worlds – Jeremy Miliker
©RitzlFilm
  • TThe Best Of All Worlds or Die beste aller Welten
  • 2 Trainspotting
  • The Party
  • Viceroy’s House
  • Becoming Who I Was
Wallay - Ibrahim Koma & Nathan Diarra Makhan ©bathysphere Les Films du Djabadjah
Wallay – Ibrahim Koma & Nathan Diarra Makhan
©bathysphere Les Films du Djabadjah
  • Wallay
  • Dream Boat
  • Menashe
  • Berlin Syndrome
  • Casting JonBenet
Mr. Long Ⓒ2017 Live Max Film LDH Pictures
Mr. Long
Ⓒ2017 Live Max Film LDH Pictures
  • Mr. Long
  • Vazante
  • Vaya
  • Bye Bye Germany or Es war einmal in Deutschland…
  • The Other Side of Hope or Toivon tuolla puolen
Stonehead ©3C Films Co. Ltd
Stonehead
©3C Films Co. Ltd
  • Stonehead or Shi Tou
  • The Tundra Book. A Tale of Vukvukai, the Little Rock or Kniga Tundry. Povest’ o Vukvukaye – Malen’kom Kamne
  • Black Head Cow
  • Grandfather or Aaba
  • The Dress on Her
Railway Sleepers ©Phim Umari
Railway Sleepers
©Phim Umari
  • Railway Sleepers
  • Lost Child or Xalé Bu Rérr
  • In a Nutshell
  • Promise
  • Animals
God's Own Country - Alec Secareanu & Josh O'Connor ©Dales Productions Limited The British Film Institute 2017
God’s Own Country – Alec Secareanu & Josh O’Connor
©Dales Productions Limited The British Film Institute 2017
  • God’s Own Country
  • Playground or Terrain de jeux

FILMS THAT I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE SEEN, BUT DIDN’T!

The Young Karl Marx - Stefan Konarske & August Diehl ©Kris Dewit
The Young Karl Marx – Stefan Konarske & August Diehl
©Kris Dewit
  • The Young Karl Marx
  • Return to Montauk
  • Skins
  • Belinda
  • From the Balcony
Final Portrait by Stanley Tucci - Armie Hammer & Geoffrey Rush ©Parisa Taghizadeh
Final Portrait by Stanley Tucci – Armie Hammer & Geoffrey Rush
©Parisa Taghizadeh
  • Final Portrait by Stanley Tucci
  • The King’s Choice
  • So Long Enthusiasm
  • Autumn, Autumn
  • Casting
For Ahkeem - Landon Van Soest ©Berlinale
For Ahkeem – Landon Van Soest
©Berlinale
  • For Ahkeem
  • Motherland
  • Spin
  • The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy
  • Summer 1993
Freak Show by Trudie Styler ©Maven Pictures
Freak Show by Trudie Styler
©Maven Pictures
  • Freak Show
  • On the Road
  • Back for Good
  • We were kings
  • Mikel
The Grand Budapest Hotel Grand Budapest Hotel - Paul Schlase, Tony Revolori, Tilda Swinton & Ralph Fiennes ©TCFHE
The Grand Budapest Hotel Grand Budapest Hotel – Paul Schlase, Tony Revolori, Tilda Swinton & Ralph Fiennes ©TCFHE
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Last Days in Havana
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • At the Fork – Culinary Cinema
  • Theater of Life
Chef's Table - Tim Raue - Culinary Cinema 2017 -Tim Raue. Tobias Koch ©Netflix 2017
Chef’s Table – Tim Raue – Culinary Cinema 2017 -Tim Raue. Tobias Koch
©Netflix 2017
  • Chef’s Table – Tim Raue – Culinary Cinema
  • Soul
  • Tea Time My Food Is My Home
  • Sameblod Sami Blood

FILMS THAT WERE A WASTE OF MY TIME

Bing Lang Xue The Taste of Betel Nut - Yue Ye, Shen Shi Yu & Zhao Bing Rui ©Berlinale
Bing Lang Xue The Taste of Betel Nut – Yue Ye, Shen Shi Yu & Zhao Bing Rui
©Berlinale
  • The Taste of Betel Nut or Bing Lang Xue: A jerky camera, noise overlay such that you could actually hear the footsteps of the camera person, and a confusing story line such that I spent most of the time falling asleep! Although the sex scenes just about passed muster!

Ahem!

Hugh Bonneville Berlin style! ©Berlinale
Hugh Bonneville Berlin style!
©Berlinale

In watching a festival film, you get to see a large variety of international locations and settings, and a better intimate view with acting and scenes, that are much more realistic than in films with a Hollywood budget!

The Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, is a special treat for the public.

See you next year!

Me at the Berlin International Film Festival aka the Berlinale!
Me at the Berlin International Film Festival aka the Berlinale!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received press accredited rates for tickets, all opinions and the impressive festival films that I saw, are my very own!

It’s February!

On 24.02.17 I’ll be going to the first ever blogger event at the  Wintergarten Varieté Berlin on How to be an artist LIKE BERLIN!

On 08.03.17, I’ll be at the iambassador – Traveldudes – ITB Travel Tweet-Up event.

On 08.03.17 – 12.03.17, the world’s largest tourism trade fair – the ITB will be in action, and everyone who is anyone in the travel industry, will be here!

On 15.03.17, I’ll be at the Spring Reception for the British Community at the British Embassy in Berlin.

If you’re not in Berlin in February, you’re boring!

Watch this space!

And it’s a wrap! How to see the next big thing at the movies. Plus very new stuff!
Peter Kreibich © Berlinale

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

And it's a wrap! How to see the next big thing at the movies. Plus very new stuff!
And it’s a wrap! How to see the next big thing at the movies. Plus very new stuff!

Which of these international films would you choose? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!

Stanley Tucci as the marvellous Director of the film - Final Portrait, at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Stanley Tucci as the marvellous Director of the film – Final Portrait, at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

OMG!

  • I’ve told you before and I’ll probably tell you a million times over, living in Berlin is awfully fabulous!

I mean, there’s just so much to do!

The work of a lifestyle, expat, travel blogger is never done. There's just so much to dooo!
The work of a lifestyle, expat, travel blogger is never done. There’s just so much to dooo!

Only a few weeks ago I was telling you all about how I could afford to travel all over Europe, and using the train no less, as well as floating through Berlin Fashion Week, rushing through windmills in Holland, and skiing in the Czech Mountains, which the official Twitter account of Visit Czech Republic, kindly retweeted and shared!

And just the other week, the Sputnik Kino put out all the stops to bring us the British Shorts Film Festival too!

Book your hotel here!

Diego Luna & Maggie Gyllenhaal at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Diego Luna & Maggie Gyllenhaal at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

And now, ladies and gents, the red carpet has been rolled out yet again, and Berlin has been hobnobbing with the best of the best. I mean, if it’s good enough for Richard Gere and Jonny Lee Miller of T2 Trainspotting. It’s surely good enough for you!

And why forsooth?

Because?

Because the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, is in town!

Now for those of you interested in getting a piece of the action it’s quite easy.

WHAT IS THE BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL / BERLINALE?

My press pass at the Berlinale.
My press pass at the Berlinale.

Well, the Berlinale is simply, the world’s largest public film festival which provides an audience of interested film-goers, a city full of excitement, a diverse cultural scene, fascinating new films, and an opportunity to see, talk to, and take close-up pictures, of international stars in the movie world!

The public programme of the Berlinale shows about 400 films per year, mostly international or European premieres of every genre, length and format! Formats such as epic international cinema (Competition), independent art house (Panorama), films for a younger audience (Generation), new talent from the German film scene (Perspektive Deutsches Kino), avant-garde, experimental cinematography (Forum / Forum Expanded), weird black and white science fiction (Retrospective), film classics / rediscovered films (Berlinale Classics), cult films (Homage), and films about food (Culinary Cinema), art house cinemas within Berlin (Berlinale Goes Kiez), cinematic story-telling of Indigenous people around the world (NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema), and short pieces (Berlinale Shorts).

Jeanne Werner. And if you look closely, I'm sitting on the right, on the row behind her! You can just about see my hands! Es war einmal in Deutschland - Bye Bye Germany. ©Berlinale
Jeanne Werner. And if you look closely, I’m sitting on the right, on the row behind her! You can just about see my hands!
Es war einmal in Deutschland – Bye Bye Germany. ©Berlinale

And with more than:

  • 335,000 sold tickets
  • 20,000 professional visitors
  • 122 countries
  • 3,800 journalists
Press hacks at the Berlinale!
Press hacks at the Berlinale!

You simply can’t go wrong!

That’s right.

From the 9th of February to the 19th February, 2017, Berlin will be packed solid with members of the film industry.

My heart swells when I know that Berlin is competing with the likes of other film festivals, in Cannes and Sundance.

Alright, not in the same category, but still. A festival to be proud of!

With more than four hundred (400) films, fifteen (15) categories sections, and more than half a million cinema visits, the Berlinale is not only an independent film festival with a difference, but also a film festival that ordinary people can actually visit.

Book your hotel here!

Ordinary punters at the Berlinale. You know. People like YOU! ©Berlinale
Ordinary punters at the Berlinale. You know. People like YOU!
©Berlinale

Yes, that means YOU!

A world international festival can sometimes be daunting, so I’m going to try and make it as easy as possible so that you too can participate. If you want to!

Read my beginners’ guide and find out how!

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE BERLINALE / THE

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Punters waiting at the Berlinale Palast to see the stars. Be prepared & wrap up warmly! ©Berlinale
Punters waiting at the Berlinale Palast to see the stars. Be prepared & wrap up warmly!
©Berlinale
  • BE PREPARED: The Berlinale always takes place in February so get yourself on the mailing list of the Berlinale, so that you know when the official Berlinale programme is published.
  • USE THE INTERNET: There is a Berlinale homepage in both English and German. On the homepage is a Programme Section which also has a most valuable item called the programme planner. Use this item to search for films so that you have an idea of what you might want to see BEFORE the film festival begins.
Search for a programme at the Berlinale.
Search for a programme at the Berlinale.
  • GET THE PROGRAMME: If you’re not entirely sure what each film is about, you can either download the pdf format or if you’re in Berlin (and why wouldn’t you be!), you can pretty much find the programme brochures in every cinema forum in the city. Just help yourself!
  • USE TECHNOLOGY: Not only can you use the programme planner for your personal searches but you can also get into the 21st century and, for the first time ever, download the Apps (for Android and iOS) which links into the programme planner so that you can mark your favourite film or event at home, or on the move, and still remain up-to-date across multiple devices. The app also provides Berlinale information about festival venues, festival events and an overview of festival video broadcasts, the Opening and Closing Gala, as well as all the fun on the Red Carpet!
Relax & check my social media at the Berlinale Open House! © Berlinale
Relax & check my social media at the Berlinale Open House!
© Berlinale
  • USE SOCIAL MEDIA: The Berlinale is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow my titbits and little quips here! Not only that, but around the Potsdamer Platz Arcade, WiFi is available for 2 hours per day per person, and there are other WIFI hotspots scattered around in various venues. For free!
  • MAKE A LIST: Once you have a rough idea of what you want to see, go ahead and make a list. Don’t forget to put the date, the name of the film in it’s original language and in English, the venue, and the time. Then make a second list with different films. Just in case. And a third one too!
Look at the packed crowd for the World Premier of Es war einmal in Deutschland - Bye Bye Germany. Aim to arrive early!
Look at the packed crowd for the World Premier of Es war einmal in Deutschland – Bye Bye Germany.
Aim to arrive early!
  • CHECK THE FILM TIME: People get really excited when punters finally get the film of their dream and then discover soon after, that they can’t actually watch it ‘cos they’re still at a previous showing! Just because the film states a starting time of 20:00 doesn’t actually mean that it’s going to start at 20:00! Films start late, discussions over lap. Deal with it! I find that putting films three (3) hours apart generally leaves more than enough room to manoeuvre. So, if for example, a film starts at 09:30, the next film I book is at 12:30 and not anything less! Most films tend to last between 80 and 100 minutes but you want to give yourself time for overlaps and also for getting from A to B. Berlin’s public transport system is fantastic but you still have to wade your way through the crowds to get out of the venue itself, and then go downstairs to your next train station, not to talk of wading yourself through more crowds, at the next film venue!
  • LEAVE EARLY: Doors generally open 10 minutes before the film starts, so make sure you’re in the queue at least 20 minutes before the movie begins. If it’s a popular film, give yourself 30 minutes as there is no allocated seating. First come, first served. No seat is a dud in my opinion, but if you have preferred seating, then get there early.
Get your Berlinale film tickets in person!
Get your Berlinale film tickets in person!

This means that you’re going to have to gird your loins, get all your mates together and be smart and efficient. Each individual can only buy 2 tickets per film, except for Generation (children / youth films) which you can buy 4 tickets at a time, and Culinary Cinema film screenings at 7.30 pm, which you can buy as many as you like! You can of course, cross your fingers and buy on the day if tickets are available at the box office of the cinemas themselves. Ticket counters open daily from 10:00 to 20:00, with people forming a queue from as early as 08:00!

If you don't feel up to being with the rabble, not a problem, use your fingers and go online to buy tickets at the Berlinale instead!
If you don’t feel up to being with the rabble, not a problem, use your fingers and go online to buy tickets at the Berlinale instead!
  • BUYING TICKETS ONLINE: If you don’t feel up to being with the hoi polloi, not a problem, use your fingers and go online instead! On the programme page is an online ticket icon. If you click on it, you’ll be directed to the online ticket shop but be warned, the other buyers are keen film-goers and pros. at this game. You’ll need firm fingers to keep clicking and refreshing in order to get those tickets. Or better still, allocate yourself an army of friends to help you.

You know how concert tickets sell out in 10 minutes? Yep! They use the same method. Friends! Mates! Neighbours! Everyone you know!

Grab a few friends to help you buy your Berlinale ticket!
Grab a few friends to help you buy your Berlinale ticket!

If you click on the Online Tickets icon, you will automatically be forwarded to the website of the Berlinale ticketing partner – Eventim. You’ll have to create an Eventim account with an extra processing fee of €2.00 per ticket. You can also use a major credit card and the tickets will be delivered to you either by Email, on your mobile phone, or you can simply pick the tickets up at the Online Ticket Pick-up Counter in the Potsdamer Platz Arcade shopping centre, by showing your printed confirmation and ID card.

There’s an exclusive ticket counter only for punters with Mastercard!

Book your hotel here!

Berlinale ticket prices are very reasonable!
Berlinale ticket prices are very reasonable!
  • TICKET PRICES: Berlinale tickets are generally between €4.00 – €22.00! A 50% discount is available for selected last-minute tickets and of course, if you’re a student, of school age, on welfare, etc, then a 50% discount on tickets are available too.

If you register by telephone, groups of at least 5 people for Generation tickets, cost just €2.50 each!

Roll up! Roll up! Queue up & come & get your ticket! © Berlinale
Roll up! Roll up! Queue up & come & get your ticket!
© Berlinale
  • NO TICKET: If you still haven’t got the ticket you want, then go ahead and get any other film ticket instead!

The whole point of a film festival are the intriguing films that are made available. Every film has passed muster, and outside of your own personal preference, none of the films are duds. Go on live a little! If you’re still unsure, then go to the venue of your choice and either hold out a sign that you’re looking for an extra ticket, or look for individuals who might want to sell theirs. Don’t deal with touts though. If the individual looks nice enough and has 1 or 2 tickets rather than 20, and is willing to sell it at market price, or even cheaper, then go for it!

  • WATCH YOUR THROAT: After watching quite a few films, the throat does tend to take a bit of a beating as the rooms can get a bit dry, so arm yourself with water and cough drops. Take a scarf too, in case the air-con is at full blast!
A film industry and press-only conference, at the Berlinale! ©Berlinale
A film industry and press-only conference, at the Berlinale!
©Berlinale
  • PRESS: If you’re a press person, you should have been through the accreditation process and have your badge and Berlinale gift bag! Nevertheless, even press people have to organise themselves, as tickets are only made available one (1) day prior, and so I found myself checking into the Grand Hyatt Berlin on a daily basis!

At 08:00 in the morning. Eeek!

Book your hotel here!

After a hard day at the Berlinale, surely I deserve a glass of champagne!
After a hard day at the Berlinale, surely I deserve a glass of champagne!

On the other hand, free water, free coffee (Ouch!) free WiFi, a press room, comfy seats and a quick means of getting all the press stuff and press tickets that you need, are provided.

Everyone has been so helpful and kind and because I’m now a pro. I’ve gotten each and every film ticket that I have wanted so far.

Thank you Berlinale Press Team!

Bing Lang Xue - The Taste of Betel Nut - A Hong Kong film at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Bing Lang Xue – The Taste of Betel Nut – A Hong Kong film at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

I really don’t think so!

In my case, I aim for weird Asian films, obscure East European films, Anglo-American films with controversial topics, and films over issues that I would never usually go for ‘cos they’re just not shown at your local flick!

Menashe - The first Yiddish film to be presented at the Berlinale. Ever! © Federica Valabrega
Menashe – The first Yiddish film to be presented at the Berlinale. Ever!
© Federica Valabrega
  • STAY FOR Q&A: The beauty of an international film festival or any film festival at all, is that everyone tends to be there. You get stars such as Richard Gere, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Gillian Anderson (Scully), Chloë Sevigny, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting), Timothy Spall, Steeve Coogan, Cillian Murphy, Sibel Kekili (Game of Thrones), Moritz Bleibtreu, Jason Issacs (Harry Potter), and Geoffrey Rush. Directors such as Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games), Danny Boyle (Trainspotting & Slum Dog Millionaire), Gurinder Chadh (Bend it like Beckham), and other directors, producers, actors.

In fact, everyone!

Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me at the Berlinale,and I hadn't even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!
Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me at the Berlinale,and I hadn’t even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!

Three years ago, Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me and I hadn’t even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!

Actors, directors and producers tend to go out to the front and apart from staring at them really closely, you can ask them questions about their films or their thoughts, surrounding that film. And being that this is Berlin, everyone’s really chilled and not freaking out, or going crazy!

Not inside the cinema theatre in any case.

George Clooney © Berlinale
George Clooney
© Berlinale

If there’s a hottie on the red carpet like George Clooney, Jonny Lee Miller or Richard Gere, all that flies out of the window, and people start screaming!

I mean, it sometimes goes insane.

Richard Gere at the Berlinale. Everyone went crazy! ©Berlinale
Richard Gere at the Berlinale. Everyone went crazy!
©Berlinale

The actors are always calm, professional and charming (especially George & Richard. We’re on first name basis now of course..!) but the audience just lose themselves with star-lust, over-whelmingness, or the fact that film premier tickets can sell out surprisingly quickly, and not be found for love or money. If you didn’t know somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody, way up there, chances were, you wouldn’t get a look in!

The atmosphere once you get indoors, really is comforting and quite frankly, it’s nice.

Practically every member of the T2 Trainspotting cast got mobbed at the Berlinale. Even Ewen Bremner - Spud! ©Berlinale
Practically every member of the T2 Trainspotting cast got mobbed at the Berlinale. Even Ewen Bremner – Spud!
©Berlinale

And all for the price of a cinema ticket.

Less in some cases!

  • MAKE FRIENDS: Chat to the person next to you. Find your friends and partners and go for a well deserved late night drink!
Make Friends at the Berlinale! ©Berlinale
Make Friends at the Berlinale!
©Berlinale
  • TAKE ACTION: Now that you know what to do, go ahead and get yourself a film ticket and do it all over again the next day!

See you at the Berlinale!

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE BERLINALE / THE

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Laura Hajek & the hilarious Steve Coogan at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Laura Hajek & the hilarious Steve Coogan at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

This article is not sponsored and even though I received press tickets, all opinions and the excellent festival films that I chose, are my very, very own!

It’s February!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing the films that I saw at the Berlinale.

February is enjoyably rushed!

Catch me if you can!

A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017! ©Berlinale

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

A Beginners' Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!
A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!

Have you ever been to a film festival? What actor would you like to see in real life? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

12 fantastic festival films you should really watch – Lights! Camera! Action!!!

The film team with Brendan Gleeson, Emma Thompson & Daniel Brühl. © Berlinale
The film team with Brendan Gleeson, Emma Thompson & Daniel Brühl.
© Berlinale

Wow!

Tonight is the last day of the Berlin International Film Festival otherwise known as the Berlinale! And what a wonderful time we’ve had!

We have had a long, fantastic fortnight of films, films, and yes more films!

I live in Berlin. Of course, I’ve been to the Berlinale before but never as a press person.

Never as a professional blogger!

Let me tell you.

It was awesome!

Spike Lee. © Berlinale
Spike Lee.
© Berlinale

Berlin has been hobnobbing with the best. If it’s good enough for the likes of the talented Emma Thompson, Spike Lee, Jude Law, Hugh Laurie, and Julianne Moore surely, it’s good enough for you!

In the flurry of excitement and talented art, I managed to watch thirty-two (32) films in just ten (10) days.

Thirty-two!

I admit. It was a little exhausting but some films were long and some weren’t.

Berlin - very British - rbb

I’m a corporate trainer, I’m married and have a young son, so I always have to get smart and creative. During the week, I went to only one movie per day – late night – and then really went crazy over the weekend.

I must be mad!

Here are the films that I watched:

Goat. © Berlinale
Goat.
© Berlinale
  • Xénogénèse.
  • Short Stay.
  • Another City.
  • Six Cents in the Pocket.
  • He Who Eats Children.
  • The Diver – El Buzo.
  • Vintage Print.
  • Siv Sleeps Astray – Siv sover vilse.
  • I Am Sion Sono!!
  • Tokyo Cabbageman K.
  • The Ones Below.
  • The Lovers and the Despot.
The Patriarch - Mahana. © Berlinale
The Patriarch – Mahana.
© Berlinale
  • The Patriarch – Mahana.
  • Dog Days – San Fu Tian.
  • Dust Cloth – Toz bezi.
  • Remainder.
  • Noma – My Perfect Storm.
  • Don’t Call Me Son – Mãe só há uma.
  • Shelley.
  • Europe, She Loves.
  • Road to Istanbul – La Route d’Istanbul.
  • Goat.
In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain. © Berlinale
In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain.
© Berlinale
  • In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain.
  • The Lamps.
  • Personne.
  • End of Season.
  • Batrachian’s Ballad – Balada de um Batráquio
  • Where to Invade Next.
  • United States of Love – Zjednoczone stany miłości.
  • Little Men.
  • Rara.
  • Those Who Jump – Les Sauteurs.
Where to Invade Next. © Berlinale
Where to Invade Next.
© Berlinale

In my opinion, every film was brilliant and none were duds!

So without further ado, here are the 12 films that I recommend, in alphabetical order.

12 FANTASTIC FESTIVAL FILMS YOU SHOULD REALLY WATCH!!!

Berlinale Talent - 12 fantastic festival films you should really watch with meeeee! © Berlinale
Berlinale Talent – 12 fantastic festival films you should really watch with meeeee!
© Berlinale

1. Don’t Call Me Son – Mãe só há uma.

Don't Call Me Son - Mãe só há uma. © Berlinale
Don’t Call Me Son – Mãe só há uma.
© Berlinale

This Brazilian production based on a true story, is a warm, heartfelt emotional film about a teenager who finds out that not only is he adopted, but both he and his younger sister were stolen as children!

His world falls apart.

His mother goes to jail, his sister is taken away to live with the biological parents that she has never met, and he has to live with his “new” biological parents who have no idea that he’s bi-sexual and gender neutral.

The main actor – Naomi Nero – was at the film screening and was quite a lovely shy chap. I even managed to have a shake of the hand and a very quick “hi” chat!

2. Europe, She Loves.

Europe, She Loves. © Berlinale
Europe, She Loves.
© Berlinale

This production is a real-life documentary about four (4) couples set in four (4) European cities – Tallinn (Estonia), Seville (Spain), Dublin (Ireland), and Thessaloniki (Spain).

The film is a close-up insight of how these couples see themselves within the sphere of the European Union, as well as their daily struggles, employment issues, relationships, family, passion, sex and love.

Being that the movie was set and produced in Europe, no holds were barred with ahem. intimate filming… and everything was real!

Gulp!

A most inspiring film!

3. Noma – My Perfect Storm.

Noma - My Perfect Storm. © Berlinale
Noma – My Perfect Storm.
© Berlinale

Wow!

Food porn at it’s best, and a bloody fantastic Nordic film!

This film is a creative journey into the mind of René Redzepi – the brains and creator of Noma – A small organic and naturally sourced restaurant, located in Denmark, Copenhagen.

The production is the story of how he changed the image of Scandinavian food from boring and bland, to the pedigree of the as-of-now trendy Nordic cuisine.  René established a new edible world while radically changing the image of the modern chef.

Follow René’s story as he reigned over the realm of Nordic gourmet cuisine, had a restaurant scandal, clawed his way back to the top, reinvented NOMA, and reclaimed the title of best restaurant in the world in 2014!

For only the fourth time!

In fact, I’m so impressed that I’m going to do my best to visit NOMA in Copenhagen this summer, myself!

4. Remainder.

Remainder. © Berlinale
Remainder.
© Berlinale

This is a British / German production based on the Tom McCarthy’s novel of the same name. This film is about a young man who is hit by a fallen object in a freak accident.

When he awakens from his coma he is given £8.5m in compensation and his memory has disappeared. All that remains is a fragmentary image of a small boy on the top of the staircase, in an old house.

Using his enormous wealth, the young man buys a house and fills it with actors to re-create and play out the scene again, and again, but as scraps of memory return, his demands grow increasingly complicated, risky and weird.

This was the only film throughout the Berlinale film festival that I was able to watch together with The Music Producer. I squeezed my husband’s hand a lot! And I even got a Twitter shout out from the production team of the main British actor – Tom Sturridge!

A clever, brilliant film.

5. Road to Istanbul – La Route d’Istanbul.

Road to Istanbul - La Route d'Istanbul. © Berlinale
Road to Istanbul – La Route d’Istanbul.
© Berlinale

A Belgian film about the journey of a mother whose daughter – Elodie – has disappeared.

In shock, the mother discovers that her daughter has left for Cyprus. Her goal  – Syria!!

Alone, divorced and abandoned by the authorities, she tries to get her daughter back by personally travelling to Turkey, and trying to smuggle herself into a very dangerous, war-zone Syria!

This film is the struggle of a mother who must fight for the daughter she loves.

A wonderful, heart wrenching film!

6. Shelley.

Shelley. © Berlinale
Shelley.
© Berlinale

A lot of people seemed to think that Shelly is a horror film.

It isn’t.

It’s disturbing and harrowing, but you won’t lose any sleep over it.

At least I didn’t!

Based loosely on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the film Shelley is a Danish / Swedish production about a young Romanian woman – Elena – who goes to Denmark to work as a housekeeper.

The house is isolated, and the couple who own the house prefer to live without the use of electricity, and from the fruit of the land.

Shelley. © Berlinale
Shelley.
© Berlinale

The couple – Louise and her husband are unable to have children and a suggestion for Elena to be the surrogate mother, is made. However, instead of a joyous moment, Elena begins to have bizarre hallucinations and unbearable sensations. She also begins to change psychologically and physically….!

Disturbing. Gruesome, but brilliant!

p.s. There’s a baby involved, but I wasn’t scared!

7. Siv Sleeps Astray – Siv sover vilse.

Siv Sleeps Astray - Siv sover vilse. © Berlinale
Siv Sleeps Astray – Siv sover vilse.
© Berlinale

This Swedish production is a film about a child’s exciting adventure. A magical place where anything can happen and badgers can talk and wear red wellies and where rooms get larger and smaller and the vacuum cleaner comes to life!

The film is based on a picture book by Pija Lindenbaum famous for writing stories told from the viewpoint of a child, with the magic and realism of Alice in Wonderland, and a Swedish version of Tim Burton!

I think children the world over would agree, as the theatre was jam-packed with kids and the young actors were marvellous!

A lovely Swedish film!

8. The Lovers and the Despot.

The Lovers and the Despot. © Berlinale
The Lovers and the Despot.
© Berlinale

This British / Korean production is a sensational thriller-romance-documentary that tells the true-life story of a young ambitious South Korean film director – Shin Sang-ok – and his talented actress wife – Choi Eun-hee – who met, and fell in love in post-war Korea of the 1950s.

With a string of awards to their name and two children, they reach the top of Korean society, and it seems that things couldn’t get any better for the golden couple. However, Shin has an affair with a younger actress, the Shin Films company is in financial trouble, and by 1978 the couple are divorced.

Somewhere along the way, Choi is kidnapped by North Korean agents in Hong Kong, and taken to meet Kim Jong-il, the de facto leader of North Korea. A few months later, whilst retracing Choi’s last steps, Shin finds himself kidnapped to North Korea too!

After five years of imprisonment, they are eventually reunited by the brutal but movie-obsessed dictator – Kim Jong-il, who declares them his own personal filmmakers!

The Lovers and the Despot. © Berlinale
The Lovers and the Despot.
© Berlinale

Having rekindled their love for each other, they plan their escape from North Korea, but not before producing 17 feature films for Kim and gaining his trust in the process, so that while on a business trip to Vienna (Austria), Shin and Choi  escape and make a break for the American Embassy.

In return for information on North Korea, they are given asylum in the USA, where a career in Hollywood beckons…

Wow!

You couldn’t make it up.

A fly on the wall pieced-together-documentary, of a political mad man and true love.

You won’t regret it!

9. The Ones Below.

The Ones Below. © Berlinale
The Ones Below.
© Berlinale

This British production is a dark, modern fairy tale in which the lives of two couples become fatally intertwined. Kate (Clémence Poésy) and Justin (Stephen Campbell Moore) live in the upstairs flat of a London house. Thirty-something, successful and affluent, they are expecting their first baby.

All appears well on the surface although Kate, like any first-time mother, harbours deep-rooted fears about her fitness to be a mother and her ability to love her child.

Another couple, Jon (David Morrissey) and Theresa (Laura Birn), move into the empty apartment below. They are also expecting a baby and, in stark contrast to Kate, Theresa is full of joy at the prospect of imminent motherhood.

The Ones Below. © Berlinale
The Ones Below.
© Berlinale

Pregnancy brings the two women together in a blossoming friendship as Kate becomes entranced by Theresa’s unquestioning celebration of her family-to-be.

But everything changes one night at a dinner party and a tragic accident throws Kate and Justin into a living nightmare and a reign of psychological terror begins…..!

A fantastic film.

If you find it, watch it!!

10. Those Who Jump – Les Sauteurs.

Those Who Jump - Les Sauteurs. © Berlinale
Those Who Jump – Les Sauteurs.
© Berlinale

This Danish / Mali / French production is a documentary-experiment where the protagonist becomes the documentary filmmaker. Shot entirely by a migrant from Mali – Abou Sidibé – it’s a true-life story and the film transforms you – the viewer – into Abou on the top of a mountain region (Mount Gurugú) in Morocco, that effectively is categorised as Spain.

In short, a part of Europe in Africa.

Over a thousand hopeful African migrants live on Mount Gurugú watching the land border – a fence system separating Morocco and Spain – on one of the world’s most militarized frontiers.

Abou from Mali is one of the migrants and is also the protagonist in front of the camera, as well as the person behind it. For 16 months, he has ceaselessly persisted in attempting to jump the fence.

At the fence are rough razor-wires, automatic pepper spray and brutal authorities.

Those Who Jump - Les Sauteurs. © Berlinale
Those Who Jump – Les Sauteurs.
© Berlinale

After every failed attempt, the men return to Mount Gurugú scouring for food in the nearby villages, trying to uphold some sort of order in the camp, and building up their confidence again. Some give up and return home, whilst others never return from the fence.

Looking through the lens, Abou gradually finds expression and meaning in his situation but after 16 months on the mountain, Abou is brought close to death and a tragic accident. Returning to Mali is not an option for him, and he becomes ever more determined to pursue his dream of a better life in Europe. And for Abou, the inequality that defines our times is a simple fact.

This film is a harrowing, distressing film filled with abject hope. To watch the film is to be immersed in the Kafkaesque nightmare of migration.

A masterpiece of empathy and moral imagination.

Go see for yourself.

11. United States of Love – Zjednoczone stany miłości.

United States of Love - Zjednoczone stany miłości. © Berlinale
United States of Love – Zjednoczone stany miłości.
© Berlinale

This Polish production is set in the Poland of 1990 – the first euphoric year of freedom after the Fall of the Berlin Wall – and as a result, uncertainty of the future.

Four apparently happy women of different ages, decide it’s time to change their lives, fight for their happiness, and fulfill their desires.

Agata is a young mother trapped in an unhappy marriage, who seeks refuge in an impossible relationship. Renata is an older teacher fascinated with her neighbour Marzena. Marzena is a lonely former local beauty queen whose husband works in Germany. Marzena’s sister – Iza – is the Director of the local school and having an affair with the father of one of her students.

United States of Love - Zjednoczone stany miłości. © Berlinale
United States of Love – Zjednoczone stany miłości.
© Berlinale

It’s a bare-all film with stark, almost black and white photography, scenes of the former-Eastern Bloc, smoking, frontal nudity, and sexual stimulation!

I can’t decide if the nudity or the constant smoking offended me more, as I was watching the film at 09:30 in the morning!

Honestly speaking, I think the thing that shocked me most was the smoking at the dinner table and in every conversation!

Highly recommended all the same!

And finally, of course,

12. Tokyo Cabbageman K!

Tokyo Cabbageman K! © Berlinale
Tokyo Cabbageman K!
© Berlinale

A weird film about a Japanese man running around with a cabbage on his head!

Seriously though, this Japanese production is derived from Akira Ogata’s cult film – TOKYO CABBAGEMAN K – in which a young man named K wakes up one morning and discovers that his head has been replaced by a huge Chinese cabbage!

If you’re going to mutate into something, wonders a friend, why a cabbage head and not a vampire?

K’s new appearance quickly turns him into a Japanese media star and sex object. Bizarrely being a celebrity proves too much so he plants himself into a cabbage patch!

What can I say?!

Quirky!

Retrospective Der junge Törless (Young Törless). © Berlinale
Retrospective Der junge Törless (Young Törless).
© Berlinale

In watching a festival film, you get to see a large variety of international locations and settings, and a better intimate view with acting and scenes that are are much more realistic than in films with a Hollywood budget!

The Berlin International Film Festival otherwise known as the Berlinale, is a special treat for the public.

See you next year!

Berlinale Talents - Berlin International Film Festival. © Berlinale
Berlinale Talents – Berlin International Film Festival.
© Berlinale

This article is not sponsored and even though I received complimentary tickets, all opinions and the amazing festival films that I saw, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Cinestar Original will be showing William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on 25.02.2016, presented by the National Theatre LIVE!

In March, I’ll be travelling to England, Spain & Portugal!

February is wet and lovely!

Me!
Me!

Which of these awesome films would you choose?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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