The top 20 favourite festival films you should really watch in 2019!

The top 20 favourite festival films you should really watch in 2019!

Wow!

The last two months have been busy!

I went to Norway.

I was in the newspaper.

I was on TV.

And I went to not one film festival, but two!

Two (2) films festivals!

Whaaaat?!$!

A Beginners’ Guide to the 69th Berlinale. Yes! The Berlin International Film Festival 2019 is finally here!

The Berlin International Film Festival otherwise known as the Berlinale and the glamour it brought, is now over!

And what a wonderful time we had!

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

In fact, my eyes have literally sunk into my head from watching so many.

And will I do it all over again next year?

You betcha!

At Sputnik Kino for Die rbb Reporter in Berlin!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner / Kay S. Abaño [www.kayabano.com]
Victoria smiling for Die rbb Reporter in Berlin!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner / Kay S. Abaño [www.kayabano.com]

In fact, only a few weeks ago I was telling you all about how I could afford to travel all over Europe, rush through Bruges in Belgium, get scammed in Berlin, be utterly bored by Romania, proud as punch to be invited for the Royal Reception of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, asked to explore Sweden, Latvia and Estonia on a press trip, and got completely lost and trapped in India!

With family in tow!

And just the other week, I was in the German newspaper – Der Tagesspiegel – (Berlin-Brexit Stories #2 on 15th January 2019 – 17:56), and I’m going to be on TV again on 13.03.19!

It’s going to be in connection with Brexit and British Expats in Berlin / Germany.

And just like last time, a TV crew contacted me, and asked if they could follow me about for, you know, a typical day in the life of a travel, expat, lifestyle British blogger!

Recording was at the British Shorts Film Festival that took place at the Sputnik Kino in Berlin.

The programme was to be shown on – Die rbb Reporter | rbb – Briten in Berlin und Brandenburg – Deutscher Pass statt Brexit-Chaos or Brits in Berlin and Brandenburg – German passport instead of Brexit-Chaos on 20.02.19 at 21:00.

UPDATE: The rbb Brexit reportage has been postponed to: 13.03.19 at 21:15!

Save the Date!

I’ll write more about it after the programme has aired.

In March!

Yay!

 

Victoria – The British Berliner at the British Shorts Film Festival!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Berlin – January 2019
I went to the 69th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale and I went to the British Shorts Film Festival.

Both of them take place in Berlin

And both of them are film festivals very much worth going to.

For more information and a description of the Berlinale. Click here!

For more information and a description of the British Shorts Film Festival. Click here!

WHAT IS THE BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL / BERLINALE?

The new 69th Berlinale 2019 Film Programme!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Berlin – Feb 2019

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, up and coming artists, 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 of mostly international or European premieres of every genre, length and format!

The Berlin International Film Festival is a source of inspiration in the global film community, encouraging the influx of film programmes, workshops, panel discussions, joint projects, and other creative outlets and networking possibilities.

And with more than:

  • 332,403 sold tickets
  • 18,080 professional visitors
  • 130 countries
  • 3,688 journalists
  • Art
  • Glamour
  • Parties
  • Networking
  • The Business of Film-Making

 

I’m actually in the video above. This was the first “star” Press Conference at the Berlinale, and I’m standing right behind the journalist who asked Bryan Cranston that super interesting question!

You simply can’t go wrong!

That’s right.

From the 7th of February to the 17th February, 2019, Berlin was packed solid, with members of the film industry.

The Berlinale is not only an independent film festival with a difference, but also a film festival that ordinary people can actually visit.

Yes, that means YOU!

I’m a Corporate Training Manager, I’m married and have a teenage son, so I always have to get smart and creative.

During the week, I was very busy with my job working at H&D – An HCL Technologies CompanyH&D Business Services GmbH, and didn’t watch any films at all during the week and only went to screenings on Thursday – late night – and then really went crazy over the weekend!

I must be bonkers!

Jonas Dassler – Der Goldene Handschuh | The Golden Glove – Competition 2019
©Gordon Timpen / 2018 bombero int./Warner Bros. Ent.

Here are ALL the films that I watched in alphabetical order!

  1. Bait
  2. Berlin Bouncer
  3. Buoyancy
  4. Busong
  5. Di jiu tian chang – So Long, My Son
  6. Divino Amor – Divine Love
  7. Easy Love
  8. Elternschule – Parents’ School
  9. Estou Me Guardando Para Quando O Carnaval Chegar – Waiting for the Carnival
  10. Der Goldene Handschuh – The Golden Glove
  11. Die Kinder der Toten – The Children of the Dead
  12. Four Quartets
  13. Für Frauen. 1. Kapitel: For Women – Chapter 1
  14. Heimweh nach Rügen oder Gestern noch war ich Köchin – Homesick for Rügen or Yesterday, I Was a Cook
  15. Hölmö nuori sydän – Stupid Young Heart
  16. Kids
  17. Kislota – Acid
  18. Liberty
  19. Mid90s
  20. Miss World
  21. Monștri – Monsters
  22. Mr. Jones
  23. Šavovi – Stitches
  24. Sie – She
  25. Skin
  26. So Pretty
  27. Staff Only
  28. Story
  29. Systemsprenger – System Crasher
  30. Styx
  31. Tattoo
  32. Temblores – Tremors
  33. The Biggest Little Farm
  34. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
  35. To thávma tis thálassas ton Sargassón – The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea
  36. Weil du nur einmal lebst – Die Toten Hosen auf Tour – Die Toten Hosen – You Only Live Once
  37. When Tomatoes Met Wagner
  38. Where We Belong

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 no particular order!

THE TOP 20 FESTIVAL FILMS YOU SHOULD REALLY WATCH IN 2019!

Jonah Hill – Hollywood Actor and Director having fun on the Red Carpet at the Berlin International Film Festival with his film – Mid90s!
© Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin

In the flurry of excitement and talented art, I managed to watch 38 films in just seven (7) days.

Thirty Eight!

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

HITS FOR EVERYONE!

The top 20 favourite festival films you should really watch in 2019!
  1.  THE BOY WHO HARNASSED THE WIND
Chiwetel Ejiofor & Maxwell Simba – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
©Ilze Kitshoff – Netflix

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is adapted from the bestselling book by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.

It follows 13-year-old William Kamkwamba (newcomer Maxwell Simba), who is thrown out of the school he loves, when his family can no longer afford his tuition fees.

Using the school library, he finds a way, by using his father’s – Trywell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) – to build a windmill which then saves his village in Malawi, from hunger and famine.

This film is the real-life story of a the young boy who saved a village, and the author of the actual book!

The film is acted, written and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, Mary Magdalene), so you know it’s going to be quality, and I can tell you that there was not a dry eye in the room, and various sounds of sniffing and blowing of handkerchiefs!

It’s produced with the help of Netflix.

Watch it!

2.  MID90s

Na-Kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Gio Galicia, Ryder McLaughlin & Sunny Suljic – Mid90s
©2018 Jayhawker Holdings

Mid90s is a coming-of-age movie above Stevie.

Stevie is 13, but looks far, far  younger, and is desperate to hang out with the big boys.

His older brother bullies him, and his single mother is rarely at home.

When Stevie meets a group of cool dudes at the local skateboard shop, everything changes and it’s not long before Stevie smokes his first cigarette…

I won’t tell you what happens except to say that the writer and director – Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) – has paid great attention to detail in order to resurrect the 1990’s for his directorial debut.

His story of a teenager’s difficult search for recognition and the right friends unfolds with great ease and plenty of music.

Think back to the 90’s with mixtapes, VHS camcorders, Nintendo PlayStation, songs of Nirvana, Cypress Hill, Seal, etc. and a good dose of nostalgia.

You’ll love it!

3.  MR. JONES

Mr. Jones at the Berlinale – the Berlin International Film Festival – Competition 2019 by Agnieszka Holland starring James Norton
© Robert Palka Film Produkcja

Mr. Jones is made by Academy Award nominee Agnieszka Holland who brings to the screen the extraordinary untold story of Gareth Jones.

Gareth Jones was an ambitious young Welsh journalist who not only became the first foreign journalist to cover the story of Hitler, but also travelled to the Soviet Union in 1933 and uncovered the appalling truth behind the Soviet “utopia,” otherwise known as the rapid modernisation of the Soviet Union, and Stalin’s regime.

In fact, he even attempted to get an interview with Stalin himself!

On closer detail, all isn’t as it seems and he witnesses crimes against humanity which he diligently reports, and which are all denied and ignored by Western media.

He does however, meet a young writer called George Orwell who goes on to become famous for writing a most famous and yet still contemporary, allegorical novel inspired by Gareth Jones’ story – Animal Farm.

Not much is known about Gareth Jones.

Until now.

So what happened to him?

Watch the film at a cinema near you, and find out?

4.  SYSTEMSPRENGER – SYSTEM CRASHER

Helena Zengel – Systemsprenger | System Crasher
©Peter Hartwig / kineo / Weydemann Bros. / Yunus Roy Imer

Systemsprenger | System Crasher is a film about Bernadette, or Benni – a delicate-looking girl with unbridled energy. She is a ‘system crasher’.

This term is used to describe children who break every single rule; children who refuse to accept any kind of structure, and who gradually fall through the cracks in Germany’s child and welfare services.

In fact, there was even talk of sending her to a children’s home in Africa!

No matter where this nine-year-old is taken in, she is booted out again after a short time. And that is exactly what she is after, because all she really wants, is to be able to live with her mother again. A woman who is totally unable to cope with her daughter’s unpredictable behaviour.

This multi-award-winning script, has created a dramatically intense film about one child’s overwhelming need for love and security and the potential for violence that this engenders.

At the same time, it depicts the tireless attempts of teachers and psychologists who use respect, trust and confidence to create a way forward for children who threaten to destroy others and themselves, as a result of their unpredictable outbursts.

This film is sad and somewhat disturbing, but with a potential for hope.

If you can get your hands on it, it’s well worth watching for the brilliant performance of the young actor – Helena Zengel!

5.  THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM

The Biggest Little Farm – Emma the pig, Greasy the rooster – Culinary Cinema
©John Chester

The Biggest Little Farm is a documentary about the complexity of nature and our relationship to it.

It follows two dreamers –  John and Molly Chester – and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land.

When the barking of their beloved dog – Todd – leads to an eviction notice from their tiny LA apartment, John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and onto 200 acres in the foothills of Ventura County, naively endeavoring to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete co-existence with nature. The land they’ve chosen, however, is utterly depleted of nutrients and suffering from brutal drought.

Cameraman, director and newly minted farmer John Chester, spent eight daunting years chronicling the hard and passionate work involved in realising their utopia. His footage also includes some remarkable nocturnal shots of their animal companions and the planting of 10,000 orchard trees, over 200 different crops, and bringing in animals of every kind – including an unforgettable pig named Emma and her best friend, Greasy the rooster.

Just as the farm’s ecosystem finally begins to reawaken, their plans of perfect harmony takes a series of unfortunate wild turns that will lead them to life, death, the depth of despair, and everlasting hope that it’ll somehow come together.

I loved it!

I think you will too!

HITS FOR FILM NERDS

The top 20 favourite festival films you should really watch in 2019!

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:

6.  WHEN TOMATOES MET WAGNER

Alexander with aunties Niki, Stavroula, Agathi, Katina & Olga – When Tomatoes Met Wagner – Culinary Cinema 2019
©Myrto Papadopoulos

When Tomatoes Met Wagner is a funny and uplifting story of how two enterprising Greek cousins – Christos and Alexansdros – and five village women, attempt to tackle the world vegetable market by selling their own home-grown tomatoes!

It’s a quirky and inspiring tale of how a tiny rural village  – Elias in Greece – with a population of just a mere 33 elderly inhabitants – respond to  the new reality of how we eat and grow our food, by engaging in organic farming to overcome the Greek financial crisis!

And not by the use of any added ingredient, but by literally, the sound of music!

The brains behind this inspiring idea is Alexandros who uses stories of legend and history to market their products, encourage people from all over the world to visit Elias, and is utterly convinced that playing the music of Wagner in the tomato fields, helps crops grow healthy in a natural way.

With the help of his cousin Christos, a traditional farmer, they soon turn his land to the cultivation of organic tomatoes with the help of five (5) elderly women from the village who pasteurize, label and hand package their crops, as tomato paste and organic meals.

Soon, the little jars find their place on the shelves of organic stores across the world.

It’s funny, warm, original, and heart-breaking all at the same time.

You. Have. Got. To. See. This. Film.

7.  DIE KINDER DER TOTEN – THE CHILDREN OF THE DEAD

Greta Kostka & Andrea Maier – Die Kinder der Toten | The Children of the Dead
©Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion

In the film Die Kinder der Toten|The Children of the Dead, tourism is booming at the Pension Alpenrose.

After dying in an accident, Karin returns as one of the undead. In a cinema owned by a Nazi widow where the past is mourned, she brings the non-living back to life.

In her 666-page ghost novel “The Children of the Dead”, Elfriede Jelinek allows the deceased to rise again, as a parade of zombies in a supermarket!

The film flutters between past and present. The present – a coach load of Dutch tourists and Syrian refugees. The past – hunters and zombies with swastikas and Jewish concentration camp victims, walking around, hand-in-hand!

The directorial duo from the Nature Theater of Oklahoma used amateur actors and Super 8 film in the original Styrian setting in Austria, using silent film, complete with Austrian brass-band music.

It’s a strange home-made horror movie, in which the vulgar and the ridiculous meet.

Terrific!

8.   BAIT

Edward Rowe & Isaac Woodvine – Bait
©Early Day Films Limited

Bait is a black-and-white film shot on hand-processed 16mm with close-ups of fish, nets, lobsters, wellington boots, knots, catch baskets, and even sounds of the bare gravel of fisher folk trudging across the pebbles on the beach!

The location is placed in an idyll Cornwall fishing village where the locals are no longer able to support themselves in the traditional way of fishing, but have had to resort to more lucrative ways via selling their homes, or catering to the interests of day-trippers, on sailing trips around the cove.

This has created tension between the weekend London city-folk and the now far-poorer original village locals, who have been priced out of the market or have to contend with empty buildings that they can no longer afford to live in, depicting images of historical reference and the tradition of social realism in British cinema.

I enjoyed it very much and if you’re a film nerd, you probably will too!

9.   TO THÁVMA TIS THÁLASSAS TON SARGASSÓN|THE MIRACLE OF THE SARGASSO SEA

To thávma tis thálassas ton Sargassón | The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea
©Kiki Papadopoulou

To thávma tis thálassas ton Sargassón | The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea is about Elisabeth – the police chief of the Greek coastal town of Mesolongi.

She drinks too much, constantly swears and is sleeping with a married doctor. Her transfer from Athens to the tiny fishing village ten years ago still rankles with her, and her adolescent son – Dimitris – has to learn to live with it.

Rita comes from Mesolongi and works in a factory; her brother is a local celebrity who makes her join him on stage during his club appearances. Rita is very unhappy and a death tears apart the already fragile network of relationships between the villagers, revealing an even more damaged structure beneath.

Angeliki Papoulia’s brilliant performance and the surprisingly shocking plot of the film serves up a small-town nightmare, garnished with eels and several layers of interpretation.

Highly recommended!

10.  K I D S

Kids – Director – Michael Frei
©Michael Frei

 

Kids is an experimental project about the psychology of the group dynamic.

Who is steering the crowd? What if it is heading in the wrong direction? Where does the individual end and the group begin?

It’s a witty black-and-white animated short film, an interactive piece of animation and a computer game set up that has animated figures running up and down the screen before they splat!

It’s hilarious and I absolutely loved it!

FILMS I REALLY, REALLY LIKE!

Put the kettle on. We’re going to be here all day!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

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!

11.   DER GOLDENE HANDSCHUH|THE GOLDEN GLOVE

Jonas Dassler – Der Goldene Handschuh | The Golden Glove
©Gordon Timpen / 2018 bombero int./Warner Bros. Ent.
The rather handsome Jonas Dassler as himself! – Der Goldene Handschuh | The Golden Glove
©Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin

The Der Goldene Handschuh|The Golden Glove is set in Hamburg – St.Pauli – in the 1970’s.

At first glance, Fritz «Fiete» Honka is a pitiful loser.

The man with the broken face binge-drinks his nights in his local neighborhood dive, the «Golden Glove», chasing after lonely women. None of the regulars suspect that the apparently harmless Fiete, is actually a monster.

Fatih Akin’s horror film is based on a true story and Heinz Strunk’s 2016 crime novel.

It’s the story of Fritz Honka, a serial killer who hid, mutilated, chopped up, and murdered numerous women, and his favorite bar, the «Golden Glove», where schmaltzy German songs move the pub punters to tears, and drinking is a reflex against pain in post-war Germany.

It’s a horrific story, but the attention to detail is amazing. As well as the make-up!

Go see it!

12.   BERLIN BOUNCER

Sven Marquardt of Berghain – Berlin Bouncer
©Flare Film GmbH

Berlin Bouncer is a documentary about three legendary bouncers – Frank, Sven and Smiley!

Back in the day, I used to be a hard-core clubber and one of the clubs mentioned – Berghain – was my regular weekend spot for techno vibes in the Berlin capital!

Of course, in those days, we expat locals knew Berghain as OstGut – it’s original name!

This film chronicles an exciting piece of Berlin’s cultural history – from the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall up to the pulsating present, so is it any wonder that I very much wanted to see the film!

In the late 1980s, Frank Künster came from West Germany to Berlin which was a special territory due to the fact that Berlin was divided by the Red Curtain into East and West, and was actually in the middle of East German territory (Brandenburg), Smiley Baldwin, an American G.I., who was one of the American soldiers who came over to guard the border to East Berlin, and sort of never left, and Sven Marquardt, a young punk and photographer, in East Berlin.

In fact, out of the three, Sven Marquardt is most easily recognisable as his usual garb is black leather, black boots, silver jewellery, long salt and pepper hair, and a well-groomed beard half-covered by a face full of tattoos and piercings. I live in Prenzlauerberg, and I sometimes used to see him at the tram stop!

Berlin Bouncer – the story of three legendary bouncers – Sven, Frank and Smiley!

Once the Berlin Wall fell, it was not long before all three found themselves caught up in the city’s wild nightlife of the 1990s, where they soon became the legendary ‘guardians’ of the city’s hippest clubs.

This film is a behind-the-scene look of how they all got started, what it was like at the time, the diversity of life in Berlin and their own real-life story now that they’re pushing 50, all appropriately accompanied by the infectiously pounding club sounds which have become a kind of second heartbeat not only for the protagonists of the film, but before the audience, and myself, who were in the scene when Berlin was the techno capital of the world.

And it still is!

Our film screening venue at the Berlinale was so packed that people were sitting on the floor!

It’s going to be shown at cinemas in Germany, so if you happen to be here, watch it. If not, look for it wherever.

You’ll love it!

13.   BUOYANCY

Sarm Heng – Buoyancy
©Rafael Winer

Buoyancy is about Chakra – a 14-year-old boy from Cambodia.

Chakra has a hard life toiling in the rice fields, along with his parents and siblings, when a friend tells him about the possibility of earning money in a factory. He then decides to secretly leaves home, in search of a better life.

Unfortunately, he is deceived, falls into the clutches of human traffickers, is sold to a Thai broker and enslaved on a fishing trawler. As fellow slaves are tortured and murdered around him, he decides his only hope of freedom is to become as violent as his captors.

Buoyancy is the first feature film of Rodd Rathjen’s, and in fact, the screening that I saw was the first public film screening that it has ever done. Ever!

The film is a brutal, yet realistic depiction of the current situation of Cambodian and Myanmar forced labourers.

This film isn’t pretty and spares no-one, but it’s very gripping, with a passionate message of social injustice and a touching and shocking coming-of-age story about a young boy, and humanity put to the test.

Go and see it!

  1.    DI JIU TIAN CHANG|SO LONG, MY SON
Yong Mei & Wang Jingchun – Di jiu tian chang | So Long, My Son
© Li Tienan / Dongchun Films

 

Di jiu tian chang|So Long, My Son is a film that traces the lives of two families over three decades of social, political and human upheaval in China.

Part melodrama, part critique of the times, this film takes us from China’s turbulence from the end of the Cultural Revolution in the 1980’s, to the prospering turbo-capitalism of today.

Yaoyun and his wife Liyun’ were once a happy family – until their young son drowned playing by a reservoir. Following the loss of their child, the two families separate.

And so Yaojun and Liyun leave their home and plunge into the big city, although nobody knows them there and they cannot understand the local dialect, and their adopted son – Liu Xing – does not offer them the comfort they had hoped for either.

Yet even as their lives diverge, a common search for truth and reconciliation around the tragedy remains and they decide to return back to their roots.

This film was impressive. I didn’t understand how the adopted son came into the story and even though I nodded off a little, I happily sat and watched it for 3+ hours!

I would happily sit back and watch it again!

  1.    FÜR FRAUEN. 1. KAPITEL|FOR WOMEN – CHAPTER 1
Für Frauen. 1. Kapitel For Women | Chapter 1 – West Germany 1972 – Ulla Lange, Helga Freyer, Edda Hertel & Janine Rickmann
©Deutsche Kinemathek / DFFB

Equal pay for equal work! Stand up for your rights!

This was said by four (4) female employees at a West Berlin supermarket, who felt heavy pressure both at work and at home, and who went on strike to demand the same salary that their male colleagues got.

This 1972 documentary film Für Frauen. 1. Kapitel For Women | Chapter 1 was scripted and acted by the performers themselves who were not professional actors but simply, supermarket sales assistants and housewives!

And you get to see customers smoking in the shop, long hair on both sexes, extremely tight trousers, very short dresses, men refusing to lift boxes as “it’s women work” and sadly, the pinching and grabbing of bottoms as well as sexist jokes, as women walk by.

That notwithstanding, the film is quite funny and was digitally restored in 2018.

If you can get your hands on it, it’s a historical treasure!

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

The top 20 favourite festival films you should really watch in 2019!
  1.   37 Seconds by HIKARI – Japan 2019

17.  8 Tage|8 Days by Rafael Parente and Peter Kocyla – Germany 2018

18.   Berlin–Prenzlauer Berg. Begegnungen zwischen dem 1. Mai und dem 1. Juli 1990|Berlin Prenzlauer Berg – Encounters between 1st of May and 1st of July 1990 by Petra Tschörtner – Germany 1990

19.  Gully Boy by Zoya Akhtar – India 2018

20.  Guo chun tian|The Crossing by Bai XuePeople’s Republic of China 2019

FILMS THAT WERE A WASTE OF MY TIME!

 

  • MONȘTRI|MONSTERS 
Judith State – Monștri | Monsters
©Luchian Ciobanu

 

Monștri | Monsters is about a marred couple in Romania.

It’s a relationship drama of loneliness, sex and the current emotional state of a couple, over 24 hours!

Dana’s loneliness is palpable when she, instead of going home, decides to switch off her phone and pay the taxi driver for a whole night of merely driving around and through Bucharest.

Meanwhile, her husband goes to the gym and meets another equally married man for sex in a strangers’ apartment.

The next morning, Dana and Andrei meet in their marital bed and spend the day together. Perhaps for the last time.

A man and a woman lost in their relationship.

I’ve seen it all before.

Blah! Blah! Blah!

  • ELTERNSCHULE|PARENTS’ SCHOOL
Elternschule | Parents’ School – Lola at Berlinale
Jörg Adolph, Ralf Bücheler

I have mixed feelings about Elternschule | Parents’ School.

This film is a documentary that portrays several families seeking psychiatric treatment at a German clinic.

This is a last resort to deal with their seemingly unresolvable parenting issues and both Ralf Bücheler and Jörg Adolph deliver a chilling insight into our society, and its troubled relationship with its children.

It was interesting in itself but I don’t think it had any place in this film festival, and all I could think of was, “I could be watching something else!”

Ahem!

Me at the Berlin International Film Festival aka the Berlinale!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Berlin – February 2016

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!

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THE TOP 20 FESTIVAL FILMS YOU SHOULD REALLY WATCH IN 2019!

The top 20 favourite festival films you should really watch in 2019!

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, very own!

It’s March!

I’m going to be on German TV again!

I went to Norway. Watch out for the details!

I’ll be continuing my How To Visit India posts in March / April!

March is going to be pretty!

Catch me if you can!

The top 20 favourite festival films you should really watch in 2019!

Watch this space!

Please note that there are four affiliate link companies connected to this post! Every time one of these services is used, booked, and paid for via my link, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

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!

So what are you waiting for?

Go watch films!

Thanks a million!

The top 20 favourite festival films you should really watch in 2019!

Do you like films? Are any of the above festival films, the type of films that you would watch? Spill the beans!

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

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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!

Hollywood comes to Berlin at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival: The Berlinale, 2014.

The Berlin International Film Festival: The Berlinale.
The Berlin International Film Festival: The Berlinale.

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

That’s right. From the 6th of February to the 16th February, 2014, Berlin has been packed solid with members of the film industry.

It makes me proud 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 and with more than four hundred films, ten sections and almost half a million cinema visits, the Berlinale is not only an independent film festival with a difference but also the world’s largest film festival that people can actually visit.

Yes, that means YOU!

The Grand Budapest Hotel with Bill Murray: at the Opening Gala. Berlinale 2014
The Grand Budapest Hotel with Bill Murray: at the Opening Gala.
Berlinale 2014

All the top guys like Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, John Hurt, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum, Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz, Ken Loach, Patricia Arquette, Michelle Yeoh, Cillian Murphy, Jennifer Connolly, Forest Whitaker, Wes Anderson and Martin Scorsese, were all here and then it all went crazy when the stars of “The Monuments Men” such as: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville (of Downton Abbey fame), and Cate Blanchett came to town.

Bill Murray, George Clooney, Matt Damon & John Goodman. Press Conference at "The Monuments Men." The Berlinale, 2014
Bill Murray, George Clooney, Matt Damon & John Goodman. Press Conference at “The Monuments Men.”
The Berlinale, 2014

I mean, it really did go insane.

The actors were professional and charming but everybody else just lost it with star-lust, over-whelmingness, or the fact that film premier tickets could 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!

We love you Georgie! The Berlinale, 2014.
We love you Georgie!
The Berlinale, 2014.

Well, “The Music Producer” is a bit of a geek as far as the Berlin International Film Festival is concerned. Oh My God! My husband watched thirty films! Thirty films in ten days! Craaaaaaazy!!! If you would like to read his insight of the film festival then check out this link in German, but if you can’t read German, feel free to take a look at the art cinema photos instead.

As for me, being that I’m actually a sane person, I only took in five movies watched over just a mere three days. I would have liked to have seen more but someone has got to keep the home hearth burning.

Having said that “The Tall Young Gentleman” had a Boy Scout “Lock-In weekend” so I used that opportunity to go to town. I watched:

Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast. The Berlinale, 2014
Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast.
The Berlinale, 2014
  • Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast – This film was hilarious. It was a comedy about the Taiwanese tradition of catering to the public and cooking. Honestly, it made me salivate with hunger as they had close-ups of exotic dishes, chopped, sliced, mixed and cooked to perfection. It also focused on lollipop girls, a pair of under-world scammers, old culinary masters, Taiwanese villages and towns, and a bunch of internet geeks. Oh, and a Taiwanese version of Beyonce’s “All The Single Ladies” performed by a 50-something mother and cook! I would love to watch it again 🙂

She's Lost Control. The Berlinale, 2014.

  • She’s Lost Control – This film was a complex, stylistic directorial debut of an American director and script writer, who also calls Berlin her home. This movie was about a sexual surrogate who taught troubled men how to be intimate and how the line between professional and private intimacy became blurred and uncertain. After the film, we were lucky enough to have the directors, producers, and main actress on stage so that we could ask questions. Of which there were many, as this film inspired discussion and debate and will be at a cinema near you. In Berlin.
Pădurea e ca muntele, vezi? | The Forest is Like the Mountains. The Berlinale, 2014.
Pădurea e ca muntele, vezi? | The Forest is Like the Mountains.
The Berlinale, 2014.
  • Pădurea e ca muntele, vezi? | The Forest is Like the Mountains – I really liked this film. It was a Romanian movie directed by two young German/Belgian artists. It was about a Roma village and centered around the Lingurar family where the villagers lived off the land. It was really interesting seeing how they ate, slept and lived. It was very endearing I must say and I think there was rather a lot of interest in the traditional ways of the Roma people. The film also touched the topic of how difficult things were and are in a modern age, bearing in mind the many controversial European politics of thoughts of how to slow down the free movement of Roma people within the European Union. The film was documentary style in which we saw horses and carts, the harvesting of potatoes and ordinary family life and struggles. Again, I was lucky enough to be at the premiere of this film in which the main actors and the directors were present. I even got to be able to stand-up and ask the actors a question. In public!

Top Girl or la déformation professionnelle. The Berlinale, 2014.

  • Top Girl oder la déformation professionnelle – I picked this movie ‘cos it was made in Berlin but I wasn’t really impressed and I didn’t like it. I don’t really know what I was expecting but people were either walking out, tittering, talking over the voice screen, or coughing awkwardly. Halfway through the film, I fell asleep! It was part II of the “Woman and Work” trilogy and showed the everyday life of Mascha, a frustrated actress who also worked as a high-class escort. Once again, the director and main actors came on stage and Q & A’s took place. The movie was provocative but was successful in getting a debate going I guess, as at one point, some of the viewers got into a quarrel with one of the main actors!
Highway. The Berlinale, 2014.
Highway.
The Berlinale, 2014.
  • Highway – This movie is a film made in India. I liked it very much. It was shocking, compelling and emotional. The movie is about the daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur who is kidnapped in Delhi, a few days before her wedding! This film really touched my presence and had me gasping and grabbing the hand of “The Music Producer” a few times. I was a little worried as this is not your typical song and dance movie but was rather cruel in moments and even though I love the Indian sub-continent, recent media speculation has not been positive as this road movie also reflects on the issue of rape in Indian society. This movie by all accounts is a modern Bollywood film with fantastic visuals of India’s wide and varied landscapes from Rajasthan to the Himalayan mountains, and a film about finding who you truely are. If you ever get the chance to see it, I suggest you do so. There were no directors or actors this time but I did manage to bump into an ex-teacher of mine who is another expat in Berlin (albeit American!) and also an up and coming artist and whom I haven’t seen for at least 10 years. He recognised me purely by my sharp British tone of voice!

And there you have it. The end of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival – The Berlinale, 2014. I hope you get to watch some of the movies too.

For more information contact: The Berlinale.

A Homage for the Honorary Golden Bear - Ken Loach. The Berlinale, 2014.
A Homage for the Honorary Golden Bear – Ken Loach.
The Berlinale, 2014.

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my absolute own.

Going to a Film Festival is an awesome experience. Which festival have you been to of late? Which of these category of films would you watch?

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On the red carpet at the Internationale Filmfestspiele, Berlin or at the International Film Festival, Berlin.
On the red carpet at the Internationale Filmfestspiele, Berlin or at the International Film Festival, Berlin.