Berlinale 2019

roundup #1

The last Berlinale edition under the aegis of Dieter Kosslick just closed its doors a few days ago - and as usual it’s really hard to tell if it was a qualitative good year or the exact opposite because the sheer amount of movies on display in the festival’s many sections is simply too overpowering. Nevertheless we found the courage to watch a lot more movies than we’ve ever intended to once again - and here’s the first round of flicks that somehow left an impact on us.

MONOS by Alejandro Landes
Director Landes’ new film about teenage soldiers with laughable code names plays its cards like a delirious “Lord of the Flies“, it’s part thriller, part existential drama and part feverish dream with another killer soundtrack by Mica Levi. “Monos“ somehow succeeds in tying these lose ends into something entirely its own, something that feels fresh and overall exciting.

Smiley Baldwin, Frank Künster, Sven Marquardt. Dietl jr. is portraying three of the most well-known faces of Berlin’s notorious nightlife, but if you’re interested in getting deeper insights into what makes bouncers tick or if you were hoping for peeping behind the curtain of Berlin’s club culture, well, then you’re definitely watching the wrong doc. If you don’t mind getting overwhelmed by an almost violent sense of nostalgia though as you witness old footage and re-visit almost forgotten hangouts of the Mitte-heydays of Germany’s capital, then this rather diverting film sure is worth checking out.

2040 by Damon Gameau
Sick and tired of the omnipresent doomsday scenarios of the near future, Australian filmmaker/activist Garneau realized this intriguing and somehow almost romantic doc with his four-year-old daughter in view, which drafts a much more optimistic view on 2040 - provided that humankind is immediately getting its shit together. The filmmaker’s heavily personalized angle might be a bit irritating at first, but that doesn’t mean that its content isn’t of the essential kind.

The first trailer was a bit confusing, really, as it suggested the film to be this kind of quirky comedy with a lot of almost unbearable local colour. Luckily, Fatih Akin’s adaptation of Heinz Strunk’s Honka-story reveals itself as a bleak and rather transgressive fable offering an impressive panorama of human misery that just loves to divide its audience. We actually were pretty impressed by it.

LIGHT OF MY LIFE by Casey Affleck
When a virus basically wipes out the entire female population on Earth, the few survivors will obviously live in constant fear to be captured by men. What could’ve easily been turned into a post apocalyptic-thrillride got turned into a stripped-back and consciously restrained survival tale that masterly puts the bond and relationship between a father and his daughter in focus by writer/director/actor Affleck.

DIE KINDER DER TOTEN by Kelly Copper & Pavol Liska
Christoph Waltz might not miss any opportunity these days to break a lance for Austria - but let’s face it: it’s a hellhole, it’s shit. Bernhardt and Jelinek would probably cheer to that, Seidl most definitely agrees as he produced this highly entertaining Super 8 oddity that sees zombies, dutch tourists, Syrian poets, nazis and a handful of proudly hateful and always horny locals coming together in a Styrian pub. Imagine the love child of Wenzel Storch, Bruce La Bruce and David Lynch, and you’re getting the idea.