Conversation in the cocktail bars and the myriad of receptions and parties around Potsdamer Platz inevitably focused during this year’s Berlinale on the future of the festival after current festival director Dieter Kosslick exits his post in May 2019.Rumours had been rife before Christmas about who were supposedly the favoured candidates, until Germany’s Minister for Culture & Media Monika Grütters announced at a public discussion that the future festival director did not necessarily have to be a woman or a German national.Grütters subsequently announced that she would be heading a selection committee consisting of Björn Böhning, head of the Berlin State chancellery, and Mariette Rissenbeek, managing director of German Films.Their deliberations in identifying potential candidates for a future festival director are being supported by a group of international film professionals, which is understood to include The Match Factory managing director Michael … [Read more...] about What next for the Berlin Film Festival?
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I’ll have more to say about the festival and the Talent Campus in the Spring print edition, but, for now, here are quick thoughts on some of the films I managed to see.Unfortunately, I missed probably the most talked about film in the Competition, Hany Abu-Assad’s Paradise Now, a drama about two Palestinian suicide bombers that was filmed in Namblus. “An olive branch” between the Jewish and Palestinian communities is how one U.S. distributor described the film, which has a script developed at the Sundance labs. While some feel that the film’s subject matter and its humanistic take on the lives of two would-be suicide bombers will make a major U.S. distribution deal unlikely, the enthusiastic public and critical response (although it confounded predictors by failing to win an award) should prompt someone in the States to pick it up.I also missed Mark Cornford-May’s U-Carmen, a South African film about a production of Carmen staged in a South African … [Read more...] about THE BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL, PART ONE
Bombay Beach and Panos Cosmatos’s Beyond the Black Rainbow. I’m hoping for at least as good a track record this year, and in surveying the schedule I see more than enough potential candidates. Assuming I can successfully surmount my usual Tribeca challenge — getting into a film-festival headspace while working at home in New York — here are 25 films I’m interested in checking out. As befitting the mission of this magazine, there’s a heavy American independent focus, and I’ve also avoided films that aren’t at least receiving their U.S. premiere at Tribeca. There are also several IFP Narrative Lab films and Filmmaker “25 New Face” directors below as we always keep a close eye on our alumni.1. Any Day Now. Travis Fine’s finely acted 9/11 drama The Space Between was one of Tribeca’s sleeper gems a few years ago, and now Fine returns with ’70s-set world premiere about gay adoption starring Alan Cumming and Garret … [Read more...] about 25 FILMS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO AT THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
When is a film not a film? In one of the triumphs of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the remarkable documentary This is Not A Film, by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, asks this question and more as it portrays, diary-like, a day in Panahi’s life awaiting trial at his home in Tehran. Panahi talks on the phone with friends, illustrates with tape the boundaries of a future film set, chats with a garbage man who has just earned his Masters degree, and is kept company by his daughter’s free-roaming and giant pet lizard, Igi. If one is forbidden by law to make movies for 20 years, if one but sits in front of another’s camera, if one merely reads a vivid script aloud, does a word like “director” still have meaning?Well-known to cinephiles for works including The White Balloon (winner of Cannes’ Golden Camera Award for Best First Film), The Circle (2000) (winner of Venice’s … [Read more...] about “THIS IS NOT A FILM” AND MORE: IRANIAN CINEMA AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL
I walked out after the first 15 minutes of 50 Shades of Grey. Granted, I thought I was walking into a meeting, so this unexpected private screening caught me off guard. I was also thrown by the venue’s attempt to mirror the film’s billion-dollar company, “Grey Enterprises.” Christian Grey impersonators literally barked orders and insults at the arriving guests. This did not get me in the mood. Also, the film was dubbed in German (which is not to say that I would have preferred to suffer through it in English).Somewhere between the 15 minutes of 50 shades of folly and the Berlin Film Festival’s final night screening of Alex Ross Perry’s epic Queen of Earth, I met five filmmakers. In the process, I rode the fastest elevator in Europe, stumbled into a red-carpet photo shoot and got lost in the labyrinth of every Berlinale venue. I would have sat through an entire 50 Shades of Grey screening if it meant getting the chance to sit down with these … [Read more...] about Five Women Directors Discuss Their Art and Craft at the Berlin Film Festival