We Are One Film Festival: Five to Watch

By Caz Armstrong The “We Are One” Global Film Festival has begun in earnest. This is a free online festival hosted on YouTube and curated by the best international film festivals in the world. Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca, London, Berlinale, Tokyo, Sydney, Annecy, TIFF, you name it they have something for you. The films each have a set start time but most are available for around … Continue reading We Are One Film Festival: Five to Watch

Review: Sisters Apart (Im Feuer)

“Sisters Apart” (Im Feuer) is a compelling film from Greek director and writer Daphne Charizani and is by far one of the most emotionally touching films that you will come across this year. I had the pleasure of watching it at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, stumbling into a screening as part of a happy accident. Despite being one of the best films I watched at the festival, it seems that not enough people are discussing it and it hasn’t been receiving the attention that it rightfully deserves. The film follows the story of two sisters torn apart by war, and the desperate struggle of one of the sisters’ attempts to reunite their family. It’s not often that we see the stories of women fighting on the frontlines being portrayed on the big-screen, so Charizani’s decision to centre the story around these two sisters whose lives both involve fighting for freedom is something rare and unique.  Continue reading Review: Sisters Apart (Im Feuer)

Exclusive Interview With Filmmaker Laurentia Genske

Laurentia Genske is a German Documentary Filmmaker and Cinematographer. She attended the Academy of Media Arts Cologne from 2010 to 2016, with an exchange year studying documentary film at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión, Cuba between 2012 and 2013. She received several awards for her documentary “AM KÖLNBERG”, co-directed with Robin Humboldt, amongst others the German Documentary Film Award 2015.

Her most recent project “Im StÄdtle” is currently in post-production. This feature documentary follows two Syrian brothers who are caught in a constant struggle between their own transsexual identity and different cultures. Finally, they can live freely in Germany, but at the same time, they face struggling with feelings of sin in the face of their Muslim environment. Bianca Garner caught up with Laurentia to discuss her career, the challenges of being a documentary filmmaker and the project that saw her living in a Cuban jungle without electricity for three months. Continue reading Exclusive Interview With Filmmaker Laurentia Genske

Berlinale Exclusive Review: Yalda, la Nuit du Pardon (Yalda, a Night For Forgiveness)

The shocking premise of this Sundance-winning film is compelling. Director Massoud Bakhshi’s second feature “Yalda, la Nuit du Pardon” (“Yalda, a Night For Forgiveness”) shows a woman who must beg for forgiveness on live television or face the death penalty for the accidental murder of her much older husband. It has the hallmarks of a thrilling story, just rife for the big screen.

But unfortunately, there was too much in here that was convoluted or contrived and the drama fizzled out as a result.

Maryam (Sadaf Asgari) is the 26-year-old wife (temporary wife) who accidentally killed her 65-year-old husband during an argument. Continue reading Berlinale Exclusive Review: Yalda, la Nuit du Pardon (Yalda, a Night For Forgiveness)

Berlinale Exclusive Review: Minamata

Some shocking visuals and a few knuckle-biting moments bring this true story of the Minamata poisoning exposé to life. But despite best efforts the white saviour positioning undermines the power of the film.

It’s 1971 and once well-regarded photographer W. Eugene “Gene” Smith (Johnny Depp) is at the end of his useful career and drinking too much. Haunted from photographing the horrors of WWII, he has annoyed his publishers too many times to get consistent work and is reduced to endorsing products he doesn’t use for money.

Late one night Aileen Mioko (Minami in her first English Language film) visits to beg him to come to Japan and cover the Minamata poisoning. A whole region is suffering from sickness and birth defects from the Chisso Corporation chemical factory pumping mercury into the water. Continue reading Berlinale Exclusive Review: Minamata

Berlinale Exclusive Review: Kød & Blod (Wildland)

Directed by Jeanette Nordahl, “Kød & Blod” (“Wildland”) is a Danish film about a toxic family and the need to belong in a community. It’s a matriarchal mafia genre with the focus on violence within a family not outside. It’s a drama steeped in mistrust and danger.

In a succinct series of shots we learn that Ida’s (Sandra Guldberg Kampp) mother was killed in a crash and she now has to live with her aunt Bodil (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and three older male cousins (Joachim Fjelstrup, Elliott Crosset Hove, Besir Zeciri).

Ida is sullen, quiet and withdrawn, thrust into a home which appears to have something sinister going on under the surface. Continue reading Berlinale Exclusive Review: Kød & Blod (Wildland)

Berlinale Exclusive Review: Jumbo

What happens when a woman falls in love with an inanimate object? A rollercoaster, to be precise? This colourful, strange, sensitive feast for the eyeballs explores just that.

Jeanne (Noémie Merlant, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”) is an outsider who is unlike the people around her. She’s tormented by cruel men and lives with her leopard print-wearing, day-drinking mother Margarette (Emmanuelle Bercot) who loudly displays her own sexuality to the point of embarrassment.

Her favourite place in the world is the local theme park and she spends hours creating illuminated models of the rides in her bedroom. Continue reading Berlinale Exclusive Review: Jumbo

Berlinale Exclusive Review: Surge

“Surge” follows 24 hours in the life of a man experiencing a mental break. It’s an intense film with a powerfully physical and emotional performance from Ben Whishaw. It’s urgent and frantic with a sense of danger underlying the actions of a desperate and unhinged man.

Joseph is an airport security agent, constantly suspicious of people he meets and dealing with difficult passengers all day. He’s withdrawn and quiet, speaking only when necessary, often following his prescribed security script.

He’s rake thin and picks at food that doesn’t interest him. But he bites down on hard objects partly just to feel something and partly as a physical manifestation of his tense mental state. Continue reading Berlinale Exclusive Review: Surge

In Competition: The 6 Female Directed Fims With A Chance To Win At Berlin

This week sees the Berlin film festival kick-off with six of its 18 competition films boasting a credited female director, representing a 33% proportion, compared with Cannes last year with 19% and Venice with 9%. Although six films isn’t an even split, it is still an improvement in the right direction. So, what are these six films and which ones are we most keen to catch at the festival? Continue reading In Competition: The 6 Female Directed Fims With A Chance To Win At Berlin