Berlinale Final Update

Okay, so I’ve decided to just list the films I enjoyed and the films that I did not enjoy instead of writing small excerpts about each one because there were just too many. I saw a total of 19 films, 9 workshops and 7 short films within the 10 days that I was there.

I enjoyed:

Blind – A film in the POV of a blind woman who fears going outside and instead writes stories about her husband cheating on her.

Were Dengê Min – An old lady whose son is taken away by soldiers for possessing weapons even though he doesn’t have one. In order to free him, she goes on a long journey with her granddaughter to acquire a gun.

Bai Ri Yan Huo – The winner of Berlinale. It tells the story of a cop who is sucked back into an unsolvable case from years prior. He finds himself falling for the victim’s wife but finds that there is more to her than meets the eye.

52 Tuesdays – A teenage girl has to deal with her mother becoming a man and being exiled to live with her father for a year while her mother transitions. She is unable to deal and experiments sexually with two classmates.

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared – Like the title says.

Kreuzweg – A teenage girl is criticized for everything she does by her extremely Christian mother. She decides to give her life to the Lord in hopes that he will give her brother the power of speech to please her mother.

Jack – A young boy sneaks out of the boys home when his mother fails to come pick him as promised. He picks up his younger brother and they run through the city searching for her before coming to a realization that was there all along.

Triptych – Three characters who are related to each other, deal with their own demons.

Nymphomaniac – Lars Von Trier. Sex. ‘Nuff said.

I did not enjoy:

Sto Spiti, Forma and Kumun tadi. They were also all in the same category. Hmm. I was also very disappointed by She’s Lost Control and Beauty and the Beast.

Ieji and Feriado were so-so. There wasn’t anything new presented in the films. Otherwise, MOST of the workshops were great. I especially enjoyed 5D The Science of Fiction: Shaping New Worlds, The Land of Things and Spaces: Production Design and The Invisible World: The Magic of VFX.

I was really glad to have had the chance to be accredited. It gave me the chance to see films that I never would have been able to see.  It was also a really fun experience; lack of sleep, lack of time to eat, a lot of queuing. Next year I hope to attend again. However, I probably won’t be able to see as much as I saw this year since I will have to pay for everything myself and separately as well.

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Berlinale Update

I’ve been pretty swamped lately. We’ve been waking up at 4:30am every morning to get to the accreditation office at 6am to get our tickets. However, most days, our films end at around 12am and thus we end up getting home at around almost 1am. Today I tried REALLY hard to stay awake in my two workshops. I did doze off quite a few times and I was a bit annoyed with that. I ended up having to miss 52 Tuesdays, a film that I had been looking forward to. I gave the ticket to my roommate instead and I shall catch it on a later date.

We’ve managed to get quite lucky with our films because we kept accidentally grabbing the tickets for the premieres and thus, we got to see quite a few famous faces.

The first film we saw was The Grand Budapest Hotel which was absolutely wonderful!

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But honestly, it’s Wes Anderson. I was so fascinated by the cinematography. It’s typical Wes Anderson style and he uses the same DOP for every film so it was bound to be stunning. There were some REALLY outstanding shots, such as the prison scene and some of the chase scenes. It was a surrealistic world but it was believable to the audience which is very important. At the hands of another Director, it might have become a bit too absurd. In the end, Wes Anderson and Bill Murray came on stage to greet us which was a nice send off from the film. I would also like to comment that Wes Anderson looks REALLY young and I nearly freaked out til I found out he was 44.

The next film we caught was American Hustle.

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I didn’t really expect much and so I enjoyed it. It’s a typical Hollywood film with plot that lacked substance. It fell a bit flat in the end because there was no real justice being served. It became a happily-ever-after ending which was a bit frustrating for me. They could have raised the stakes and taken more of a risk but instead they decided to play it safe. I heard that in the original script, Jennifer Lawrence’s character was supposed to kill herself which I felt would have made more sense and would have given the other characters more conflict to deal with. I have to say though, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams killed it. Their performances outshone the men by a LOT. There were a lot of German celebrities sitting in the audience. Everyone went crazy when Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, David O’Russell and the producers came in. They even gave us a greeting after the film which was nice. I would have preferred to see Jennifer Lawrence or Amy Adams instead though.

The next film we saw was a German film called Hüter meines Bruders (My Brother’s Keeper).

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It was SO good. I think it is my favorite film from the festival so far. The film is about two brothers, Gregor and Pietschi. Gregor lives the perfect life, he has a good job as a doctor, he has a loving wife and good friends. His brother on the other hand is a wild child, partying and sleeping around. Pietschi disappears with some girl during a sailing trip and Gregor digs around to find out more about his brother’s life while trying to find him and starts taking on his brother’s personality and lifestyle, including sleeping with his ex-girlfriend.

The acting was very natural and spot on. There wasn’t a lot of dialogue so the performances were really important. The cinematography.. oh. my. goodness. It was unbelievable. Some of the shots looked like paintings. I had to stop myself from screaming from how much I loved the shots. There were a lot of flashbacks and the sex scene was really eerie but well done. I urge everyone to see it if they can. The ending was ambiguous as we never find out what happened to Pietschi, whether he is even still alive. While a part of me really wants to know, I feel that it ended perfectly. It was also the debut film of the Director and he’s ONLY 35. This film is the type of film I want to make. PS: I REALLY REALLY hope that it comes out on DVD because I would be all over that.

Besides those films, I have caught a bunch of workshops and short films. I was less than impressed by many of the short films and now we’re all wondering what our tutors want from us. The short films did everything that our tutors told us NOT to do which is very frustrating because these films made it into a film competition in one of the biggest film festivals in Europe. If we did these films and showed it to our tutors, we would be completely ripped apart. It’s a bit frustrating and very confusing.

Here’s my schedule for the rest of the week:

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I am so excited to lineup.

Berlinale!

So Berlinale has officially begun! I’m very excited as we’re getting accreditation through our school and thus we get to attend 90% of the programme for free. The only downside is having to line up at 6am each day to pick up tickets for the next day (luckily we can take little naps afterwards). We queued this morning and managed to snag tickets to The Grand Budapest Hotel and American Hustle. I already have tickets for Nymphomaniac I, the long version. I counted the films and workshops that my roommate and I intend to attend and we have over 27 items. I feel like our eyes are going to fall out by the end of it but it will be worth it. Our school has been sending us random emails of homework that we have to do, which I do not mind, but I would have liked if they had told us in advance and all at once instead of thinking of new assignments every couple of days. Since I have to do write-ups for school anyways, I might post up my short reviews on the things I attend on here in case anyone is interested. I’m still not very good at reviewing or giving feedback yet but practice makes perfect right?

Queuing today was not very fun because I am SO sore from working out the past couple of days (yes, I am VERY out of shape..) and I also tripped and fell on the stairs yesterday so my knees were a bit banged up. Plus, I had to help my roommate shove a 48kg piano up 5 floors. It was a grand ole time.

We finally have our new school groups and schedules. It has become sort of boys vs. girls which is a bit odd because in the boys group, there is one girl and in the girls group, there are two guys (I’m still with my Austrian father ;D). This shall be very interesting indeed. We will be shooting all of April and half of May and then editing for the rest of May. Let the fun times begin…

I have recently discovered Pierre Hermé online and I MAY currently have a stash of macarons in my fridge *shifty eyes*. I guess I’ll have to workout extra hard and be more diligent about it now.