The 69th Berlin Film Festival is currently taking place in the German capital. Forge’s very own Lisa Wehrstedt is there covering the festival, and she’s providing daily round-ups of her experiences at the iconic film event, known commonly as Berlinale. Here’s day three.
My third day at Berlinale started early and without a break. At 9am I was going to the European Shooting Stars press event and they were offering breakfast. I didn’t quite know what to expect from it, but an early start is always worth it if there is free food.
The event presented this year’s ten new faces of European cinema and, after a bit of a cringy panel introduction with all the actors and actresses, I had the chance to take part in a short 10 minutes round table interview with Aisling Franciosi.
It’s understandable If you don’t know her yet but you will hear about her in the next couple of years. To put a face to the name, she plays Lyanna Stark in Game of Thrones, but she also recently had an amazing performance in Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale. She plays an Irish convict in Australia who travels through Tasmania, accompanied by her indigenous slave, to revenge the soldier who killed her husband and baby before raping her.
The film had its premiere at the Venice Film festival, where it was the only film in competition directed by a woman. It doesn’t have a release date yet as it is struggling to find investors but keep an eye out for it because it is an unmissable film.
As soon as I finished my interview with Aisling, I sprinted to the Berlinale Palast to get into my first film of the day. I don’t really know how I managed to watch four films in the same day, starting only at 12pm, but by the end of it I struggled to remember which came first.
That’s because it was the very forgettable Out Stealing Horses (Ut og stjaele hester), a Norwegian film by Hans Peter Moland starring Stellan Skarsgard. It would have made a more lasting impression if I didn’t see three other films after it, but the beautiful Scandinavian sceneries play a vital role in bringing to life this family drama.
I had planned a free afternoon after that, but as I am still baffled whenever I look at my programme booklets, I hadn’t realised that I could go see the film I had missed the night before in the only slot in which I had nothing planned. And I am really glad I didn’t see it just before going to bed.
The Golden Glove (Der Goldene Handshuh, by Faith Akin) is the screen adaptation of a novel by the same name which tells the real story of a serial killer active in Hamburg in the 1970s. The film does an amazing job at making us fear for the victims and revolt at the actions of the pusillanimous killer. I am not the one to utter any noise during a film, but I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, knowing that I could not have changed the reality of what happened. But even though I enjoyed the experience thoroughly, I do not want to see the film ever again.
Next on my list was the latest film starring Juliette Binoche – this year’s Berlinale Jury President – Who You Think I Am (Celle que vous croyez by Safy Nebbou), the story of a woman in her fifties who rediscovers what it means to be loved when she catfishes a younger man. The film explores the consequences of our words and actions on others and how we never consider the extent of the harm we are causing. It was sad to see so many people leave the screening throughout the film, all of them of an elder demographic. It’s a shame they couldn’t connect with what social media does to your mind and emotions, because they missed a very touching story.
The last film of the day was a very, very British period drama – way too long and putting accuracy over pathos. Mr Jones tells the story of how journalists in the 1930s put their own political agenda before telling the truth, colluding or being silenced by the Soviet Union about the Ukrainian famine. It was overall an enjoyable film, although it was extremely preachy and did not pull at any emotional strings whatsoever, not even when the Ukrainian kids are eating their brother to survive.
Having given my all for the day and not really knowing how I managed to fit so much in, I headed back to my hostel, packed my bag, and went to bed, so I would be ready for my next (and final) day at Berlinale.