Forge’s very own Lisa Wehrstedt has spent the last four days at the Berlin Film Festival. Having provided daily round-ups of her experiences at the iconic film event, known commonly as Berlinale, sadly her time there is over. So here’s the final day of Lisa’s Berlin diaries.
Yesterday was my last day In Berlin. Unfortunately, my lecturers would not have been too happy with me skiving off for 10 days at the start of the new term. So after only four days I had to come back to Sheffield.
Even if I spent effectively only half a day at the festival, I still managed to watch two films before heading to the airport.
I started my morning a bit later than usual (to enjoy a bit of a Sunday lie-in) with Mid90s, written and directed by Jonah Hill, and starring Lucas Hedges as the protagonist’s brother. The short 76-minute feature tells the story of young Stevie, who Wikipedia says is supposed to be 13-years old, but he looks more like nine.
Stevie, played by Sunny Suljic, is drawn by a crew of older teenage skaters and desperately tries to become their friend. At first he is the laughing stock of the group because of his childish mannerisms, but soon Stevie adapts to the customs of this new group, and surpasses previous members in achieving certain milestones. Smoking, drinking, drugs and sex become the new norm for Stevie, while only his brother tries to steer him away from this world.
While the story and the setting are extremely interesting, the character of Stevie was utterly unlikable and borderline obnoxious in his forcefully rebellious attitude. Everyone in the screening was glad that this torture did not last for long and the cinema was quickly evacuated to move on to something worthwhile.
Not having really planned much between this and the 2pm screening I had a ticket for (and not having seen that I could have gone to see one more film in the main competition), I started wandering around the festival grounds to take a couple of pictures before leaving my first Berlinale.
It might have been because it was a Sunday – although when you are in a cinema from 9am until midnight time loses all meaning – or it might have been because it was raining, but the festival was completely emptied out and had an eerie feel to it.
So, I decided to leave the main festival grounds and move towards Alexander Platz, where my next film was going to be shown. I probably should have looked up where the film was going to be held before getting the ticket because I could have gladly avoided the crowd of kids with their families on a Sunday afternoon outing to the movies. Walking up four flights of stairs through a sea of children might possibly have been the worst part of the entire festival.
The film for which I suffered through all of this was Light of my Life, again written and directed by an American actor, this time Casey Affleck.
Through a journey across the woods with a father and his daughter we discover about this world in which most females have recently died due to a fast spreading illness. Women are now both hailed as sacred and chased after. Affleck’s character therefore has to hide his 12-year-old daughter’s true identity under short hair and boy clothes. He knows he will not be able to pull this off for much longer but he cannot withstand the thought of Rag growing up in such an “unbalanced” world. The film is an extreme metaphor of what it means to grow up female in today’s society and what it must look like from the perspective of a father who has to explain the reasoning behind the behaviour of other men. It is a beautiful tale with an indie feel and a brilliant performance by Anna Pniowsky.
And with that my Berlinale was concluded. I am extremely glad I got the chance to take part in it. Film festivals are a celebration of all things film, and the only time in which the community of film lovers comes together as a whole. And I don’t think I will ever have enough of it.