Archiv der Kategorie: Bence Fliegauf

Berlinale 2021: Reviews Part 3

By Sascha Krieger

Petite Maman (Competition / France / Director: Céline Sciamma)

When her grandmother dies, 8-year-old Nelly gets to empty her old house with her parents. After the sudden departure of her mother, nelly finds a new companion with whom she has more in common than she expects. Paintes in gentle, slightly fading autumn colours, Petite Maman embarks on a quiet journey of self-discovery and the exploration of what it means to be a family, treading the awkward line between finding one’s individual identity and forging the connection with others. While the dialogue often appears beyond the years of those who speak it, it as well as the crossing of lines between the real and the imagines, the past and the present (or is it the future?) feels entirely natural, being narrated in a loconic, naturalistic way, the camera a close, but somewhat detached observer, a neutral eye, not wondering about what it sees but accepting it as a journey of discovery, a first step towards growing up. A keen observer of childhood, director Céline Sciamma brings tenderness as well as a sceptical distance to her story and protagonists. What blooms in the struggling light of the aging year, is not spectacular but it spans all ages, all lives while never abandoning the personal, individual stories it tells. A fleeting glimps, a deeply moving miniature, a great film in the best sense.

Petite Maman (Image: © Lilies Films)

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Berlinale 2016: Day 4

By Sascha Krieger

24 Wochen  (Competition / Germany / Director: Anne Zohra Berrached)

Astrid is a successful comedian who is expecting her second child from her long-time boyfriend and manager when the news hit: her child will have Down’s Syndrome. Even worse: later it is discovered that the boy will also have a serious heart condition. The film follows their emotional journey as they make decisions, make them again and question them. The film stays excruciatingly close to the characters, the handheld camera focusing on close-ups and extreme close-ups. Julia Jentsch and Bjarne Mädel play the couple and they carry this film in an entirely unspectacular way. At times, 24 Wochen feels almost like a documentary, due to the immediacy of images and acting but also to the presence of real doctors and councillors. True, the film has its flaws. It occasionally goes for the predictable, score and sound are somewhat heavy-handed, highlighting a drama that needs no highlighting. Slow-motion swimming pool shots and extreme close-ups of babies in the womb could also be dispensed with. The film doesn’t need any of this. The quiet struggle to come to terms with what is happening, the slowly opening gap in opinions among the couple, their stubbornness and self-doubt are enough. Most of the time (the rather unsatisfactory final scene notwithstanding), 24 Hours is an at times almost unbearingly intense study in people making a decision about life and death – undiluted, immediate, unfiltered. A harrowing, deeply moving and brutally honest film.

24 Wochen (© Friede Clausz)

24 Wochen (© Friede Clausz)

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Berlinale 2012: Diary Day 8

By Sascha Krieger

My Brother the Devil (Panorama / UK / Director: Sally El Hosaini)

Rachid and Mo are brothers of Egyptian descent living in London’s troubled Hackney district.  Rachid is the gangster, Mo the good little brother who adores the older one. Of course, he tries to be a gangster, too, while Rachid, prompted by a tragic event, wants to get out. As if that wasn’t enough, director Sally El-Hosaini adds a few more twists to make sure there will be a violent escalation. The ending is, of course, optimistic, everyone has learned their lessons and, of course, crime doesn’t pay. Everything about this story is cliché, many dialogues copied straight from the textbook, some plot twists bordering on the ridiculous. Added to this is a well-tested style for films of this subject matter, complete with fast editing and swelling sound whenever something dramatic is about to happen. Inner turmoil is represented by fragmented images, hip hop music is never far (one of the brothers writes rap songs, of course). What keeps this thoroughly uninspired and conventional film a little interesting, at least for a while, are the two actors who lend their roles the credibility and plausibility their director largely denies her film.

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