Archiv der Kategorie: Radu Jude

Berlinale 2020: Day 10

By Sascha Krieger

Futur Drei (Panorama / Germany / Director: Faraz Shariat)

The freshly crowned winner of this year’s Teddy Award as the Berlinale’s best queer film, Futur Drei follows Parvis, a son of Iranian immigrants living somewhere in a German small town, having to work at a refugee shelter due to some unnamed offense. There he meets Bana snd Amon, brother snd sister, the latter of which he falls in love with. Far from being a problem or even culture clash film, Futur Drei observes the developing relationships up close with a mixture of realism and impressionist tableaux, collages and slowmotion sequences bringing moments of happiness, of letting go, of sometimes illusionary hope to life. All three are wanderers between worlds and identities, leading to shifting, unstable relationships – between the three, Parvis and his doting family, Parvis snd his two „homes“. The film touches on heavy subjects with ease and the slightest of touches as well as some humour – from identity, national as well as sexual, to deportation, from coning out to sexual abuse. It dies so because it relies on the characters, it trusts them, their confusion, their struggles, their courage. Benjamin Radjaipour’s Parvis carries the film, a mercury-like seeker for his own path which leads him to understand that either-or is not the only kind of decision that can be made. As are they all. Without drama, without didactic fervour. After his mother expresses her fear that he feels he doesn’t belong, Parvis says that sometimes he feels he does, that he wants to scream „I am the future“. There or three of these futures here. We’d do well to accept them.

Futur Drei (Image: © Edition Salzgeber, Jünglinge Film)

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Berlinale 2020: Day 8

By Sascha Krieger

Berlin Alexanderplatz (Competition / Germany, Netherlands / Director: Burhan Qurbani)

Burhan Qurbani’s adaptation of Alfred Döblin’s classic takes the story from Depression era Germany to contemporary Berlin. Instead of Döblin’s struggling worker Franz Biberkopf, the film follows Francis, a refugee from West Africa. This makes sense: the social fault lines have shifted, the downtrodden, the exploited, the cast-away, the new proletariat, these are the fleeing, the refugees, the migrant workers, the „illegals“ that end up as drug dealers, fodder for the capitalist underbelly, ammunition for the ideologues. The latter is absent in Qurbani’s film (he dealt with Neonazi violence in other works), the former all to present. Narrated by Jella Haase’s Mieze, it has the sound of a morality play, a dark tale in five acts. It starts in blood red, the sea Francis is released from and his wife perishes in, upside down, just like this world. Red remains a dominant colour, red light shines in the night, the nightmare that is this story of a dienfall. The camera dances around the characters, it floats with them, rises and falls with them. Albrecht Schuch is a demonic Reinhold, a symbol of everything that enslaves, abuses, exploits. He us the white man, wearing white in a pivotal scene, the colonialist partner that becomes the killer he’s always been. The pale lights flicker on Welket Bungué’s proud face, on his bewildered, defiant, hopeful, naive features. True, the learning resistance he’s inherited from Franz, the refusal to see the Reinhold principle for what it is, feels irritating as do the ritual daughter flashbacks adding a way too obvious symbolism where none is needed. As it stands, the film is a nightmarish dance of death, a dark poem in cold nocturnal colours, a universal, superpersonal morality piece, an allegory of our times. Refugees welcome? Sure, but where and as what?

Berlin Alexanderplatz (Image: © Stephanie Kulbach/2019 Sommerhaus/eOne Germany)

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Berlinale 2015: Day 11 and Wrap-up

By Sascha Krieger

Eleven days have a rather annoying quality: they pass by rather quickly. Just now, it seems, you discussed the prospects of this year’s Berlinale, what kind of festival it would be, how high its quality – and already, it is time again to glance back at it as you enter the long, 12-month wait for its next edition. So, let’s do this in the fast, short, fleeting way the festival deserves. To put it shortly: it turned out to be a good one feature the strongest Competition in years and a fine and extremely diverse slate of entries in the other section. Strong women were supposed to be a major feature of the festival and they were – though their more impressive appearances were in the smaller, ordinary ones rather than the large heroine’s tales such as Isabel Coixet’s opening film or Werner Herzog’s artistic disaster Queen of the Desert, easily the Berlinale’s worst film this year. Oh yes, the big names: they tended to disappoint, such as Herzog, Terrence Malick, Wim Wenders (though this reviewer can only gather from hear-say). The Berlinale, however, is a festival of discoveries and this edition was no exception. A large number of first-time directors even in Competition impressed, some of the greatest and most insightful films came from countries such as Guatemala, Chile, Vietnam or Romania. The German film had a mixed year but at least Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria proved that German filmmakers occasionally dare experiment.

Winner of the Golden Bear: Taxi (© Berlinale)

Winner of the Golden Bear: Taxi (© Berlinale)

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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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