Berlinale 2018 Competition

In this year’s competition, I couldn’t really relate to any of the movies’ characters or plots recently. In Cédric Kahn‘s “La Prière”, a bunch of ex-junkies try to start a new life in a monastery. During all the prayers and praises to god in the movie, I couldn’t stop asking myself if hardcore junkies who have used heroin and other drugs for at least six years, can really find solace and new strength in the hands of god. Was this movie sponsored by the catholic church maybe?

Figlia Mia
Figlia mia | Daughter of Mine
Wettbewerb 2018
von: Laura Bispuri
Sara Casu, Alba Rohrwacher, Valeria Golino
© Vivo film / Colorado Film / Match Factory Productions / Bord Cadre Films / Valerio Bispuri

Laura Bispuri‘s “Figlia Mia” is about a 10-year old girl who finds out about her real mother who gave her away to a friend. And her real mother is oh so different than the woman who has brought her up. When the girl climbs into a tiny little hole to find a supposedly valuable treasure and then comes back out, both women seem to have won her over finally. That over-the-top kitschy moment contrasts with the beautiful landscape of the Sardinian countryside.

The Swedish-British “The Real Estate” turned out to be “the real pain in the ass”. A woman in her late 60s inherits an apartment building and then tries to sell it which is not that easy because some of her relatives have been working as the janitors for the building. She later uses weapons against them and sets a full floor on fire. What an exaggerated and superfluous way to show the current problems on the residential market. The shitty techno music only adds to the amazingly uncharismatic story and its actors. The was not an iota of suspense here because every moment, every move of the characters were intimidatingly predictable.

Tage in Quiberon | 3 Days in Quiberon
Wettbewerb 2018
von: Emily Atef
Marie Bäumer
© Rohfilm Factory / Prokino / Peter Hartwig

Benoit Jacquot‘s “Eva” is the latest movie starring Isabelle Huppert who portrays a classy, elderly prostitute and meets a young man who accidentally turns into an author and more or less falls for her, not only because he is trying to include everything he experiences with her into his next play. When his girlfriend finds out that something is happening, she even makes up a story and starts to lie which is the moment in the movie when I really had the urge to exit immediately. Nobody with a decent heart and mind would stand such an awful behavior. Frau Huppert also doesn’t really convince as Eva.

Alexey German‘s “Dovlatov”, about the Russian authors Sergei Dovlatov and Joseph Brodsky, describes the early 70s Russian desolation and gloominess of the young intellectual people who can’t really find a way to be published in the mainstream, streamlined, communist party-compliant media. It is a lot of dialogue in this movie, I mean really a lot and there are a couple of moments when the movie lost all credibility for me. The young intellectuals often celebrate in each other’s homes with live music which of course is jazz (yeah, what else) and the singer is so incredibly pathetic and over-ambitious that she just ruins the whole plot.

I kinda liked Emily Atef‘s “3 Days In Quiberon” about an interview with a magazine reporter with actress Romy Schneider which took place shortly before her death and at a time when she left Germany to re-start in France. I think Marie Bäumer really did an amazing job but still, some questions remain. It’s obvious that a lot of research was done for this very short and intense interview sequences, but it is still hard for me to imagine that a journalist could really ask so many overtly manipulating questions and make harsh assumptions that the person who is interviewed is still playing the game. The black-and-white shooting and the focus on the hotel room make this a sort of intimate play which for the most part was pretty interesting to watch.

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