Patrick Gamble went in search of memorable moments and motifs in amongst the panoply of great work screening as part of the 2021 online edition of Berlinale.
From the Berlinale.
In 2020, Mohammad Rasoulof’s There Is No Evil became the third Iranian film in the past decade to win Berlin’s top prize, following Jafar Panahi’s Taxi Tehran and Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation. A critical drama about state-sanctioned murder, Rasoulof was handed a one-year prison sentence for what the Iranian authorities dubbed as “ propaganda against the system”.
I wrote a capsule review of Charlie Kaufman‘s I’m Thinking of Ending Things for this list:
Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons star as a couple on the brink of a messy break-up in Charlie Kaufman’s latest inquiry into the mysteries of the human mind. The film follows the pair on a journey through the topography of their own memories, but the visual inconsistencies and shifting timelines of this psychological thriller only highlight the potential for horror lurking inside us all.
ALT/KINO is covering this year’s online iteration of 25FPS via a series of correspondences between Patrick Gamble and Ben Nicholson about programmes in the festival’s competition strand. In our third instalment, Patrick writes to Ben about films in the ‘Dreamscapes’ programme.
ALT/KINO is covering this year’s online iteration of 25FPS via a series of correspondences between Patrick Gamble and Ben Nicholson about programmes in the festival’s competition strand. First up, Patrick reports back on the opening programme, ‘Escapes.’
Lisbon is a city with a history of resilience. So, it was hardly a surprise when IndieLisboa announced it would be one of the first festivals to go ahead with live audiences following the coronavirus outbreak. When an earthquake devastated the Portuguese capital in 1755, Prime Minister Sebastião de Melo was quick to address the disaster. “What now?” he declared. “We bury the dead and feed the living!” His actions averted further deaths from famine and disease, and this decisiveness was eviden...
From climate change and Brexit, to disagreements about how to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the world feels more polarized than ever. The rise of social media has allowed facts and data to flow more freely, but it has also seen an increase in misinformation and the emergence of fake news. For a filmmaker like Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, whose work exposes the reality of life in the West Bank, it poses the question: how can you instigate change in a media-saturated world dominated by cynicism and eroding trust?
Named after a genre of cinema popular towards the end of the 1890s, in which a cameraman was mounted to the front of a moving vehicle to give the illusion of movement, Stephen Broomer’s Phantom Ride (2019) transports us to a past that feels irrevocably and painfully lost.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, this year the Berlinale’s independently organized Forum sidebar put together a retrospective of films derived from its inaugural edition. Bringing the Forum’s 1971 program back to the big screen saw films like David Larcher’s Mare’s Tail (1968), Howard Alk’s The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971), and Alexandr Medvedkin’s Happiness (1935) screen alongside new works from directors like Radu Jude, James Benning, and Laura Huertas Millán.
Adapted from Jerzy Kosiński’s 1965 novel, Václav Marhoul’s The Painted Bird comes at the viewer with its talons bared; an affront that asks audiences to stomach a vision of war marked by acts of barbarism and sexual deviancy. The film follows an unnamed boy of Jewish heritage (Petr Kotlár), as he embarks on a nightmarish voyage through an austere and implacable wilderness, where characters cross paths like ghosts, and violence strikes as suddenly as lightning.
Imran Perretta’s The Destructors borrows its title from Graham Greene’s short story about a gang of boys who set out to demolish a house that survived the Blitz. Born to Bangladeshi parents, Perretta combines his own experience of growing up during the War on Terror with Greene’s tale of postwar disaffection to explore the trauma inflicted on Muslim bodies by the UK’s counterterrorism laws. In 2003, the UK introduced Prevent. Originally implemented to dissuade vulnerable youths from joining e...
Feature: 2019 Impressions - Jeremy Deller’s Everybody in the Place and Mark Leckey’s O’Magic Power of Bleakness
For Kinoscope’s second annual “Impressions” feature, I wrote about Jeremy Deller’s Everybody in the Place and Mark Leckey’s O’Magic Power of Bleakness, and how they highlighted the importance of creating spaces where solidarity and camaraderie can be fostered.
I voted in Kinoscope's 'best of the 2010s' poll. My individual list is below:
1. Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming-liang, 2013)
2. Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
3. Hard to Be a God (Aleksey German, 2013)
4. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, and Chrstine Cynn, 2012)
5. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
6. O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman, 2016)
7. Song of Granite (Pat Collins, 2017)
8. Old Dog (Pema Tseden, 2011)
9. Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
10. Ray & Liz (Richard Billingham, 2018)
A tale of jealousy and obscure desires, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning has all the qualities you’d expect from a murder-mystery; but look closely and you’ll find something simmering below the surface. Adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story Barn Burning, Lee’s long-awaited follow-up to 2010's Poetry shifts from romance to tragedy before settling on something far more sinister. Observing the conflict that arises when economic desperation and bruised masculinity collide, Burning is an emotionally ruthless portrait of the widening class divide that seethes and smoulders with an insidious rage.
As the curtain fell on the 23rd edition of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Anshul Chauhan’s Kontora walked away with the Grand Prix prize. However, the most powerful films at this year’s event were those haunted by spectres of the past – from Rene van Pannevis’ FIPRESCI Prize winner Looted, where the death of Britain’s fishing industry looms like a pregnant storm cloud, to Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter’s Space Dogs, in which the ghost of a canine cosmonaut haunts the streets of Moscow.