Berlin 2019: Nadav Lapid’s Synonyms wins Golden Bear

With Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick passing on the baton to former Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian from next year, no one knew quite what to expect from this year’s competition strand. In the end, it was very much business as usual, with the Golden Bear for Best Film eventually going Continue Reading

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Berlin 2019: So Long, My Son review

★★★★☆ Sixth generation director Wang Xiaoshuai returns to Berlin with a decade-spanning family drama set against some of the most turbulent events in recent Chinese history. At just over three-hours, So Long, My Son is an emotionally wrenching film that’s epic in scope but intimate in feeling. Depicting China’s difficult transition Continue Reading

Berlin 2019: Bait review

★★★★☆ Bait joins a recent spate of British films that have abandoned the cities to depict a countryside in crisis. But, unlike social-realist dramas like The Levelling, Dark River and God’s Own Country, Mark Jenkin’s wonderfully weird debut subverts the kitchen sink template to create one of Berlin’s most original Continue Reading

Berlin 2019: Earth review

★★★★☆ Highlighting the significant impact of mining and large-scale construction on the planet’s ecosystem, the latest film from documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter Earth is a powerful example of politically charged landscape filmmaking. A brief introduction underlines the extent to which mankind is now the most destructive force on the planet. Every Continue Reading

Berlin 2019: Öndög review

★★★★☆ A beguiling drama laced with dry humour and lashings of spiritualism, Wang Quan’an’s Competition entry Öndög possesses a mysterious grandeur that should ensure it doesn’t leave the Berlinale empty-handed. Concerned with the mysteries surrounding life and death, Öndög opens with the discovery of a dead body and ends in Continue Reading

Berlin 2019: Monsters review

★★★☆☆ Following in the footsteps of Adina Pintilie’s controversial Golden Bear winner Touch Me Not, Marius Olteanu’s Monsters is a tragic saga that explores the social taboos surrounding sexual identity and female emancipation in modern-day Romania. It’s been over a decade since Tudor Giurgiu released the lesbian romance Love Sick. Continue Reading