CineVue

Film reviews and more

#Berlin #Patrick Gamble

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 from state-controlled communism […]

#Berlin #Rory O’Connor

Berlin 2019: Hellhole review

★★★★☆ In Michael Haneke’s Code Unknown, Juliette Binoche’s character Anne rides the Paris metro and is spat at by a young man with darker skin. In Bas Devos’ Hellhole, Alba Rohrwacher’s character rides the underground in Brussels and looks on as armed police survey her fellow passengers, who also have darker skin. In Haneke’s […]

#Berlin #Sara Merican

Berlin 2019: Varda by Agnès review

★★★★☆ Varda by Agnès contains the best parts of Agnès Varda: work, wit and wisdom. Though it does not reach the heights of her gloriously charming last film, Faces Places, it is still a cathartic, bittersweet swansong from one of cinema’s most endearing and adored auteurs. The film begins most unusually. The title […]

#Berlin #Patrick Gamble

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 and satisfying films. […]

#Berlin #Patrick Gamble

Berlin 2019: The Plagiarists review

★★★★☆ A pair of self-absorbed millennials are forced to confront the lack of originality behind their ideas in Peter Parlow’s The Plagiarists, a dramatic comedy that asks the questions; who has the “right” to access culture and who possesses the authority to speak on its behalf? The film opens with an argument between […]

#Berlin #Patrick Gamble

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 year, 60 million […]

#Berlin #Rory O’Connor

Berlin 2019: Out Stealing Horses review

★★★☆☆ Hans Petter Moland is a peculiarity: a Norwegian born and based filmmaker of unmistakably American genre sensibilities. His 2014 film In Order of Disappearance was a darkly comic western revenge flick with more than a little of the Coen brothers about it – not least in the character played by Stellen Skarsgård, who […]

#Berlin #Patrick Gamble

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 coitus, with what […]

#Berlin #Patrick Gamble

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. Since then, Romanian […]

#Berlin #Patrick Gamble

Berlin 2019: Fourteen review

★★★★☆ Fourteen, the follow-up to former Los Angeles Reader film critic Dan Sallitt’s incest drama The Unspeakable Act, is a subdued drama about a friendship ageing over time. A nuanced portrait of female camaraderie presented in all its messy complexity. Mara (Tallie Medel) and Jo (Norma Kuhling) have been best friends since they […]

#Berlin #Rory O’Connor

Berlin 2019: Our picks of the programme

The 69th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival kicks off this week (7-17 February) with Lone Scherfig’s The Kindness of Strangers, a “modern-day fairytale about hope, forgiveness and love” starring Andrea Riseborough, Bill Nighy, Caleb Landry Jones, Jay Baruchel, Tahar Rahim and Zoe Kazan. Given the announcement in late 2017 that this […]

#Berlin #Patrick Gamble

Berlin 2018: Yardie review

★★★☆☆ Hackney-born actor, DJ and now filmmaker Idris Elba makes his directorial debut with Yardie, a Caribbean twist on the well-worn conventions of the British gangster movie, based on the book by Victor Headley. The film follows a Jamaican drug courier called D (Aml Ameen) who leaves the gang violence of Kingston, Jamaica […]

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Berlin 2018: What Comes Around review

★★★★☆ While Middle Eastern cinema seems to be having a fresh resurgence of late, films that shine a light on ordinary people in these countries remain few and far between. With an industry all but decimated by years of political and religious unrest in the area, many fans of Arab cinema have had […]