Berlin 2013: ‘Child’s Pose’ wins Golden Bear

The 63rd Berlin Film Festival drew to a close last night with its prestigious annual awards ceremony, rewarding the cream of this year’s crop with the International Jury’s highest accolades. Headed up by The Grandmaster director Wong Kar-wai, and featuring American actor Tim Robbins and acclaimed Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier, the Jury presented the coveted…

Berlin 2013: ‘Jîn’ review

★★★☆☆ From visionary director Reha Erdem (Times and Winds, Kosmos) comes Jîn (2013), an environmental parable that uses the bitter Turkish-Kurdish conflict as a universal metaphor for the destructive disposition of humanity upon a frail and delicate natural world. Narratively influenced by the tender storytelling of fairy tales, Jîn feels like a contemporary adaptation of…

Berlin 2013: ‘End of Time’ review

★★☆☆☆ Sebastian Fritzsch’s End of Time (Endzeit, 2013) is a snapshot of a post-apocalyptic world, fashioned against the same deeply meditative backdrop of 1980s Soviet sci-fi. Yet, despite its melancholic methodology, this languid drama lacks the reflective, sociopolitical punch the sub-genre is renowned for embracing. A brief hand-drawn, stop-motion exposition announces the apocalypse that has…

Berlin 2013: ‘The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas’

★★★★★ Despite the tumultuous Greek economy, the country’s cinema has been going through something of a renaissance of late, with directors Yorgos Lanthimos and Athina Rachel Tsangari fashioning their own surrealist catacomb of absurdity. Elina Psikou’s The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas (I aionia epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeva, 2013) continues this burgeoning trend to become…

Berlin 2013: ‘TPB AFK’ review

★★★☆☆ Founded in 2003 by “a couple of guys in a [internet] chatroom,” peer-to-peer file-sharing website The Pirate Bay was responsible for co-ordinating half of the world’s bit-torrent traffic by 2009. With an estimated 22-25 million users downloading from the site at any one time, TPB is clearly a principal player. It’s claimed that major…

Berlin 2013: ‘Interior. Leather Bar.’ review

★★☆☆☆ Polymath James Franco and director Travis Mathews take it upon themselves to re-imagine the lost 40-minutes of William Friedkin’s controversial drama Cruising (1980) in new film Interior. Leather Bar. (2013). The absent footage was reputedly cut due to its sexually graphic content by the MPAA, so that Friedkin could secure an R-rating upon Cruising’s…

Berlin 2013: ‘The Meteor’ review

★★★★☆ French-Canadian director François Delisle’s fourth film, The Meteor (Le météore, 2013), is an avant-garde exploration of isolation that quite rightly appears in the Berlin Film Festival’s Forum section. Eschewing conventional narrative techniques, the film includes not a single line of dialogue or actual human interaction and instead attempts to delve deep into its characters…

Berlin 2013: ‘Dark Blood’ review

★★★☆☆ “You’re a disturbing young man” says Buffy (Judy Davis) to Boy (River Phoenix). The latter is showing the former around a fallout shelter in the Utah desert, redecorated by him for prosperity as a mystical cave. It’s one of the few completed interior scenes in the long-lost but not forgotten Dark Blood, Dutch auteur…

Berlin 2013: ‘Prince Avalanche’ review

★★☆☆☆ David Gordon Green makes an underwhelming return to his indie roots with this tiresome remake of Icelandic comedy-drama Either Way (Á annan Veg, 2011), re-titled Prince Avalanche (2013) and starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. Alvin (Rudd) and Lance (Hirsch) spend the summer of 1988 remarking the seemingly endless roads that run through a…

Berlin 2013: ‘Shirley: Visions of Reality’ review

★★★☆☆ In Austrian video artist Gustav Deutsch’s Shirley: Visions of Reality (2013), pictures literally speak for themselves, with this experimental film using prominent US painter Edward Hopper’s calculated renderings of American society to tell the story of a fictional actress – a prime example of art imitating art. Recreated through the guise of thirteen of…

Berlin 2013: ‘Camille Claudel 1915’ review

★★★☆☆ Challenging and incredibly divisive, French director Bruno Dumont is renowned for his harrowing and burdensome portraits of modern life, that fall somewhere in-between realist drama and avant-garde otherness. His latest feature, Camille Claudel 1915 (2013), is a biopic about this titular sculptress and remains just as taxing, yet curiously lacks the elegance and provocation…

Berlin 2013: ‘Before Midnight’ review

★★★★☆ American director Richard Linklater returns to the tale of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) that he began seventeen years ago in Before Sunrise (1995) with 2013’s Before Midnight. Set nine years after the events of Before Sunset (2004), this is an eloquently scripted dissection of a now middle-aged couple’s relationship. Reflective in…