Dominic Ambrose Blogblot

of words: narrative, film and non-fiction

Berlinale 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Back from Berlin.
The Berlinale film festival was great: full of energy and new directions. It takes place mostly in and around Potsdamerplatz, and you have the feeling that the city has been dedicated to this one endeavor for the week. Getting tickets to films was a challenge, but there were so many interesting things to see that even second choices turned out to be brilliant finds.
There were some clunkers, which I won’t mention but the following were really worthwhile:

Klopka, (the Trap) by director Srdan Golubovic. A suspenseful story in the Hitchcock style, about a family in Belgrade with a fateful dilemma. It was my favorite at the festival.

Der Rote Elvis, (The Red Elvis) documentary by Leopold Grün. About Dean Reed, an American rock and roll singer with a social conscience, who first goes to Chile in support of Salvador Allende’s campaign and reforms, and then settles in East Germany, to become the darling of that cynical regime and suffering society. An excellent introduction to a fascinating American.

Armin. Directed by Ognjen Svilicic. the story of a Bosnian father and son who travel to Zagreb in Croatia to audition for a German film about Bosnia. It very effectively sets the viewer thinking about western attitudes toward the former Yugoslavia region.

Cum mi-am petrecut sfirsitul lumii, (The Way I spent the end of the World). Directed by Catalin Mitulescu. A story about a teenaged girl who is searching for a future in the darkness of the last days of Ceausescu’s regime, in 1989.

A Pair of Tights. A twenty minute silent film from 1928, directed by Hal Yates. The tights in the title are two tightwad dates that don’t want to take their girlfriends to dinner. It is really delightful to see these people acting so naturally, there is an immediacy to this film that is amazing, given its age. It is full of slapstick comedy that actually works.

Napule… e Niente Cchiù. Silent film from 1928, directed by Eugenio Perego. Also seems amazingly modern, though a bit less naturally acted than the Tights. The characters are fun to watch, the rivalry between the two women is carried out to a perfectly ridiculous climax that works great, and the man they are fighting over is appropriately sexy, in the Rudolph Valentino mold.

And beyond that, the city, which looks happier and healthier and more interesting every time I see it. Unfortunately, there is now food at every turn, and I gained four pounds, almost two kilos!

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May 4, 2009 - Posted by | cinema | , ,

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