F'OLITIQUE "Bears" for Berlinale 2020
Updated: Jul 11
On March 1, the jury of the Berlin Festival announced its favorites. Today F'OLITIQUE is giving its awards to the most spectacular films of the festival.
#1 "Undine" by Christian Petzold
Director Christian Petzold seems to have found a new muse: for the second time, instead of the restrained Nina Hoss, he films the mysterious - and slightly insane - Paula Beer. With the change of heroine, Petzold changed the intonation to melodramatic, unexpected for the independent German cinema.
Undine is an urbanist, but makes guiding tours not through the streets, but through cardboard mock-ups illustrating the history of the restoration of urban development. Petzold's Berlin does not vibrate, it flows, envelops and fascinates. The camera flans around the artificial city in the exhibition hall and just as carefully watches the beginning of a real, reverent and tactile, love between Undine and diver Christoph. Under water, in a fabulous gloomy space among water-plants, they will also meet. But the mermaid legend has an unfortunate ending. According to the precepts of Petzold and the “Berlin School of Cinema”, a new life built on the past cannot be careless.
#2 "Berlin Alexanderplatz" by Burhan Qurbani
The three-hour city epic confidently was claimed to get the main prize of the festival, the Golden Bear. If the movie won, it could manifest new perspectives for German cinema. But the victory did not happen: perhaps the reason is that the political agenda was presented here with feelings, but neatly.
The director transferred the action of the novel by Alfred Döblin from 1929 to the present day. Franz (in a new interpretation - African Francis) begins the journey with a metaphorical plunge into the red waves, and then goes to the streets of Berlin, gaining respect from drug dealers.
The criminal world is pulsating under energetic electronic beats. Full of anxiety and temptation, clubs are flooded with cold neon magenta, meanwhile shelters and prisons blink in red and blue. The most stylish visual accent is robbers bursting into the darkness of the city streets in clown masks with glowing neon eyes and smiles.
Political statements in German cinema are already in abundance. And this film adds fresh visual quotes to those manifests.
#3 "Time to Hunt" by Yoon Sung-Hyun
The action of this Korean movie takes place in the near future, but the feeling of anti-utopia here is achieved not with the help of scenery and special effects, but with camera work and music. The second half of the film is a brutal city skirmish in the spirit of “Heat” by Michael Mann. It pops your ears because of shots; the steam coming from the sewer burns; in the muddy puddles the clear sky is reflected; when the psycho in bulletproof vest shoots his partner, you feel every bullet. Everyone was waiting for the Koreans to bring something art-house to Berlinale, like the new "Parasite", but they brought an immersive blockbuster with the actor from "Parasite".
#4 "There Is No Evil" by Mohammad Rasoulof
The main prize of the 70th Berlin Film Festival was received by Iranian director Mohammad Rasulof's movie "There Is No Evil" - a film about the death penalty, shot by a political dissident.
The theme of the work is hot-burning for Iran and soothingly harmless for Europe: the death penalty. What more do you need? The style and language of this drama, composed of four short stories, ideally meets the festival compromise: this is a traditional psychological narrative, distinct in presentation and noble in essence of the statement that in the eyes of the jury atone for any flaws.
#5 "DAU. Natasha" by Ilya Khrzhanovsky and Jekaterina Oertel
This is one of many stories of the long-suffering project of Ilya Khrzhanovsky, originally planned as a biopic about the life of the great physicist Landau, and now has grown into a gigantic performance with a total duration of 700 hours and covering, seems, all the social layers and sins of the USSR and Russia.
The question that “Dau” embeds in contemporary cultural discourse by its very existence: Where is the real emotion, and where is the fiction? Where are the pre-planned actions, beats, swearing, sex, and where is improvisation or a violation of creative ethics in general? The actors of this gigantic project, as you know, were so immersed in the atmosphere that at the press conference they themselves could not give an exact answer. Should they?