Joan's Berlinale 2017 Blog - Day 5

Posted 14 February 2017 about Joan's Berlinale 2017 Blog - Day 1 and Joan's Berlinale 2017 Blog - Day 2 and Joan's Berlinale 2017 Blog - Days 3 & 4.

hostagesAs the early mornings and late nights begin to take their toll on the the festival the early mornings and late nights begin to take their toll on the festival attendees, I’m increasingly finding myself surrounded by snoozers fighting their heavy eyelids and dropping heads. It is of course harder to stay awake in some films more than others, and this morning’s early screening of BRIGHT NIGHTS (a German/Norwegian father and son drama) was one of the hardest ever. Feeling twice its 90 minutes, this film dawdles and has very little to say. The representation of Norway is at times more bleak than beautiful and this familial relationship has barely any trace of believability or depth. 

Next up was Sally Potter's new film, THE PARTY, starring Kirsten Scott Thomas as a minister in the opposition cabinet, and playing out in real time as she holds a celebration party for her friends and family. At times slightly farcical, and very theatrical throughout, this is a comedy of the upper-middle-classes and the hypocrisies and secrets between this group of people. There were plenty of big laughs in the cinema and some wonderful performances, but it didn't really connect with me particularly. 

In quick succession I next 'enjoyed' HOSTAGES, a Georgian historical terrorism film; THE MISANDRISTS, a Bruce La Bruce feminist army utopia film; German feminist revenge and criminal behaviour in TIGER GIRL; before ending with STRONG ISLAND -  This was a powerful film in which a documentarian sets out to tell her own family story of a warm unit with high aspirations and sound ideals that are shattered by the murder of their son and the subsequent lack of prosecution for his murderer. STRONG ISLAND is a story of race relations, of institutional racism which is still not acknowledged or dealt with in the criminal justice system and of how a family can continue to live after such trauma and betrayal. Told in a gentle way, with interviews, narration and family photographs used as illustration, this isn't a cheerful story but one of courage and recovery. The filmmaker’s mother is an incredibly inspiring woman, convinced of the injustice her family have endured and it is wonderful to imagine that any one of us could also be as strong. THE MISANDRISTS

joan parsons

Joan Parsons

Senior Programmer and Showcomotion Festival DirectorRead more posts by Joan Parsons

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