Joan's Berlinale 2017 Blog - Days 6 & 7

Posted 17 February 2017 about Joan's Berlinale 2017 Blog - Day 1, Joan's Berlinale 2017 Blog - Day 2 and Joan's Berlinale 2017 Blog - Day 5 and Joan's Berlinale 2017 Blog - Days 3 & 4.

berlin syndromeAki Kaurismäki’s THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE was a delight to wake up early for, a funny and humane story about a refugee in Finland and the people he encounters. Typically absurd and with a selection of blues men to accompany the tale, this is bound to do well across Europe. 

THE CASTING OF JON BENET RAMSEY has been causing a stir for a while, and I was not disappointed. A fantastically unique way to bring this well-known mystery to life, using actors to audition to play the roles and interviewing them along the way. All the normal theories are here, that the mother did it, the father did it or the brother did it. Of course, no conclusions are made, but the way in which the case seems to live on in people's memories and suspicions is fascinating. 

Next up, the controversial French film, THIS IS OUR LAND. Definiely ‘not' based on French right wing candidate Marine Le Pen, this is the story of a woman persuaded to stand as Mayor for the right-wing party, helmed by an enigmatic blonde making her own way in politics free from the cloud of her father's influence (sound familiar?). Despite being gripping and entirely watchable, the main issue I had with this film is that the woman seems to have absolutely no principles. At the beginning she states that she doesn't vote, that she works with all members of the community and yet when the fascist rhetoric is in play, she smiles along regardless. Her boyfriend, an apparently reformed neo-Nazi, provides a bizarre, unnecessary, alternative storyline and once again she fails to act when she discovers his past and simply hopes that he has changed. This is a film about the ease at which the far-right can gain ground and the underlying racism and fascism it barely hides. 

Cate Shorthand's BERLIN SYNDROME was always bound to be popular, The Australian director of LORE and SOMERSAULT has a lot to live up to with this new film and including Berlin in the title makes it a sure fire public hit during the festival. This is a totally gripping, terrifyingly tense and very enjoyable thriller. A young tourist is travelling in Berlin, and meets a handsome and charming young man, after a night of passion she wakes up to find that he seems to have forgotten to leave her a key. As with all thrillers it is best to keep most of the plot under wraps but needless to say, this is not your average thriller. It is clever and creepy and I look forward to scaring the people of Sheffield with it too. 

Off to a new cinema next, I've never quite made it to the Cubix before, but as this year the festival schedule seems a bit bizarre, there wasn't much on at convenient times today. It is in fact just a regular multiplex, but it was good to explore. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME is a coming of age / summer romance between Oliver and Elio. Oliver, played by Armie Hammer, is a handsome and very American student who comes to Italy to study with an archaeology Professor, whose son, Elio is finding his own way in the world and learning about himself. Their romance is very convincing and despite this being slightly soppier than my normal taste, I was totally won over. A little longer than needed and with the worst opening credits I've seen in a while, this is a very heart warming and believable love story and I'm glad my trip out was worth it. 

call me by your name

joan parsons

Joan Parsons

Senior Programmer and Showcomotion Festival DirectorRead more posts by Joan Parsons

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