Joan's Berlinale 2017 Blog - Day 1

Posted 10 February 2017

Berlinale 2017 - Day 1

gods own country

As per my tradition, the first film I get to see is a total stinker! A Jim Carey, playing Polish, crime story very loosely adapted from a real case, but with additional shots of women being tortured- which of course the film didn't need. Never mind though, at least I'm up and running 

Next up was a real treat.  I've been reading about Yorkshire made GOD'S OWN COUNTRY for a while now and after it made big waves at Sundance and was picked up for UK distribution, I just couldn't miss it. Frequently described as Yorkshire's BROKE BACK MOUNTAIN, this story of life and love on a farm is tender, believable and beautiful. With elements of the performance reminding me of the powerful gazes across the bar in MOONLIGHT, I will really look forward to bringing this film to Sheffield. 

A quick dash to a Marie-Curie biopic that felt like a bit of a miss-fire, blending talk of radium with nudity and dream sequences was all a bit confusing. 

In 2011 when we skyped RED DOG in Australia, I was deliriously happy. The film was great, people loved it and pretty much everyone cried. When a prequel was announced, I was already on board. Telling the back story of the early life of the wonderful dog, Red, when he was known as Blue.  RED DOG: TRUE BLUE doesn't quite live up to my expectations but I enjoyed it all the same. The puppy was so cute that I gasped, and there are some great jokes throughout. 

THE NILE RIVER INCIDENT is another title that’s received the Sundance buzz and it didn't disappoint. Set in the days before the 2011 revolution in Egypt, this is a story of corrupt police, murder, investigations, immigration and most of all tension. The nervousness, threat and dread is almost palpable throughout and as pretty much everyone is a wrong un’ in some way, it's hard to know where the story will go. A brilliant film to illustrate the melting pot that is Egyptian society and the boiling point that it had reached in 2011, this would make a great companion piece to CRASH, another Tahir Square drama told from a totally different angle, which opens in the UK this Spring.

Finally, for tonight I headed off to the opening of the Panorama section and THE WOUND, widely regarded as South Africa's BROKE BACK MOUNTAIN (I'm sensing a theme in marketeers approach here). This is a story of a group of young men, some of whom are cared for by the others after being circumcised. A society in which homosexuality cannot be allowed is at the heart of this film and it is tense and angry in its repression. At times a little clumsy, this is an interesting insight into a ritual that is in decline and the culture that surrounds it. 


joan parsons

Joan Parsons

Senior Programmer and Showcomotion Festival DirectorRead more posts by Joan Parsons


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