Berlinale 2017

February 9th-19th, 2017
Berlin, Germany

Introduction by Joanna Orland
Film reviews by Laura Patricia Jones

The 67th Berlin International Film Festival descended upon the German capital bringing with it a host of celebrities, industry members, films and its reputation as the world’s biggest public festival with a total of 334,471 tickets sold.

This year’s Berlinale International Jury was presided over by director and screenwriter Paul Verhoeven who led the other jury members in awarding the festival’s top honours of Golden and Silver Bears. Eighteen films were vying for the awards in this year’s Competition strand, with Testről és lélekről (On Body and Soul) by Ildikó Enyedi taking the major prize of the Golden Bear for Best Film (see full list of prize-winners).

The 68th Berlin International Film Festival will be held from February 15th to 25th, 2018. In the meantime, here are our reviews from Berlinale 2017:


Directed by Laura Schroeder
Starring Lolita Chammah, Thémis Pauwels, Isabelle Huppert, Charles Müller, Elsa Houben, Marja-Leena Juncker and Luc Schiltz

What happens when three generations of women reunite and fall apart in one turbulent weekend? Barrage is the story of a mother who once pushed to her limits seeks to gain the love and trust of her daughter back, watching from the sidelines as her daughter is raised and controlled by her own mother, bringing back memories of her own strict childhood. Beautifully shot and wonderfully gripping, this evocative second feature from Luxembourger writer-director Laura Schroeder is consuming from beginning to end… read more

Es war einmal in Deutschland … (Bye Bye Germany)

Directed by Sam Garbarski
Starring Moritz Bleibtreu, Antje Traue, Mark Ivanir, Hans Löw, Tim Seyfi, Anatole Taubman, Pal Macsai and Vaclav Jakoubek

Films concerning the Second World War and the Holocaust are relatively common, as are films about the aftermath of war and its effects.  But a story about Holocaust survivors and what happens next? Relatively unheard of – and as a comedy? Whatever next! But that’s exactly what Bye Bye Germany does as Moritz Bleibtrau fronts a post-war, Holocaust-survivor comedy… read more

Final Portrait

Directed by Stanley Tucci
Starring Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Clémence Poésy, Tony Shalhoub, James Faulkner and Sylvie Testud

Based on the true story of Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) inviting young American critic James Lord (Armie Hammer) to sit and have his portrait painted by him in Paris in 1964, Final Portrait is a comedy by Stanley Tucci inspired by Lord’s memoirs of the calamity.

After Lord was told that the portrait would take no more than a few hours to paint, Giacometti states he needs a few more days, days which turn into weeks and cause a series of expensive cancellations and flight changes for Lord. Giacometti overpaints and continually starts his work again, expressing that art can never be finished. Fearing he may be there forever, Lord attempts to find ways to convince Giacometti to finish his work. A situation that begins to feel like a cross between a bromance and a relay race… read more

Golden Exits

Directed by Alex Ross Perry
Starring Emily Browning, Adam Horovitz, Jason Schwartzman, Chloë Sevigny, Mary-Louise Parker, Lily Rabe and Analeigh Tipton

Alex Ross Perry’s Golden Exits feels beautifully intimate and well observed, emerging us into Brooklyn summertime. But as a film about normal people in normal scenarios who don’t really do a fat lot, it can feel a bit of a slog to get through.

The film surrounds middle-aged family archivist Nick (Adam Horovitz), his grumpy wife Alyssa (Chloe Sevigny) and her pessimistic sister Gwen (Mary Louise Parker) who together form quite the miserable trio. Nick’s latest job is archiving the work of the sister’s deceased father for which he takes on the beautiful young Australian Naomi (Emily Browning) to be his assistant.  Naturally this causes Alyssa to feel her husband could be unfaithful. In the meantime, Naomi reaches out to family friend Buddy (Jason Schwartzman) for company as she has no friends in the city… read more

The Dinner
Directed by Oren Moverman
Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, Rebecca Hall and Chloë Sevigny

I arrived for The Dinner not sure of what to expect. I knew it was based on a bestselling book (always a good start) and had a stellar cast – Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall, Richard Gere, Chloë Sevigny and Steve Coogan – five very talented actors, so I was very excited!

What I actually got was disappointment, confusion and sheer bewilderment – over 120 minutes of my life that I wasn’t going to get back. This isn’t to say that individual scenes and the characters themselves weren’t of merit, but everything else was mashed together likely a badly served up, erm, dinner. It was like making your way through a buffet and then when it comes to dessert, they bring out another tray of sausage rolls so you’re stuffed with no real closure… read more

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