It’s been an electric time at the 69th annual Berlinale.
It’s Berlin’s iconic film festival, with pretentious showboaters and film journalists and hungry auteurs roaming through your favorite glittering modern jolt of horror, Potsdamer Platz, since roundabouts last week.
For this writer, hopping from film to film with my cell phone on airplane mode has been a brilliant way to spend the week. What’s better than full-steam-ahead into many fictional lives and pretending deadlines don’t exist? What’s better than feeling your emotional climax, and then heading back into another dark room to do it all over again? What is truly better than Potsdamer Platz (lol just kidding guys!!!).
But what about you? Don’t you want a piece of the action? Maybe you won’t hobble into a press room and find yourself slack-jawed at the sight of Christian Bale (can personally affirm the weight loss) — but that doesn’t mean you can’t nab a seat in one of the many cinemas around the city and fall into dreamland.
Check out my guide for the rest of the week. The Berlinale is a pretty special affair. Go out and see it.
And if you want to buy tickets and see the rest of the schedule, check it out via this link.
Gospod postoi, imeto i’ e Petrunija (2019)
God Exists, Her Name is Petrunija
This Macedonian coming-of-adult-age movie was a strange mix of quirky and powerful, both nihilistic and hopeful. Its fallible protagonist, the 32-year-old Petrunija, makes an abrupt choice to join a male-only religious ceremony, which kicks up an insane ruckus in her tiny town. Angry with her mother, her life, and her status as a “nobody,” she takes a stand for no reason rather than the only one there normally is — she didn’t really have anything else going on that day.
And dude, I loved Petrunija. She’s a pudgy nobody who’s never had a job, but her minds awash with historical knowledge, and she blares her anger at her mother with the severity of a toddler. Some of the film is incredibly well-shot in rugged Macedonia, and some of the characters are more fleshed out than most, given their small screentime.
37 Seconds (2019)
37 Seconds is a powerful, at-times crushingly sad, yet eternally hopeful film about Yuma, a 23-year-old artist with cerebral palsy. Her mother, a stifling yet up-beat woman, believes Yuma can do nothing without her constant shadow — yet Yuma is on the verge of a sexual awakening, pushing herself to meet a collection of wild and emotionally available people in Tokyo, all with the purest smile, wheeling fast in her wheelchair.
Der Boden unter den Füßen (2019)
The Ground Beneath My Feet
Stark. Silent. Harsh lines and firm expressions. This is the rigid way Valerie Pachner plays protagonist Lola, an Austrian woman living in Germany, with a seemingly too-tight (about to shatter) grip on her business career and life. It’s a provocative film — centered on schizophrenia, sister dynamics, how far we’ll go for the things we think we care about, and the occasionally strange rules of lesbian relations — in which, in this case, one overpowers the other with a seeming commitment to heteronormative values.