Well today is the first full day of screenings here in Berlin. The area around Potsdamer Platz is the nerve centre of the festival, and the nearby Martin Groupis Haus is the hub of the EFM displays and offices.
It is a grey, damp start to the 2016 fest but buzzing with people. I started off at the EFM screening room at MGB for morning showing of: Inside The Cell (France 2015-Thriller). Waiting for the doors to open I bumped into one of the organizers of the Fantasia Film Festival. Small world.
The film is great, and ultimately a timely window into the inner workings and motivations of a terrorist cell in Paris. Well shot and conceived; it follows the story of a journalist who infiltrates a forming cell, and gets in too deep to walk away. Well acted, with nicely drawn out characters;and a surprise appearance from actor Nassim Si Ahmed. He is a HFF alumni ,as he starred in Adrien Costello’s mid-length feature: Night Is Meant For Sleeping, which premiered at the 2015 Hamilton Film Festival.
I would highly recommend Inside The Cell, and I will attach a VOD link:
More later, I am on my way in to see The Devil’s Mistress…
Well, The Devils Mistress(Czech/Germany 2015-Drama) screened and I must say it was a disappointment. A new film by Filip Renc it deals with the real life story of Lida Baarova. She was a Czech film star who went to Germany in 1933 to star in the UFA Studio system as it was being taken over by the Nazi’s. She would also end up having an affair with Joseph Gobbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda. The film never really reaches any kind of coherent style. It is a dull , uneven mess with some poor casting ,and strange with an almost flippant tone at times. I would recommend watching Fassbinders film Veronika Voss for a much more artistic portrayal of a similar subject matter; and it is a really cool riff on Sunset Boulevard to boot:)
The third film of the day was: What We Become ( Sorgenfri;Denmark/Germany 2015-Drama/Horror). What a pleasant surprise this film was, especially as I am not a big fan of anything Zombiesque:) I am partial too a stylish French Tv Series: Les Revenants; and this film had some of the same understated quality to it. It revolves around a small idyllic town that becomes quarantined after the outbreak of a strange virus. The undead do make an appearance halfway through the story,but it works for me. Directed by Bo Mikkelsen and picked up by IFC in the US, no Canada distro as of yet… Recommended.
Last screening starts in about an hour.It is just enough time to finish this cappuccino after a surprisingly great pizza. Italian food 3 days in a row. In Germany.Who knew?
The next film is: The Crew (Braqueres;France 2014-Action/Thriller). This is new film by director Juliem LeClerc and set in contemporary Paris. Having screened at the Busan International Film Festival, it’s now here at Berlin. Let’s see if it can top : Inside The Cell… Tall order.