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Universal Language :: A Whimsical Fusion of Tehran and Winnipeg
By converting his drab hometown into an exotic land filled with nostalgia, Matthew Rankin seems to be seeking out the universal language of cinema itself. He quits his meaningless job in a Québecois government office and sets out..
EDINBURGH 2024 :: “A SHRINE” Selected for 77th Edinburgh IFF
The festival will feature the world premiere of “A SHRINE” directed by Abdolreza Kahani. This film, a collaborative production between Canada, Iran, and France, is set to compete for the highly esteemed Sean Connery Prize..
KARLOVY VARY 2024 Proxima :: Review: Nothing in Its Place
How far are people willing to go for their political beliefs, and how much can the ideology of a group influence the behavior of an individual? Nothing in Its Place holds up a mirror to more than one revolution..
KARLOVY VARY 2024 :: Noaz Deshe :: Director of Xoftex :: Interview
"I wanted to document the progression of the mental state of stateless people in a refugee camp." The director tells us more about his new film, in which he portrays refugees filming satirical sketches and preparing for a zombie..
KARLOVY VARY 2024 Competition :: Review: Xoftex
Xoftex is the name of a Greek refugee camp for Syrian and Palestinian asylum seekers. To pass the time, camp inhabitants such as Nasser make satirical short films and prepare to make a zombie film. Noaz Deshe explains how he..
Shanghai IFF 2023 :: A Review of 'Cause of Death: Unknown'
The first film by Ali Zarnegar receives an overall acceptable score. The writer and director's extensive experience, including his frequent involvement in short cinema, writing.., has had a positive impact on the film's quality..
Bahar Lellahi :: 40-year-old Iranian Female filmmaker Murdered in Prison
Bahar Lellahi, an Iranian director and screenwriter from the Northern city of Amol and a resident of Tehran, was killed at the Islamic Republic's detention center and was secretly buried in a cemetery near the city of Karaj..
Dead of Night :: A standout feature by Farhad Vilkiji
“Dead of Night”, a standout feature by Farhad Vilkiji, marking his directorial debut, delves into the struggles of an Iranian intellectual navigating political and personal challenges, promising a poignant exploration of human resilience..
BERLINALE 2024 Encounters :: Interview :: Matías Piñeiro
Matías Piñeiro’s experimental, hour-long film 'You Burn Me', an interesting work based on texts by Cesare Pavese and Sappho about the relationship between two women, was included in this year’s Berlinale Encounters program..
Super Size Me :: A terrific cheeky stunt :: small wonder Morgan Spurlock never matched it
'Super Size Me' director Morgan Spurlock dies aged 53. 'Super Size Me' was his masterpiece – a documentary which really did have an effect and challenged the way we think about food..
Cannes 2024 review :: 'The Seed of the Sacred Fig' - A powerful rebellion in the name of art & freedom
Mohammad Rasoulof examines Iran's contemporary tensions through the internalization of turmoil by a family of four. It's a suspenseful and bold call to arms for those..
Sean Baker’s ‘Anora’ Wins Palme d’Or at 2024 Cannes Film Festival
Sean Baker’s Anora has won the Palme d’Or at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, which wrapped Saturday night (May 25). It marks Baker’s second time in Competition, following 2021’s Red Rocket..
Cannes 2024 :: ‘Grand Tour’ :: Review :: In Search of Lost Time
Closer in spirit to an essay film like "Sans Soleil" than to a conventional love story, this lushly abstract travelogue is as gorgeous as it is impenetrable. Miguel Gomes’ Beguiling Colonial Romance Travels from Saigon to Shanghai in..
Cannes 2024 :: ‘All We Imagine as Light’ :: A Sensual Triumph
India’s First Cannes Competition Title in 30 Years Is a Sensual Triumph. Payal Kapadia captures the way two women in Mumbai move through the world with bracing intimacy. It is both dreamlike and like waking up from a dream..
Cannes 2024 :: Mohammad Rasoulof Speaking to IndieWire
Rasoulof Made It to Cannes for ‘Seed of the Sacred Fig,’ but His Perilous Journey Out of Iran Isn’t Over. "I consider making works of art as my right, and there’s no reason why I wouldn’t fight for this right."..
Cannes 2024 :: Donald Trump Origin Tale ‘The Apprentice’ Gets 11-Minute Ovation At Its Cannes World Premiere
The Trumps were on the red carpet this evening at the Cannes Film Festival — sort of — as Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice world premiered in competition. There was lots of hugs..
Cannes Film Festival 2024 ::
Francis Ford Coppola Finally Talks Megalopolis

The Oscar-winning legend has been the subject of deafening rumors about his self-financed new epic. For the first time in public, he finally got to tell his story...
UPDATE :: I exist to narrate :: Mohammad Rasoulof writes about his forced departure from Iran
By publishing a post on his personal Instagram page, he announced his forced departure from Iran. His writing, which you can read here, is a testament to the many artists who were driven..
The Phoenix (Simorgh) is finally online!
The Phoenix (Simorgh) is a short film Written & Directed by Nora Niasari. It follows Mr Farid, an exiled Iranian actor, who teaches drama to reluctant asylum seeker teenagers inside an Australian Detention Centre..
Films Boutique boards Mohammad Rasoulof’s Cannes Competition title
Berlin-based Films Boutique has secured world sales rights to Mohammad Rasoulof’s 'The Seed Of The Sacred Fig' ahead of its premiere in Competition at Cannes, and has closed a distribution deal in France..
Nika's Last Breath :: BBC World Service Documentaries
Secret document says Iran security forces molested and killed teen protester. An Iranian teenager was sexually assaulted and killed by three men working for Iran's security forces, a leaked document understood to have been..
Cannes Film Festival 2024 :: Michel Hazanavicius & Mohammad Rasoulof Movies in Competition Lineup
Cannes Film Festival has added some international titles to Competition Lineup: Hazanavicius‘ 'The Most Precious of Cargoes' and Rasoulof‘s 'The Seed of the Sacred Fig'..
'Biological Terror?!' :: Speculations about Alidoosti's unknown disease
According to some sources, Taraneh told her colleagues that she passed out during her interrogation by IRGC intelligence agents and then, realized that she was injected with an unknown ampoule, after which she felt dizzy..
Taraneh Alidoosti's mother: Pray for her! Her disease is severe!
The celebrated Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti's mother has announced that her daughter is suffering from an illness of "unknown origin". Earlier, there were reports that Taraneh Alidoosti was ill and hospitalized..
‘The Apprentice’ :: A dive into the underbelly of the American empire
The drama charts a young Donald Trump’s ascent to power through a Faustian deal with the influential right-wing lawyer and political fixer Roy Cohn. A first look at the forthcoming film from Ali Abbasi, set to premiere at Cannes..
STOCKFISH 2024 :: Review: Tove’s Room
A new biopic about Danish poet Tove Ditlevsen and her tortured marriage to the sadistic news editor Victor Andreasen. We’re in Copenhagen in 1969, and the entire action of this tense, neurotic – yet very intriguing – kammerspiel takes place..
American Fiction :: Movie Review
Jeffrey Wright gives a knockout performance in this edgy, Oscar-nominated comedy. Cord Jefferson marries broad humour with affecting familial dysfunction and biting observations on race. This season’s edgiest comedy arrives with richly deserved Oscar nominations for..
CPH:DOX 2024 :: Review: Silent Trees
Zwiefka – whose last film, Vika! has enjoyed a healthy festival run and is still travelling the world – now trains her lens on a completely different topic: the story of a Kurdish refugee girl stranded in the no man’s land between Belarus and Poland...
CPH:DOX 2024 :: Review: Immortals
Immortals is a dystopian film that turns into an ode to fragility, and it shows the contrasting feelings of those who allowed themselves the luxury of hoping that David might kill Goliath. Maja Tschumi’s film is built around the hopes and broken dreams, but most of all the..
Exiled Iranian Filmmakers Call Out AMPAS Over Omission
Exiled Iranian Filmmakers (IIFMA) has written to AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) to protest the omission of murdered Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui from the In Memoriam segment of the Academy Award..
Oscar 2024 :: How to Watch Every 2024 Oscar-Nominated Movie
It’s time to fire up your Letterboxd, roller-skate out of the real world, and head off to movie land. The 2024 Oscar nominations have been officially announced, giving you a perfect watchlist for catching up on all the films you..
Berlin: Indie Juries Pick :: ‘Sex’, ‘Dying’ and ‘Cake’
Matthias Glasner's German family epic 'Sterben' (Dying), Iranian feature 'My Favourite Cake,' and Dag Johan Haugerud's Norwegian drama 'Sex' picked up multiple awards from the independent juries at the 74th Berlinale..
BERLINALE 2024 Awards :: Mati Diop’s Dahomey bags the Golden Bear
The 74th Berlinale (15-25 February) was brought to a close tonight by the traditional awards ceremony at the Berlinale Palast, which saw the triumph of Mati Diop’s Dahomey, the winner of this year’s Golden Bear..
BERLINALE 2024 :: Competition Review: Architecton
Several thousand years of architectural history are woven together in Kossakovsky's visionary blockbuster, which almost without dialogue - but with images as sharp as flint and a soundtrack as massive as a pillow - is a total cinematic..
BERLINALE 2024 :: Review: Afterwar
An immersive and uncategorisable film, shot over a period of 15 years, was made in close collaboration with its four Kosovar protagonists. A dark chapter in modern European history draws to a close. Haunted by memories of the past and caught in an uncertain state of limbo..
BERLINALE 2024 Competition :: Review: My Favourite Cake
All eyes were on writer-directors Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha – or, rather, their absence – at the world premiere of their new film, My Favourite Cake, which has just made its debut in the Competition section of..
NAVALNY (2022) :: Navalny’s Plight in a Russian Prison Highlighted
The fact that this documentary movie involves one of the most brazen incidents of state sponsored assassination in memory means this is a unique document of a very singular man. After almost being poisoned to death in 2020..
CPH:DOX 2024 :: The line-up of the 2024 CPH:DOX competitions
CPH:DOX unveils the films nominated across all six award categories. The selection features 66 films in competition, among which 47 are world premieres, 17 international premieres and 2 European premieres..
BERLINALE 2024 :: ‘My Favourite Cake’ Directors Deliver Powerful Message From Iran
‘My Favourite Cake’ Directors Deliver Powerful Message From Iran After Authorities Banned Travel to Berlinale: ‘Like Parents Forbidden From Looking at Their Newborn Child’..
Farshad Hashemi :: Director of 'Me, Maryam, the Children and 26 Others' :: Interview
“I can’t predict the future, but I know this is just the beginning”. The winner of Göteborg’s Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award plays with fact and fiction in his debut film..
BERLINALE 2024 :: EXCLUSIVE :: Trailer for Berlinale Panorama entry 'My Stolen Planet'
The German-Iranian co-production is a diary-style narrative by Farahnaz Sharifi, from her childhood to the 2022 Women, Life, Freedom uprising..
Farshad Hashemi's film wins The Ingmar Bergman Debut Award at Goteborg Film Festival
The Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award goes to Farshad Hashemi's feature debut 'Me, Maryam, The Children And 26 Others'. The prize consists of a stay at The Bergman Estate on..
‘Eternal’ :: Rotterdam Review :: A soulful exploration of love and regret
How can you commit to the future when life on earth seems so finite? It is a question that haunts the central character in writer/director Ulaa Salim’s admirably offbeat romance Eternal..
IFFR 2024 Tiger Competition :: 'Me, Maryam, the Children and 26 Others'
Farshad Hashemi's feature debut, Me, Maryam, the Children and 26 Others, which has just world-premiered in IFFR's Tiger Competition, will inevitably inspire associations with Iranian cinema's tradition of intertwining..
Berlinale Calls for Iran to Allow Directors to Attend Festival
The Berlin Film Festival has called on Iran to allow directors Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha to leave the country to attend the world premiere of their new film My Favorite Cake..
"My Favourite Cake" :: to premiere in the Berlinale Competition
Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha’s My Favourite Cake to premiere in the Berlinale Competition. Last year, the pair were banned from travelling in relation to their film..
Asghar Farhadi, Iranian filmmaker :: “I saw how powerful women are”
In a new interview with french newspaper Le Monde, Farhadi reveals he won't be making any new films in Iran, for the time being, as an act of resistance against the regime..
IPADOC 2024 :: Review :: Son of the Mullah
Nahid Persson pays tribute to Rouhollah Zam, an exiled Iranian activist and journalist with a tragic fate, with a moving film about the pursuit of regime opponents. “I had a beautiful life before I left Iran”..
‘Gunda’ :: Berlin Review :: Intensely moving and quite genuinely unique
Anyone who never thought they could imagine the feelings of an animal will have their mind changed here. Viktor Kossakovsky’s extraordinary film is every bit as resonant as Bresson’s ’Balthazar’ or Bela Tarr’s ’Turin Horse’..
BERLINALE 2024 :: “Sons” by Gustav Möller :: Selected for main Competition
BERLIN. “The Guilty” director Gustav Möller's prison drama “Sons” will be celebrating the World premiere in the International Competition strand of the Berlinale as the first Danish-language film in eight years..
BERLINALE 2024 Competition :: Encounters
The Berlinale (15-25 February) has announced the full line-ups of its Competition and Encounters sections. Twenty films will vie for the Golden and Silver Bears, including two debut features..
La chimera :: A fairy tale with a social conscience and plenty of humor
Alice Rohrwacher's film is clever, ambitious, and funny throughout, but it also works as an intelligent meditation on our attitudes toward life, love, and death. Get used to her name, because she will be sticking around well after..
Iran: PEN International Calls for investigation over Baktash Abtin’s tragic death
PEN International holds the Iranian authorities fully responsible for the death of the prominent writer, poet, and filmmaker Baktash Abtin and calls for an urgent investigation into..
GOLDEN GLOBES 2024 :: 'Anatomy of a Fall' wins two Golden Globes
Justine Triet’s film shone bright at the ceremony, at which the main winners were Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer and Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, which also boast European participation..
Tótem :: A dazzling, vibrant child’s-eye view of jubilation and tragedy
Lila Avilés’s latest film is filtered largely through the perspective of a seven-year-old girl who experiences the ups and downs of life in a day with her big and beautiful family.. A co-production between Mexico, Denmark and..
Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers Is a Holiday Triumph
Alexander Payne's new film The Holdovers, starring Paul Giamatti, is the kind of wonderful comedy-drama we used to take for granted. Today it feels like a cinematic miracle. In Payne’s work, one individual’s failings..
Film Orgs call on Iranian authorities to drop charges against two movie directors
Some 30 film organizations, festivals and professionals have signed an open letter calling on Iranian authorities to immediately drop all charges against directors Maryam Moghadam..
Absence :: Ali Mosaffa's mystical thriller
An Iranian man, while investigating into his father's youth in Prague, finds himself in the shoes of a third man who is almost dead and happens to be his half-brother. Absence is an attempt to shed light on a forgotten corner..
‘Cafe’ :: Review :: Screened at 64th Thessaloniki Int. Film Festival 2023
May seem absurdist, but it is at least partially autobiographical. Like his countryman Jafar Panahi, a ban on filmmaking didn’t stop Mihandoust and, in the three years he was waiting for the sentence to be enacted, he..
Stockholm International Film Festival Awards 2023
Best Film: “The Settlers” by Felipe Gálvez Haberle. In a remarkable triumph, Chilean maestro Felipe Gálvez’s brutal western clinched the coveted Best Film award. The film delves into the annals of Chilean colonization and..
36th TIFF :: Tokyo 2023 :: Winners
Family drama Snow Leopard, directed by the late Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden, has won the Tokyo Grand Prix, the top prize at this year’s Tokyo Film Festival. Tatami by Zar Amir Ebrahimi and Guy Nattiv won the Special Jury Prize, also the award for Best Actress for Zar Amir..
Tokyo Film Festival 2023
The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), set to run October 23 to November 1, revealed the lineup for its 36th edition, including 20 world premieres across its two competition strands. The festival features 15 titles in its main Competition section led by Japan and China..
GoCritic! Animest 2023 :: Review :: The Siren
As shown through the eyes of a teenage boy, Sepideh Farsi's animated film shows both the horrors and kindness that wartime brings. A striking, bleakly beautiful account of living in a war zone, which captures a traumatic and..
LONDON 2023 :: Review :: Celluloid Underground
Unsuitable films were burned after the Islamic regime took over Iran. But one man stashed away reels and reels of banned and western movies – to thrill a new generation in secret film clubs.. A salute to the underground film lovers..
Golshifteh Farahani On the Shocking News of One of Iran's most prominent film-makers' Murder
"I did my very first movie 'The Pear Tree' with him when I was 14 years old. He was One of the most incredible directors of Iran and a great friend throughout these 26 years"..
Noted Iranian film director and his wife found stabbed to death in their home
Fans of the celebrated Iranian film director Dariush Mehrjui have woken to the shocking news of his murder at home by an unknown assailant. He was 83. He was a co-founder of Iran’s film new wave in the early 1970s..
ORCA :: A Protest Against Hate, Intolerance and Dehumanization
Iranian swimmer (Taraneh Alidoosti) fights abuse and oppression with an “Orca” as her Spirit Animal. This drama ... is a genuinely inspiring story, in part because it doesn't adhere to the formula we might expect..
Copenhagen Cinematheque :: 'Leila's Brothers' :: Film of the Month in October
Iranian cinema surprised at last year's Cannes festival – this time with a screwball comedy about finances and love, family relations and generational gaps..
LOCARNO 2023 :: Radu Jude :: Interview :: It's Later Than You Think
Jude once again proves himself to be one of the most original auteurs of our times. Moreover, his lack of fear at being controversial – or simply wrong – allows him to create cinema on an extraordinary scale that does not necessarily..
OSCARS 2024 :: European titles submitted for the Oscars race
European countries reveal their titles submitted for the Best International Feature Film Award at the 2024 Academy Awards. With the 96th Academy Awards ceremony scheduled to take place in Hollywood on 10 March, 2024..
Oscars 2024 :: Denmark Picks ‘The Promised Land’ for Best International Feature Category
Denmark has picked its 2024 Oscar contender, selecting period epic The Promised Land as its official Academy Award entry in the best international feature category..
Oscars 2024 :: Sweden selects Milad Alami’s 'Opponent' as Oscar candidate
“We are very proud and honoured to be the Swedish submission to the Oscars this year! I am personally extra proud of our fantastic actors and our team.” Alami said. The film produced by Annika Rogell for Tangy is also nominated for..
Female Freedom Fighters :: The Politics of Women's Hair
Why the World’s First Feminist Revolution is Happening in Iran. A female revolution is underway in Iran. The mullahs are fighting back with brutal force. A year after it all began, women aren't giving up..
Oscars 2024 :: 'The Night Guardian' :: Iran Oscar entry
Iran has submitted Reza Mirkarimi’s The Night Guardian for Best International Film category at the 96th Academy Awards, in a move that will likely prompt pushback from the country’s dissident film community..
Venice 2023 :: ‘Green Border’ Review: Agnieszka Holland’s Humanitarian heart-in-mouth thriller Masterpiece
A modern-day resistance movie dealing with a new kind of fascism, and very much of a piece with Holland's previous classics 'In Darkness'..
Venice 2023 Winners :: Full List :: Golden Lion Goes To Yorgos Lanthimos For ‘Poor Things’
The 80th Venice Film Festival handed out its awards and Yorgos Lanthimos has clinched the top prize with his latest feature Poor Things, starring Emma Stone; Hamaguchi, Sarsgaard..
Venice 2023 :: ‘Evil Does Not Exist’ Review :: Ryusuke Hamaguchi Delivers A Constantly Surprising Film
Nature cannot be evil, only indifferent. But what about us? Hamaguchi is not interested in taking the easy road to a satisfactory resolution. On the contrary; his story runs up hard against..
Venice 2023 :: ‘The Beast’ Review :: Bertrand Bonello’s Trippy Sci-Fi
Is it sci-fi? Is it a romance? Is it a mystery? Is it a drama? It’s all these things together and none of them at the same time. It is moving and alienating, intellectual and visceral, it is challenging and confusing but it’s undeniably a..
Venice 2023 :: Woody Allen Gets Rapturous Reception :: Talks Love Of European Cinema; Life-Career Luck..
Allen was last in Venice in 2007, with Cassandra’s Dream starring Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor, and prior to that was invited in 1995 to receive a Career Golden Lion, but did..
VENICE 2023 Giornate degli Autori :: Interview: Ayat Najafi :: Director of The Sun Will Rise
The director talks about his Iranian-shot film, which documents the trials and tribulations of a theatre company, while outside, in the streets, youngsters are demonstrating..
Venice 2023 Flash Mob :: In Solidarity with Iranian pro-democracy protests
Jane Campion, Damien Chazelle, Zar Amir Ebrahimi and Guy Nattiv joined a flash mob on the Venice Film Festival’s red carpet on Saturday in support of the Woman, Life, Freedom protests in Iran..
Venice 2023 (Orizzonti) :: ‘Tatami’ Review :: Potent Political Sport Thriller
Billed as the first feature film to be co-directed by an Iranian and an Israeli filmmaker, “Tatami” goes all in with a lean and tense narrative that is part sport movie, part political thriller — with both parts equally neatly realized..
Variety (EXCLUSIVE) :: Iranian Filmmaker Ali Asgari Banned From Traveling & Making Movies
Ali Asgari, whose latest film “Terrestrial Verses” (co-directed by Alireza Khatami) world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, has been banned by the Iranian authorities from leaving the country and directing movies until further notice..
Venice 2023 :: ‘Priscilla’ Gets 7-Minute-Plus Ovation In Venice
Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla got a rousing response at its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Monday evening. The pic, a biopic of Priscilla Presley, who was in attendance for the movie based on the memoir she co-authored, scored..
Venice 2023 :: ‘Poor Things’ Review :: Emma Stone In Yorgos Lanthimos’ Glorious Paean To Freedom
Flamboyant, florid, fantastic, and freakish, this might well be one of the most unique movies you’ll ever see. Screening in competition in Venice and certainly one of the most eagerly..
Venice 2023 :: The Promised Land (Bastarden) :: Mads Mikkelsen At His Staunch, Heroic Best
A classic Scandinavian drama about human frailty, The Promised Land is earthy, enjoyable stuff: an expansive, sweeping epic with hope in its heart and dirt under its nails..
Venice 2023 :: ‘El Conde’ Review :: Pablo Larraín’s Latest Is A Bold, Wildly Irreverent Sensational Creation
A madly inspired reinvention of events embedded in the notion that longtime Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet became a vampire who ultimately tires of life and wants out after..
Venice Film Festival 2023 :: All Of Deadline’s Movie Reviews
The Venice Film Festival began August 30 with opening-night movie 'Comandante', an Italian World War II drama.. Deadline is on the ground to watch all the key films. Here is a compilation of our reviews from the fest..
Lars Von Trier Makes A Social Media Plea For A Girlfriend/Muse
He Says He Has “A Few Decent Films” Left In Him. Should we actually be surprised when Lars von Trier goes on social media to post a video about his search for a new girlfriend? Will Lars von Trier find her, and thus, continue his life as a feature..
'SUBTRACTION' :: TORONTO STAR :: REVIEW
“They don’t just look like us, It’s like we’re clones.” Seeing is believing: after getting a peek at the look-alikes in question, skeptical but sympathetic Jalal can only agree that something spooky is going on..
Celebrated Iranian Filmmaker Receives Prison Sentence over "Leila’s Brothers"
Renowned filmmaker and screenwriter Saeed Roustayi has been handed a six-month prison sentence, along with supplementary penalties, by the Tehran Revolutionary Court, as revealed by..
LOCARNO 2023 Competition
Review: ‘Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World’

Radu Jude’s eighth fiction feature seems to imply that the apocalypse might not arrive as a spectacular big bang, but rather as a flood of stupidity – and it’s actually already here..
Locarno Film Festival Awards :: ‘Critical Zone,’ the Film the Iranian Government Doesn’t Want to Be Seen, Wins Big at Swiss Fest
The hype is real: Ali Ahmadzadeh’s “Critical Zone” (“Mantagheye bohrani”) has picked up the top Golden Leopard at Locarno. ..
LOCARNO 2023 Competition
Review: 'Critical Zone'

Ali Ahmadzadeh’s third film defies Iran’s authoritarian regime, painting the portrait of a tired and unpredictable society which now believes in nothing but artificial paradises..
'Silent House' :: Award winner at Melgaco film festival 2023
“My brother and I weren’t able to leave (Iran) due to false and unfair accusations that were made against us. We lost many opportunities that our film created for us due to the ban”..
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Retrospective 2023: „Young at Heart – Coming of Age at the Movies“

Berlinale
Retrospective 2023
„Young at Heart – Coming of Age at the Movies“

Berlin International Film Festival
16- 26.02.23


The 2023 Retrospective is dedicated to being young and growing up as a collective cinematic experience.


Noted international filmmakers from around the world have selected their coming-of-age film favourites for the Retrospective programme and present them in short texts and videos.



Maren Ade: Sans toi ni loi (Vagabond)

I picked Agnès Varda’s Sans toi ni loi because when I was younger, I would have liked to see more films that looked at women from a different perspective. The film is about Mona, a young woman (Sandrine Bonnaire was 18 when she played the role) who has liberated herself. She is a drifter who does not reveal much about herself, so the people she encounters tend to project whatever they like onto her. In interviews, those fleeting acquaintances try to tell us something about her, but in the end, they are really just telling us about themselves. There is something in a woman’s search for freedom triggering such a range of feelings – from distaste and consternation to concern and yearning.
Even though Mona pays a high price during her journey, particularly at the end, she remains true to her intent of allowing nobody to own her, such that her death at the end is, in a strange way, a heroine’s death.
Following a female character who does not explain herself, and whom the film does not attempt to explain, is even today something special.

Maren Ade
Director, producer
* 1976 in Karlsruhe, Federal Republic of Germany
Ade made her feature directorial debut with the 2003 The Forest for the Trees; her relationship drama Everyone Else was in the 2009 Competition, where it won the Jury Grand Prix. Her 2016 father-daughter drama Toni Erdmann was nominated for an Oscar and went on to win both the European and the German Film Award.

 
 

Wes Anderson: Le Petit Fugitif (Little Fugitive)

I think Ruth Orkin’s own words and photographs provide an eloquent introduction to the wonderful film she made with Morris Engel and Raymond Abrashkin [aka Ray Ashley] back in 1953.

“Usually when people in Hollywood direct their first movie it’s because they’ve had experience in other parts of movie-making; scriptwriting, acting, cinematography, editing, assistant director or the theater. And when they sit in the director’s chair for the first time they have a whole experienced crew to back them up. We had only our inexperienced selves.
We couldn’t have made the movies if we hadn’t been photographers first”.

Wes Anderson
Regisseur
* 1969 in Houston, USA
Wes Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. His films include Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums (2002 Competition), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2005 Competition), The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel (Berlinale 2014 opening), Isle of Dogs (Berlinale 2018 opening), and The French Dispatch. His newest film, Asteroid City, will be released this summer by Focus Features. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (for Netflix) is currently in post-production.

 

Juliette Binoche: Trois couleurs: Bleu (Three Colours: Blue)

To me, Trois couleurs: Bleu is a film about growing up. For it is about saying farewell, and we evolve through renunciation. Maturity is not about reaching a certain age, rather it is about having the humility to accept that time is a fiction, and behind that fiction is a timelessness that keeps us immortal. When we touch that timelessness, we have reached adulthood, or at least achieved a more aware state.

Juliette Binoche
Actor
* 1964 in Paris, France
Binoche became a world-wide star with The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988). The festival awarded her a Berlinale Camera in 1993, and she won the European Film Award for The Lovers on the Bridge (1991) and The English Patient (1997), which also garnered her a Silver Bear and an Oscar. She has appeared in numerous films in Competition, including the 2015 opener Nadie quiere la noche (Nobody Wants the Night), and in 2022 in Avec amour et acharnement (Both Sides of the Blade). She was president of the festival’s 2019 International Jury.

 
 

Lav Diaz: Maynila: Sa mga kuko ng liwanag (Manila, Manila in the Claws of Light)

It was 1975, the third year of Ferdinand Marcos’ dark and brutal Martial Law in the Philippines. I was in college, my first year, and my Philippine literature professor told us to watch a new film by Lino Brocka and write about our reaction to it. He said the film had an “urgency on the state of the nation,” and it was based on a story by Edgardo M. Reyes. In fact, he added, the director and his actors were doing a campus tour promoting the film and our class would be attending their appearance at our school. A few days later, Lino Brocka and his young actor, Rafael “Bembol” Roco, did a Q&A in one of the university auditoriums. Brocka said it was Roco’s first film and that he discovered him in a theater production mounted in a rehabilitation center for drug addicts, where Roco was in rehab. I learned years later that he wasn’t Brocka’s first choice for the role. They had already shot some scenes with another actor, quite popular then and no slouch. But he was quite fat and looked too bourgeois for the lumpenproletarian character. Roco fitted the working-class attributes that the character required.
The following week, two of my classmates and I saw Maynila, sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag at one of the city’s cinemas. The film’s immediate effect on me then was cathartic, even epiphanic; I entered a transformative realm. Right after the screening, we went to a cheap and dirty street restaurant, and talked and talked about the film till dawn. I wrote my paper. Mine was the only piece our dear teacher read aloud in class, to my embarrassment, praising its “deep societal insight.” Besides the cultural critique, I also said in the paper that the film truly changed me, and that I realized that cinema is not just entertainment; that it can be a powerful medium for discourse on matters that are urgent and important to humanity. I also mentioned that I wished I could one day make cinema just like Maynila, sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag.

Lav Diaz
Director
* 1958 in Datu Paglas, Philippines
Diaz has a degree in economics and later studied at the Mowelfund Film Institute. His feature Naked Under the Moon screened in the 2000 Forum. He made the five-and-a-half hour long From What is Before (2014) and his eight-hour black-and-white epic A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery was shown in Competition in 2016, garnering a Silver Bear. Season of the Devil was invited to the 2018 Berlinale.

 

Ava DuVernay: Rue Cases-Nègres (Sugar Cane Alley)

Jose is a vibrant and kind little boy. He is cared for by his devoted grandmother, who works herself to the bone so that he can be educated and avoid the doom of hard labor in the sugar cane fields. The child befriends an old man who remembers his own enslavement and longs to return to Africa someday, igniting new dreams of freedom within the boy. The nuance and necessity of this simple, yet strikingly powerful tale unfolds under the masterful eye of Madam Euzhan Palcy. She reminds us that history, however harsh, must be known and faced in order to create emancipated futures. Unshackled from pain. And instead, emboldened and empowered by it. In her glorious debut feature, Ms. Palcy weaves a spellbinding tapestry of humanity. She places us directly on the island of Martinque, offering all the texture and tenacity, the warmth and wonder, the beauty and bravery of the people there. Her camera captures a complicated history with intimacy and immediacy, ensuring that we will never forget Jose and the journey of a people that must be long remembered.

Ava DuVernay
Director
* 1972 in Long Beach, California, USA
Ava DuVernay is the first African American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award as a director in any feature category. Winner of multiple Emmy, BAFTA, NAACP and Peabody Awards, her feature film directorial work includes Selma (Competition of the 2015 Berlinale), 13th and A Wrinkle in Time, which made her the highest-grossing Black woman director in American box office history. DuVernay is currently writing, directing and producing the narrative film adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent. DuVernay was a guest at the 2021 Berlinale Talents.

 
 

Nora Fingscheidt: Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day was the first movie experience that changed my perspective on reality and made me love an anti-hero. I must have been eight or nine and went to bed thinking “What if today starts again tomorrow?” or “If everything I do now is meaningless, because it will be undone by the time I wake up again – what would I actually want to do then?” Fiction and reality merged, which had a massive impact on me.
But is Groundhog Day a coming-of-age movie? Yes and no. OK, the main character Phil is technically a grown-up, but what does that mean, really? He starts in a place that some teenagers might find familiar. Alone, misunderstood and surrounded by – in his opinion – “idiots”. And although he behaves horribly, you can´t help but root for him. Being stuck in time becomes heaven and hell for Phil. He has an unplanned spiritual awakening, experiences true love for the first time and becomes the person he maybe never wanted to be, but always had inside him. I watched Groundhog Day with my son, more than 25 after I last saw it, and the movie still has the same impact on me. What a great story! If a film can make us laugh and think about life – for me it is perfect cinema. I think that these days we all need a good laugh and that Groundhog Day should be seen and rediscovered by young people today.

Nora Fingscheidt
Director
* 1983 in Braunschweig, Federal Republic of Germany
Fingscheidt studied at the Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg. She took part in the 2012 Berlinale Talents programme. After her documentary Without This World (2017), her narrative debut was the coming-of-age drama System Crasher, which won a Silver Bear in Competition at the 2019 Berlinale. In 2021, she directed Sandra Bullock in The Unforgivable, about an ex-convict.

 

Kate Gornostai: The Virgin Suicides

I watched The Virgin Suicides when I was the same age as Cecilia, one of the Lisbon sisters in the film. And that subtle world of American teenage girls, which Sofia Coppola portrays in her film, was uncommon to me - a Ukrainian girl - but still very familiar. Mostly in terms of the psychological state of living through that age.
And I deeply felt this dialogue between Cecilia and the doctor at the moment:

- You're not even old enough to know how bad life gets.
- Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a 13-year-old girl.


This film showed me an important script technique, which I try to use in my work - to blunt the pathos of a scene. That is to say, no matter how serious the scene is - at the end of it, we definitely come across some ordinary or funny detail that lowers the tension. For example, Cecilia's ghost comes to one of the boys at night, looks at him for a long time, but says ”God, you snore loud“ just before the alarm clock rings. The scene’s brilliance lies in its simplicity.

Kateryna Gornostai
Director
* 1989 Lutsk, Ukraine
Attended the Marina Razbezhkina School of Documentary Films and Theatre in 2012/2013 and made her first documentaries during that period. Her narrative feature debut Stop-Zemlia screened in competition in the Generation 14plus section of the 2021 Berlinale and won the Crystal Bear. She is a member of that section’s jury at the 2023 Berlinale.

 
 

Luca Guadagnino: Seishun Zankoku Monogatari (Cruel Story of Youth)

Video: Luca Guadagnino on his selection
I chose Seishun Zankoku Monogatari by Nagisa Ōshima for the deep impact this movie had on the history of cinema and on many filmmakers, including myself.
Perfectly embodied by the main characters, Ōshima's world view of life’s disillusionments is sure to continue to leave a mark on its audiences.
I've always been fascinated by how Ōshima's unique narration is so vivid and powerful, and I think this will be a wonderful addition to this year's program.

Luca Guadagnino
Director
* 1971 in Palermo, Italy
Luca Guadagnino is a writer, director and producer. Many of his works have been part of Berlinale throughout the years. I am Love (2009) screened in the 2010 Culinary Cinema section, and the critically-acclaimed Call Me By Your Name was presented in the Panorama section in 2017. After the success of Bones And All, released in theaters in November 2022, Luca Guadagnino's latest works include Challengers, coming out this year, and Queer, adapted from William S. Burroughs’ eponymous novel, currently in pre-production.

 

Ryūsuke Hamaguchi: Taifū kurabu (Typhoon Club)

Video: Ryūsuke Hamaguchi on his selection
It is obvious that just because you reach a certain age does not mean you suddenly become an adult. You, young people, must anticipate that someday you will feel like fully grown adults. But I can assure you, the child will continue to reside within you. And it should. Perhaps becoming aware of the presence of the child within you, and learning how to protect it, is what it means to be an adult. So this is a film about children who are not strangers to you. They are Asian children, more than 30 years ago now. They are full of vitality, wanting something, but frustrated because they can’t get it. They find friends and feel joy. But they break up. And so it goes on and on. Across time and distance, are these children not a bit like you ... a little while ago, or even today? I want you to find it out. And use this as a clue to care for the child who continues to live within you.

Ryūsuke Hamaguchi
Director, screenwriter
* 1978 in Kawasaki, Japan
Hamaguchi studied art and film in Tokyo. Following his thesis film Passion (2008), he made documentaries and attracted international attention with his five-hour female-centric Happy Hour (2015). Women also steal the show in his anthology film Guzen to sozo (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy), which won the Jury Grand Prix in the 2021 Competition. He was a member of the 2022 International Jury, winning an Oscar that same year for Drive My Car.

 
 

Ethan Hawke: Rumble Fish

Video: Ethan Hawke on his selection
As an actor who got his start in Dead Poets Society and matured into adult acting through the making of Boyhood, I finally feel myself qualified to speak on the subject “The Coming of Age Film.”
I’ve read that Coppola calls Rumble Fish “an art film for teenagers.” It functioned that way for me. It took my superficial interest in the sexiness of The Outsiders and challenged me with more sophisticated ideas – the fluid nature of time, the existential angst of waiting for an adult life to arrive.
As Rusty James, Matt Dillon gives one of the great juvenile performances of all time – lapping James Dean, in my opinion. Mickey Rourke stands beside him, looking an awful lot like Albert Camus. Dennis Hopper floats like a ghost, embodying the disappointment we all feel about what our parents are not.
I’m sure some audiences will see Rumble Fish as a boy picture, but it’s boy picture with a female gaze. S.E. Hinton taught us all so much about what coming of age looks like – and what not coming of age looks like. I showed my daughter Rumble Fish when she was sixteen. As the credits rolled, she looked at me and said, “I finally understand you.”
I’m still not sure what she meant.

Ethan Hawke
Actor, director, writer, novelist
* 1970 in Austin, USA
Hawke achieved widespread acclaim for his breakout role in Dead Poets Society (1989). He co-starred with Julie Delpy in Richard Linklater’s Gen X trilogy Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004), and Before Midnight (2013), which debuted at the Berlinale. Hawke received an Academy Award nomination for his role in Linklater’s Boyhood (2014), which was shown in competition in Berlin. His feature directing credits include Chelsea Walls (2001), The Hottest State (2007), Blaze (2018), and his upcoming Flannery O’Connor biopic, Wildcat.

 

Karoline Herfurth: Muriel’s Wedding

Muriel’s Wedding is one of the most significant films of the 1990s and of my own youth. Muriel’s biggest dream is to become somebody’s bride, to finally be wanted and loved. She is utterly convinced that if a man married her, she would finally have value as a person. She would finally be worthy of love – and no longer the loser from small-town Porpoise Spit. By pure chance, she meets her first real friend, Rhonda, and that friendship helps her uncouple herself from her toxic family situation, with her narcissistic father and depressive mother, and replace her idealised dream with genuine self-confidence. In my youth, there were very few films about young women letting go of received, widespread ideals and finding their true selves. What you saw onscreen were perfect bodies and soft-rock fantasies come true, with the sole goal being desirable to men. So for me, Muriel’s Wedding was like a very real, warm hug that unlocked a different, healthier world. And now, as a filmmaker myself, the movie’s tonality and its inspiring combination of humour and hurt serves as a great model.

Karoline Herfurth
Actor, director, writer
* 1984 in East Berlin, GDR
Herfurth began acting in 2001 and has since appeared in more than 40 films, including the Suck Me Shakespeer trilogy (2013 – 2015), The Little Witch (2018) and The Perfect Secret (2019). The American co-production The Reader (2008) screened in Competition at the Berlinale. She made her directing debut with the short Mittelkleiner Mensch, followed by the successful features SMS für Dich, Sweethearts, Wunderschön, and Einfach mal was Schönes, which she not only directed, but also co-wrote the script and played the lead.

 
 

Niki Karimi: Khane-ye dust kojast (Where Is the Friend's House?)

Khane-ye dust kojast is a magical film. I always think about the moment when I saw the film for the first time. I was 17 and I was stunned. I still feel the exact same sensation when I think about that first time, in my heart, mind, and body. Something out of this world, so pure and so human. Like good music or a symphony that touches your heart and you think it’s magical.
The boy, who always resembled for me the Little Prince from the novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, searches and searches through his little life and passes by that tree on the hill, taking all of us with him, yet again in search of humanity and kindness.
I have so many memories of this film. Watching it again with Abbas, and the time that we went to the famous hill up in the north of Iran, in Koker and spent time there, with me shooting video of the little actor, now grown up, Babak Ahmadpour‘s wedding many years ago and many memories.
Yet its a magical movie and it will be for all time.

Niki Karimi
Actor, director
* 1971 in Teheran, Iran
After making her screen-acting debut in 1989, the charismatic Iranian actor has won domestic and international awards. She directed her first documentary in 2001 and her first narrative feature in 2005. In 2007, she was a member of the GWFF Best First Feature Award jury. Ta farda (Until Tomorrow), which she produced, had its premiere at the 2022 Panorama. During the 2023 Berlinale, she will be a patron of the EFP’s European Shooting Stars promotion.

 

Nadine Labaki: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller’s Day off was one of those films that I watched a lot when I was a kid, especially on the days when we were stuck at home because of the war. That happened a lot, spending time at home or in shelters. I was born in 1974 so I grew up during the war in Lebanon.
What drew me to the film was everything Ferris Bueller represented – freedom, breaking all the rules, living and thinking outside the box, coming up with alternative ideas to almost everything. Growing up during war, lots of things were forbidden. It was forbidden to go outside, to play outside, forbidden to be a normal child.
Also, growing up as a little girl in the Arab world with lots of social pressure from around us, from our community, living up to everyone’s expectations, trying to be this very, wise role model. So the film represented rebellion against the system and I’ve always questioned the status quo. That’s why I love the film so much, because it represented rebellion against, and questioning, the system. And the music in it, the freedom in it, represented something that I was not able to do as a teenager, as a child. The film allowed me to escape the boredom of my own reality, and escape the pressure I felt around me. That's why it was one of my favourite films when I was growing up.

Nadine Labaki
Director, actor
* 1974 in Baabda, Lebanon
Labaki studied film in Beirut and shot music videos before making her narrative debut with Caramel (2007), followed by Where Do We Go Now? (2011). Her films focus on women, as well as the civil war and social conflict in Lebanon. Her drama Capernaum, about a 12-year-old boy on the streets of Beirut, was nominated for an Oscar in 2018.

 
 

Nadav Lapid: De bruit et de fureur (Sound and Fury)

Because the film invents its own reality instead of fabricating a lifelike imitation of real life. Because it’s not an issue film, as in ‘despair and violence in poor Parisian suburbs discriminated against by all French governments’, but a film about human existence, about being in this world. And its research is done not in a library or on Google, but inside the mind and the soul, using forms and colours, and words and their melody, as arguments and facts. Because its truth is the truth of cinema, the truth of a film, captured by the force of imagination, articulated by cinematic means, and not the truth as it supposedly happens; or an obedient truth following overly orchestrated plots. Because you cannot classify and define the section or type to which it belongs. It encompasses all of them and belongs to none of them. Because the film distances itself greatly from naturalism, going beyond the sky and the stars, beyond the fantastic, the daily, the comic, and the terrible. Because it gives away the earth in order to reach hell and attain grace — two things that are, of course, connected — before it recaptures the here and now. All of that and the distinctive facial expressions and body language of its two, maybe three, main actors, make De bruit et de fureur a unique movie about the tormented relations between the individual and the collective, and one of the most truthful movies I’ve seen.
De bruit et de fureur defies the seemingly cultivated social and political films that are so popular these days, reminding us that cinema can only engage with the specific if it engages with everything, including itself.

Nadav Lapid
Director, screenwriter
* 1975 in Tel Aviv, Israel
Lapid originally worked as an arts and sports journalist. He studied philosophy and history in Tel Aviv, and French in Paris. He was a guest at the Panorama in 2005 with his short film Road, made at the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem. He made his feature debut in 2011 with Policeman. Lapid was back at the Berlinale in 2015 with his short film Why?, and winning a Golden Bear for Synonyms in Competition in 2019, as well as the FIPRESCI Award. He was part of the 2021 Berlinale International Jury. .

 

Sergei Loznitsa: Gra¾uolė (The Beauty)

If I was to describe the film Gra¾uolė by Arūnas ®ebriūnas in a few words, I would most probably use the quotation from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: ”What is essential is invisible to the eye“. Invisible does not mean unfathomable. The film's protagonist, little Inga, performs a mesmerizing ritual dance, during which an ugly duckling is transformed into a beautiful swan. The innocence, sincerity, purity and kindness of the little heroine is like a healing balm soothing wounded souls.
Arūnas ®ebriūnas (1930–2013) is one of the most important and gifted Lithuanian filmmakers of his generation, a pioneer of Lithuanian poetic cinema and the creator of the first ever Lithuanian film musical, Velnio nuotaka (Devil's Bride, 1973). The protagonists of many of ®ebriūnas’ films are children. Their first encounters with the world of adults are seen in his films as an experience of losing something crucially important, without which life can become meaningless. ”I didn't make films for children, but I made films with children“, Arūnas ®ebriūnas used to say. At a time when artistic freedom was suppressed by state ideology, when Lithuania was under Soviet occupation and telling the truth was a risky business, which could leave one without one's profession or even without one's life, when artists were looking for ways to remain honest and to continue to follow their calling, Arūnas ®ebriūnas had found his unique way and unique voice.

Sergei Loznitsa
Director
* 1964 in Baranovitchi, Belarus
Loznitsa studied mathematics in Kyiv, then film in Moscow. He has made ca. 26 documentaries since 1996, primarily on Soviet history for the St. Petersburg Documentary Film Studio, as well as narrative features including My Joy (2010), In the Fog (2012), A Gentle Creature (2017), and Donbass (2018). Loznitsa has lived in Berlin since 2007, and has been running his own production company, Atoms & Voids, since 2014. His documentary Den’ Pobedy (Victory Day) was shown at the 2018 Forum.

 
 

Mohammad Rasoulof: Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle (The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser)

It was the early years of my teenage life when I accidentally came across a twenty-one-inch black and white television. I was totally fascinated by the images broadcast by Iranian state TV.
In those years, there were only two TV channels in Iran, state-owned, with strict Islamic criteria and censorship policies. The use of home video devices was prohibited, and having a video tape was considered a crime.
In such a pressured atmosphere, I was deeply affected by watching a strange story of a patriarchal power that had ignored very basic human rights from birth, and had taken away someone‘s opportunity to live as a human being.
Years later, I was able to find the title of the film that fascinated me as a teenager. Interpreted metaphorically, the story, in which the constraints of the reigning powers rendered Kaspar a victim of his own will, evoked for me the political conditions in Iran. I still haven't forgotten the experience of watching that movie and its metaphorical impact on me.
Now that I am writing this note from Evin prison, while I hear news about people rising up, especially women and the young, I believe that a new effort by people to determine their fate themselves has already begun.
I don't know what will happen in the coming weeks or months, but I am determined that Iran today will never return to it’s previous conditions.

Woman, Life, Freedom

Mohammad Rasoulof
Director
* 1972 in Shiraz, Iran
Rasoulof made his first short films while studying sociology. His eight feature-length films, including Lerd (A Man of Integrity) (2017), were lauded internationally, but fell victim to Iranian censors. His perceived anti-government stance has led to a host of legal problems at home, including a 2010 arrest and, in 2017, the seizure of his passport and a ban on leaving the country. In Berlin, Rasoulof won the 2020 Golden Bear for Sheytan vojud nadarad (There is no Evil) and served on the 2021 online International Jury of the Berlinale. Arrested again in 2022, he is facing charges of fomenting social unrest.

 

Céline Sciamma: Not a Pretty Picture

When facing the question of choice among the coming-of-age corpus I was alternating between selecting a film that shook me as a teenager, or a film that shook me about teenagers. It all became clear when I decided to pick a film I wished I had seen as a teenager. It would have to be Marta Coolidge’s directorial debut Not a Pretty Picture. She produced it in 1976 so I could have encountered the film as a teen in the 90s but I only learned about its existence in 2019.
I wish I had, because as a young cinephile the film would have transmitted both knowledge about a culture of abuse, and about the resistance to that culture through the innovative use of the language of cinema. And how that makes a great movie. Not a Pretty Picture feels strikingly close to contemporary narratives and the reflexive politics around the gaze. It means it contributed to inventing them all. I am glad that it is going to be shown on the big screen, as the decisive contribution to cinema that it is.

Céline Sciamma
Director, screenwriter
* 1978 in Pontoise, France
Sciamma studied French literature at Nanterre and screenwriting at La Fémis film school. She made her directing debut with Water Lilies in 2007. Her second feature Tomboy opened the 2011 Panorama section and won the TEDDY AWARD. She has also won prizes for her films Girlhood (2014) and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019). Her 2021 coming-of-age drama Petite Maman premiered in Competition in Berlin.

 
 

Martin Scorsese: Prima della rivoluzione (Before the Revolution)

Video: Martin Scorsese on his selection
In 1964, when I was 21 years old and just about to turn 22, I had a short film in The New York Film Festival, which allowed me and a friend of mine to attend press screenings in Avery Fisher Hall. There was a picture by a new Italian filmmaker. My friend said: “I heard good things about this one, let’s go.” That first time I saw Bernardo Bertolucci’s Prima della rivoluzione, I was overcome with awe, occasional bewilderment, amazement… pure emotion. Actually, I have a hard time describing it. To this day, I get choked up.
Here was a film by a young man, my age, speaking of his own life and his own world just like I was trying to do—and he had really done it. He had transmitted all of his feelings and ideas and conflicts, and expressed the very texture of his life through cinema. He came from a literary background, and his reference points were Verdi and Stendhal. This was a world that was completely foreign to me, which is why I was so surprised by the depth of emotion I experienced as I watched the film. But he spoke to me through the language of cinema. His images seemed to flow right out of him straight into the viewer. In this case, to me.
Prima della rivoluzione inspired me, drove me to make my own work. As I sat there and watched it that first time, I knew that I had been lucky enough to be present for the emergence of a new cinematic voice, a presence, of poetry and beauty and absolutely overwhelming talent. It was a moment that marked me for life.

Martin Scorsese
Director
* 1942 in New York, USA
Martin Scorsese is an Academy Award-winning director and one of the most influential filmmakers working today. His films include Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Casino (1995) and The Irishman (2019).
He has been a Berlinale guest on two occasions, with the Rolling Stones concert film Shine a Light (2008) and the thriller Shutter Island (2010) and in 2013, the Deutsche Kinemathek mounted an exhibition dedicated to his work.
Scorsese has also directed numerous documentaries, including Italianamerican (1974), The Last Waltz (1978), My Voyage to Italy (1999), Living in the Material World (2011), and the Peabody Award-winning No Direction Home (2005) and A Letter to Elia (2010). Scorsese is the founder and chair of The Film Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving and protecting motion picture history.

 

Aparna Sen: Aparajito (The Unvanquished)

Video: Aparna Sen on her selection
With Aparajito, the second film in Satyajit Ray’s celebrated Apu trilogy, Apu’s journey begins – from village to city, from childhood to adolescence, from the confines of home to the outside world. Almost symbolically, the film opens with the abstract lines of a bridge passing, out of focus, in the foreground – a shot taken out of a speeding train. Though we cannot see Apu, we can surmise his presence easily. Ray keeps us waiting before he actually reveals the boy, leisurely establishing the ancient riverside city of Benares. When we see him at last, Apu who is still very much a child, is playing with newly acquired friends, running through the narrow lanes of the holy city, adroitly passing between the legs of a bull that is blocking the way. During the course of this sensitive film, Apu grows up, encounters his father’s death, and moves to his uncle’s rural home with his mother. He starts going to school and becomes interested in science and geography, as is evident in the globe that he carries with him everywhere, and the sundial he constructs in the courtyard of their home. His relationship with his mother is tested again and again, until she finally passes away leaving Apu grief-stricken, but free – free to venture out into the world on his own.
I think the reason why I chose Aparajito as my favourite coming-of-age film was because of its complex compound of emotional ties, with their quotient of heartbreak, and the severance of those ties with the exultation that accompanies it. When handled by a master, it resonates in a way that makes you keep coming back to it again and again.

Aparna Sen
Actor, director, screenwriter
* 1945 Kolkata, India
Sen made her acting debut in Satyajit Ray’s 1961 Three Daughters. She directed her first narrative feature in 1981. Her films about women’s lives and religious divisions in India include Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002) and have garnered Sen an international reputation. In 2021, she directed The Rapist, with her daughter Konkona Sen Sharma in the lead. Sen was a guest at the 2004 Berlinale Talent Campus.

 

M. Night Shyamalan: The Last Picture Show

Video: M. Night Shyamalan on his selection
I'm so excited to recommend The Last Picture Show. It's one of the most meaningful movies to me. I have a poster of it in my theater, in my projection room, so every time I go to turn on the projector, that poster is there. It's one of the classic coming-of-age movies for me. It's one of the classic movies period. Because it represents one of the great principles of moviemaking, that every scene is about the same subject as the movie itself. It has the perfect facets of a diamond. So every scene is about characters in a small town wishing for more, wanting more, pushing and striving and breaking the rules that bind them. And when you're growing up, that's the first feeling you have: Rules, I don't want them anymore. I want to define who I am. This is such a beautiful story of those that try and fail. And the cinema is so effortlessly formal and yet raw. It has that thing I dream of doing, which is the integrity of the frame. Yet the performances are so natural and real and uncomfortable to watch because they're alive and messy in a way. That juxtaposition of the formal and the messy makes for something really, really, really beautiful. It's a precious movie to me.

M. Night Shyamalan
Director
* 1970 in Mahé, India
Shyamalan grew up near Philadelphia and studied film at NYU. His breakthrough film was the Oscar-nominated psychological thriller The Sixth Sense in 1999, which he followed with additional horror and mystery films, including Signs (2002), The Visit (2015), and Split (2017). Shyamalan was president of the 2022 International Jury. His most recent film is Knock at the Cabin (2023).

 

Carla Simón: El espíritu de la colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive)

Video: Carla Simón on her selection
“It is one of the strangest stories ever told. It’s about the great mysteries of creation: life and death. Prepare yourselves. You may be shocked, or even horrified. Few films have had greater impact all over the world. But I would advise you not to take it too seriously.” This is how Frankenstein is introduced to young Ana when a travelling cinema comes to her Spanish village. And this is how I felt watching The spirit of beehive.
Víctor Erice portrays childhood as the most mysterious and haunted moment of our existence. Through her enormous eyes, Ana discovers life, while mixing reality with fantasy, and living people with ghosts. I don’t want Ana to grow up because her imagination reinterprets the world as the most exciting and enigmatic place, even if she lives in an obscure post-civil war context.
Light and shadow dance together to paint a story about the power of cinema to make us grow up and develop our own sensibilities. In fact, cinema could play a big role in any coming-of-age story. I’ve never seen The spirit of beehive on a big screen. I hope this will be my chance to fix that inexcusable omission.

Carla Simón
Director
* 1986 in Barcelona, Spain
Simón studied audio-visual communication in Barcelona and California, and attended the London Film School. She took part in Berlinale Talents in 2015, where she was selected for the Script Station with the screenplay for her feature debut Summer 1993. In 2017, the film won the International Jury Grand Prix in the Generation Kplus section, and the GWFF Best First Feature award. Her Alcarràs won the 2022 Golden Bear.

 
 

Abderrahmane Sissako: Touki Bouki

I discovered the work of Djibril Diop Mambéty with Touki Bouki, which I saw just as I finished my film studies at Moscow’s VGIK. It was a shock, an emotional shock, just as I felt when I saw Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker for the first time.
Djibril is one of those filmmakers who is driven by the need to let out the spirit that lives inside them. That often involves a certain suffering but, above all, great freedom or madness. That is what makes the film Touki Bouki so important – first off, in its form and then in its content (or meaning).
For me, the honour that the Berlinale is according him is an opportunity to remember the person Djibril Diop Mambéty. The man who always called me “Papa”, a paradox unique to him – since he was older than I. But I have the same given name as his father, whom he greatly respected.
Djibril is first and foremost a poet of words – and of silence. He spoke with his eyes closed, as if he were reading the words from an invisible screen. So perhaps it is best to watch Touki Bouki with your eyes closed. Thank you.

Abderrahmane Sissako
Director, producer
* 1961 in Kiffa, Mauretania
Sissako grew up in Mali, studied film in Moscow, and has lived in Paris since the 1990s. He showed at the 1997 Documenta. His films, including Bamako (2006) and the Oscar-nominated Timbuktu (2014) deal with globalisation and exile. He was a member of the International Jury in 2003, and an advisor at the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2011. He won the Berlin Academy of Arts Konrad Wolf Prize in 2021.

 

Kristen Stewart: Now and Then

It was almost impossible to feel visible in the 90’s. We all held different secret storms but they were congruent… if you were a girl. Christina Ricci taping down her tits with a roll of paper tape and nabbing a photo of her dead mom before slamming through rowdy boys to get OUT to the only people in the world that understood her, her BEST friends… felt like a call to arms. It felt like sage advice. Find your friends. So you can exist.
Now and Then felt like a secret world so familiar, yet so rarified, as experienced OUTSIDE of the body, I was… struck. These girls were dealing with their bodies bouncing off the sex of the world, with disintegrating families and ideals, with grief and their first existential spirals. They were juggling joy and fear and sorrow and picking the right boy to send over in Red Rover. I can't think of another insider's view as spot on as this. It's weird to try and describe it now to a presumed outsider because the sense memory of holding this unshareable mystery, what we call our “selves”, still makes me feel 12. I'd say, watch the movie. It's the most fun ever.

Kristen Stewart
Actor
* 1990 in Los Angeles, USA
Stewart made her screen debut in 2000, gained attention as Jodie Foster’s daughter in the 2002 Panic Room, and achieved international fame with the Twilight Saga (2008–2012). She was a Berlinale guest in 2010 with Welcome to the Rileys. In 2015, she won France’s César prize for Clouds of Sils Maria. In the last few years, she has embodied (Jean) Seberg (2019) and Princess Diana in Spencer (2021). She is president of the 2023 International Jury.

 
 

Tilda Swinton: Kiseye Berendj (Bag of Rice)

It is my sincere pleasure to have this chance to introduce those that may not know it to Kiseye Berendj, simply one of my favourite films of all time.
This film works miracles on us. We each alchemically become a small girl as we watch it. Solitary, watchful, then steadfast and courageous.
We become her elderly neighbour, tentative and dependent, short sighted and frail. Maybe we also become a big bag of rice, travelling across Tehran, totemically precious and perilous, but full of nourishment and promise. All three beings who are reliant on the kindness of strangers. And all three finding the help they need through thick and thin.
I salute and thank Mohammad-Ali Talebi for giving us this masterpiece. It holds the magic to make us feel better about living among human beings. And points us to the bright horizon of a future founded on compassion and fellowship. This work is a battery for hope, faith and love; and cinema is rarely more valuable than that.

Tilda Swinton
Actor, director
* 1960 in London, England
Swinton began appearing in films in 1986, and has often been seen in the Panorama and Forum sections with films by Derek Jarman, Christoph Schlingensief, and Cynthia Beatt. Her international breakthrough came with Orlando (1992). The Beach screened in Competition in 2000. She won an Oscar in 2008 for her role in Michael Clayton. Swinton headed up the 2009 International Jury. In 2016, her project about John Berger, The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, screened as a Berlinale Special.

 

Wim Wenders: Rebel Without a Cause

To me, Rebel Without a Cause is the archetypical coming-of-age film and Nicholas Ray was the ideal director for that undertaking, a true visionary at the start of a worldwide youth movement triggered by the film.
Ray’s empathy lies entirely with his young leads and he is all too aware of their yearnings, what they are rebelling against, and how they express their conflicts with clothing, gestures, or their bodies.
James Dean was, of course, the ideal actor to embody that.
I once talked to Nick Ray about working with Dean and asked him how he prepared the actor for the film. He thought about it for a few moments before saying, simply and laconically, “I taught him how to walk”.
I didn’t consider that an exaggeration. Dean was the purest form of turning the interior into the exterior. Whatever he had to say, he articulated it physically.
It is an interesting exercise to look at all the scenes in which the whole youth gang is visible, and to look away from James Dean to Dennis Hopper, who was always in the midst of the cohort. Not for a moment does he take his eyes off James Dean, “listening” to the latter’s body language as if spellbound.
The new “attitude” does not come across here with dialogue or the traditional generational conflict, but solely by the reinvention of physicality – through a new grammar and a new vocabulary that can be defined just by a turn of a head, by how a cigarette is held, or indeed by movement – how you stand or walk.

Wim Wenders
Director, Producer
* 1945 in Düsseldorf, West Germany
Wim Wenders came to international prominence as one of the pioneers of the New German Cinema during the 1970’s and is today one of the most renowned representatives of international contemporary cinema. His body of work comprises over 50 fiction and documentary films, among them many prize-winning narratives, such as Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire. He won the 2000 Berlinale Silver Bear for The Million Dollar Hotel. Most recently, the festival has shown his 3-D projects Pina (2011) and Cathedrals of Culture (2014), and Every Thing Will be Fine in 2015, when he was also the subject of the Homage and received an Honorary Golden Bear. Wim Wenders and the Deutsche Kinemathek have worked together for years.

 
 

Jasmila ®baniæ: Sedmikrásky (Daisies)

These days, when the dictatorship of virtual algorithms dictates how to tell stories and what movies should look like, Sedmikrásky offers us a free territory. It shows us that we are not lost, even when totalitarianism takes over. Today when we have a different kind of totalitarianism - disguised with the colourfulness of commercialism and single-mindedness, wrapped in free market ideology, it is such a refreshing experience to meander through Sedmikrásky. Vìra Chytilová combines styles, rhythm, and a film language that follows the logic of an internal energy that is lively, young, crazy. Sedmikrásky uses poetry, humour, and beauty in an anarchistic and revolutionary way that helps expose the false morals of society. It’s such a joy to watch this movie again and again.

Jasmila ®baniæ
Director
* 1974 in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Yugoslavia
Jasmila ®baniæ graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo. In 1997, she co-founded the artists’ association Deblokada and produced, wrote and directed documentaries, video installations and shorts. She also worked as a puppeteer at Bread and Puppet in Vermont. Her theatrical feature debut, Grbavica: Land of My Dreams, won the Berlinale Golden Bear in 2006. Her latest film Quo Vadis, Aida? premiered at the Venice Film Festival, won multiple awards, including the European Film Award, and was nominated for an Oscar and two BAFTAs. Most recently she was added to the directors’ roster for the TV series The Last of Us.

 



Night Train To Lisbon
Annette Focks


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