Last week I had the great opportunity to go to Berlin film festival with my University course. We were only there 2 full days so I didn’t get to spend a lot of time at the actual festival unfortunately. But from the time I did spend there I can say that there’s a really great atmosphere and love of film, particularly in the main area of the festival Potsdammer-Platz. I would love to go next year for a full week if I can! I was able to see two films in total.
I also saw Ava DuVernay (Director of Selma) and David Oyelowo (plays Martin Luther King Jr in Selma) after they did a press interview regarding the film. It was a great interview, DuVernay touched on some great points about the film and its Oscar nomination. I remember in particular her comment on not getting nominated for best director and that everyone else seemed more upset about it then she was. I for one, definitely think she deserved a nomination!
I actually ended up seeing this film by accident. I had tickets for a film called Koza but got lost on the trains in Berlin and missed it. Fortunately the way the festival works is that half an hour or so before the screening you can ask at the venue for spare tickets. This is how I ended up seeing Nena. I went into the film knowing nothing about it but ended up really enjoying it. Directed by Saskia Diesing, the film is about a 16 year old girl (called Nena) who is confronted with her paraplegic father’s wish to die. Despite having such a serious topic as the basis for the story it’s on the whole lighthearted and funny at times. The character Nena played by Abbey Hoes was a very honest representation of a teenage girl. She falls head over heels with a boy and spends most of her time trying to look cool. I also particularly liked the relationship between Nena and her father, the actors had great chemistry and they played well off of each other. Another interesting aspect of this that was mostly lost on me due to just reading the english subtitles was that the film jumped between the characters speaking Dutch and occasionally German when Nena speaks to her father. I just wonder what effect that has on a German or Dutch speaking viewer. Overall, I thought this was a really great film and I’m glad I watched it.
This film is one that I still can’t quite get my head around. It was incredibly strange. The film is split into four chapters and essentially it’s about two married women both named Helen. One is an older woman who has a baby doll but treats it like a real child. The other is much younger and pregnant. Both don’t have very happy marriages. Something happens that is never really explained that sets off lots of surreal things in this film. People start disappearing and strange things start happening to the two women. I wasn’t really a fan of this film but I did find it interesting. The sound in particular was excellent, it had a great score and sound design. It also had a lot of great and disturbing imagery about motherhood. I’ve read that many aspects of this film relate to and play with greek myths and legends. Overall, I think this is one that if you like films that mess with your head you will like this.