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The 73rd Berlin International Film Festival will take place from Thu, Feb 16, 2023 - Sun, Feb 26, 2023
Our team of festival ambassadors and reporters brings you the dailies from the Berlin Film Festival and European Film Market and keep an eye on past editions archives. WATCH OUR VIDEO COVERAGE TRAILERS INTERVIEWS AND AMBIANCE   PHOTOS

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by Alex Deleon

With some 400 films to choose from one might say
that everybody sees a different festival over a ten day period. Of the official
competition films two were early walkouts. Ralph Fiennes' "Coriolanus" 
and the Bela Tarr entry  "A Torinoi Lo" (The Turin Horse) --
arguably the most bleak, depressing , and boring film ever made. It's all
about two miserable people livinng in a miserable life in a miserable hut
somewhere in the middle of nowhere and trying to get an even more miserable
horse to pull a miserable wagon --all shot in miserable grimy black
and grey closeups to add to the feeling of deathly claustrophobioa and
terminal despair. Tarr has made some interesting slow moving b/w films in the
past but with this dead horse he seems to be interested only in testing the
patience of even his most devoted admirers by giving them the worst of his bag
of tricks in lethal doses. Stood it for maybe 25 minutes before I realized it
was driving me bats and then quickly ankled out.Somebody says that with this
film Bela has said all he has to say and will turn to other means of earning a
living. Let's hope so.  "Coriolanus", Shakespeare's Roman wars
of the 4th century updated to the present in terms of sets, technology, and
costumery while retaining the names and dialogue, simply fails to work on
either level-past or present, and simply is not very interesting... watched it
for twenty minutes before realizing there were much better ways of wasting time
in Berlin -- especially in the crotchety discomfort of the Friedrichstadt
theater which requires about half an hour displacement from the main festival

The improbabilities  and plot holes pile up until all one really
cares about is how Liam of the incredible boxer's profuile will get out of this
alive -- and will he walk off with Kruger or be reclaimed by his estranged
wife. Lots of high energy car chases, thrills, spills, and mayhem but Hitchcock
this is not. Once you're stuck in the theater it holds your attention, but
worth the price of a ticket it is not. The fifth horseman is the city of Berlin
itself, if you happen to be from here. Otherwise --forget it. Two really
outstanding films on the official program (Wettbewerb) but out of Konkurrenz (Competition)
were the gala opener "True Grit", discussed earlier, and Moritz
Bleibtrue starrer "My Best Enemy". For the second year in succession
we see Bleibtrue in a nazi military outfit --last year as Goebbles --this year
as an Austrian  Jew posing as a German officer to save his skin. 
Again a very tricky plot but somewhat tongue in cheek comedy revolving about a
Michelangelo drawing which was supposed to be given to Mussolini to cement the
second spoke of the Axis wheel, but turns out to be a fake and onkly Bleibtreu
knows where the original is hidden. Far fetched but good anti-Nazi fin in an
Austrian vein with another sparkling Bleibtrue performance following up his
Goebbels last year in "Judd Suess --a film without a conscience".

An eyeopener in Panorama was "The Devil's Double" by New Zealand
director Lee Tamahori.  The setting is Baghdad at the beginning of the
nineties and the devil in question is Uday Hussain, murderously depraved and
psychotic son of dictator Sadam Hussein. Since he is universally hated and in
constant fear of assassination he needs to have a double to stand in for him in
public. The perfect look-alike double turns out to be Latif, a Kurd who is
pressed into life of dangerous luxury with full access to Uday's harem -- but
only when his family is threatened.  English actor Dominic Cooper (32)
plays both roles in perfect counterpoint and is likely to go big-time
after thus, if the film is not shunned for its extremely dim view of an Islamic
society and implicit approval of Bush's Gulf War against which he film is
set. Geographically the location was the Mediterraneum Isle of Malta the only
country in Europe where a variety of Arabic is official. Fifty two year old
Australian actor Philip Quast delivers a nearly credible Saddam Hussain when
called upon and bosomy French actress Ludivine Sagnier provides the love
interest, what there is of it. 

A major Bollywood film, also in Panorama,  was Vishal Bharwaj's "7
Khoon Maaf" (Seven Sins Forgiven) starring one of Bombay's top female
stars Priyanka Chopra in anothe mind-bending role as a serial husband
killer --a sort of Indian Bluebeard in drag.  Details later. The director
is a Bollywood maverick who has made two Shakespeare adaptations, Othello and
Nacbeth.  Another film from India called Ghanda (Asshole) was a film that
only a junkie could love. Se in the darkest underbelly of Kolkata (Calcutta) to
a ear splitting rock soundtrack with horrible visuals of closeps of noases,
this was one Asshole of aq film and a walkout --or a stumble out, after ten

As for the prizes: As expected the Iranian film "JODAEIYE NADER AZ
SIMIN" took the Golden Baer(Bear) for best film, but unexpectedly both
silver bears for best actor and actress wre awarded to the entire ensemble
casts of the film, male and female!
Wonder what The Mullahs in Tehran will have to say about that!
In the official program but out of competition was the large budget Berlin set
thriller "Unknown" in which biologist Liam Neeson has his identity
stolen by a team of ultra evil  bio-terrorists and is saved from the
freezing waters of the Spree when his cab skids on the ice and plunges off a
bridge --  by beautiful illegal Bosnian cab-driver (Diane Kruger). As
the action progresses


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About Berlin

Chatelin Bruno

Berlin 2019: The dailies from the Berlin Film Festival brought to you by our team of festival ambassadors. Vanessa McMahon, Alex Deleon, Laurie Gordon, Lindsay Bellinger and Bruno Chatelin...
Ambiance, film reviews, trailers and podcasts, EFM insider information, and much more.
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