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Phillip Bergson

Writing about Films and Festivals.


Film Critic, UK,Invited Member  of  The UK Critics' Circle

FIPRESCI abd the European Film Academy.

Visiting Lecturer, Prague Film School.


Winner of the  "Student Journalist of the Year" competition in the UK weekly New Statesman, as a Classics Scholar Phillip Bergson then founded the Oxford Film Festival and, on graduating, was selected by "The Sunday Times" as a 'New Critic' and in the same week began broadcasting on film for many BBC Radio programmes. A contributor to the "Times Literary Supplement", "TES",The Spectator,film critic on "The Sunday Standard", "Screen International",Variety, "Film Bulletin", "Film a Doba" inter alia, and on the FilmFestJOURNAL in Berlin and Screen Dailies at Cannes,he also worked for the "European Script Fund", has scripted shorts and features (that have been produced and released) and, fluent in eight-and-a-half languages, currently programmes and advises several international film festivals and is.Casting Consultant on several international features. At the National  Museum of Photography, Film and Television, in his native Yorkshire, he created the "Eurovisions" project, to promote classic and contemporary European cinema,which was inaugurated at the Cine Lumiere in London by His Excellency the President of Iceland.

Presenter and Programmer,London Turkish Film Week, December 2018

Co=programmer, 2nd London Turkish Film Week, April 2019

Artistic Director, 3rd London Turkish Film Week, planned for 1-7 June 2020.

As a FIPRESCI Jury Member

and a member of  International Juries at

Thessaloniki, Europa Cinema (Rimini), Munich Documentary, Manaki Brothers,Cine Jove (Valencia),Chicago, TIFF-ODA


Mannheim Revisited

There is no doubt that the current International Filmfestival MANNHEIM-HEIDELBERG has capably regained its position as the second most significant cinema event in Germany, after the Berlinale. From 16th to 25th November, 2006 these lovely cities in Badem-Wurtemberg (a short drive from the vast Frankfurt airport) are home to an impeccably organised celebration of art-house cinema,which has reached its 55th edition with renewed vigour and a welcome sense of style. A legendary birthing event for numerous German -and international- fledgling directors, it was always a well respected, not memorably glamorous powerhouse for new and serious cinema.Some dozen years ago,the brilliant idea to expand the event to nearby Heidelberg, the Oxford of Germany and one of the loveliest,brainiest cities in Europe, encouraged a dynamic renovation of the structure and programming, and now ,under director Dr Michael Koetz ,it is clear that the festival enjoys the renewed support of audiences, sponsors, press and film-makers. There are nightly parties in the Stadhaus, a modern civic building housing a library and rooftop discotheque, which has a large auditorium ,numerous well-lit rooms (for the much enlarged Mannheim Meetings, where some 300 professionals are pitching projects or screening arthouse productions), cordial drink and food corners.,and a miniature podium for the regular post-film Talk Shows,which are conducted in English.
Three other real cinemas elsewhere participate in Mannheim(with four screens) and a shuttle bus provides free transport to Heidelberg,where five screens are divided between three more art-houses.In a much improved International Competition ,there are some 20 new features(Macedonian star Labina Mitevska imports some glamour onto the Official Jury),almost as many in the International Discoveries section,with hommages to Krzysztof Kieslowski,whose first feature was prized in Mannheim in 1975, and to Alexander Sokhurov, who received the honour of "Master of Cinema" on the opening weekend.FIPRESCI and other parallel juries follow the films.
The official opening film is a most beguiling German co- production , SCHROEDER`s WONDERFUL WORLD, the second film by Michael Schorr, which with its 3-land-setting and actors from Germany,Poland, and Czech Republic, splendidly mirrors the essential internationalism of this otherwise rather bourgeois city, which was laid out on a grid system some years before New York,I understand, with addresses within the Quadrat designed by a letter and a number.(The Odeon is found at G7,for example,though I didn´t find it yet).
Sardonically set in the grey landscape of Silesia,the film amusingly chronicles the efforts of a would-be businessman to persuade an American billionaire(excellently played by LA-based German star Jurgen Prochnow)to invest in the region by funding an artifically-heated holiday complex.Full of offbeat comic incidents and self-mocking humour(poking fun at Poles,Czechs and Germans too,)the film is simply a delight-though one hopes that the many film-makers, milling in Mannheim , will see their own celluloid dreams take more solid form than Schroeder's.

About Phillip Bergson