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72nd Berlin Film Festival’s first physical edition, was an exciting affair

The Telegraph picks 10 films shown at the festival that we must watch

Santanu Das (t2 Intern) Published 07.03.22, 06:48 AM

The recently concluded 72nd Berlin Film Festival that managed to soldier on with its first physical edition, was an exciting affair. Film-maker M. Night Shyamalan was the president of this year’s competition jury. Payal Kapadia, an FTII alumnus, whose A Night of Knowing Nothing wowed Cannes last year, was part of the International Short Film jury.

Here are 10 films shown at the festival that we cannot wait to watch...


1. Ladies Only

Rebana Liz John’s Ladies Only, which premiered at the Perspektive Deutsches Kino (Perspectives on German Cinema) section, unfolds in a ladies’ compartment in a Mumbai Local. The 77-minute, black-and-white documentary, which is John’s final-year submission at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany, observes women from different strands of society talking about what makes them angry.

2. Both Sides of the Blade

Claire Denis won the coveted Silver Bear for Best Director for Both Sides of the Blade, a sensual and moody relationship drama starring Vincent Lindon and Juliette Binoche, together as a couple for the first time. Things change when a former lover returns... and stays around. Count us interested!

3. Alcarras

This Spanish film directed by Carla Simon won the coveted Golden Bear for best film at this year’s festival. Set in the titular village in Spain, this semi-autobiographical feature revolves around a family of peach farmers whose livelihood is threatened by the landowners’ decision to put solar panels by uprooting the fruit trees. M. Night Shyamalan commended its Golden Bear win for showing “(the) betrayal of our connection and dependence on the land around us”.

4. Flux Gourmet

Premiering at the Encounters section, Peter Strickland’s Flux Gourmet was a big talking point at this year’s festival. Set in an institute devoted to culinary sound performance, Flux Gourmet navigates the maze of relationships that develop between the students and the institute director. It stars Gwendoline Christie, Fatma Mohamed, Asa Butterfield and Ariane Labed.

5. Peter Von Kant

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s classic The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant is reimagined with the roles reversed in Francois Ozon’s Peter Von Kant, which served as the opening film of the festival. Isabelle Adjani and David Menochet star in this revisionist take on creativity and exploitation that received high praise, particularly for Menochet’s performance.

6. Rahiye Kurnaz vs George W Bush

With a title so overtly cool, one would expect nothing ordinary. Walking away with two awards (Best Screenplay and Best Leading Performance) German director Andreas Dresen’s film is about a strong-willed Turkish mother willing to go to any lengths to save her child from wrongful imprisonment in the Guantanamo cells.

7. The Outfit

Directed by Graham Moore (who won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game), and starring the ever reliable Mark Rylance, The Outfit emerged as one of those sure bets in the festival of mounting surprises and upsets. It tells the story of a skilled, ill-fated tailor named Leonard (Rylance) who must navigate his way through a bunch of mobsters.

8. The Passengers of the Night

Charlotte Gainsborough earned rave reviews for her free-spirited turn in The Passengers of the Night, where she plays Élisabeth, a Parisian woman in the early ’80s, trying to get a divorce as well as raise her mercurial children Judith (Megan Northam) and Matthias (Quito Rayon Richter). Critics were divided on this Mikhael Hers directorial, in the pull between narrative oddities and entirely believable performances.

9. Return to Dust

A tender, poignant romantic drama set in rural China, Li Ruijun’s Return to Dust came out of Berlin as one of the best of the festival. Ma Youtie (Wu Renlin) and Cao Guiying (Hai Qing), who find themselves in an arranged marriage, slowly begin to find themselves by opening up about their turbulent past. Lauded for the two central performances, this one has us excited.

10. Myanmar Diaries

Arriving at a time when the entire nation is in huge oppression and dispute, it is quite simply an act of miraculous resistance that a film like Myanmar Diaries exists. The directors have even chosen to keep themselves anonymous. Myanmar Diaries stunned Berlinale with its harrowing, intense documentary footage, and ultimately walked away with the Amnesty International Award for Best Film.

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