Friday, February 15, 2013

2013 Berlinale: Day 8 Report

Recap of day 8 of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 17.

Harmony Lessons - A rare debut feature in the main competition programme, from Kazakh writer director Emir Baigazin, tells the poetic story of a small town teenage boy who is bullied, and from the early buzz this has been getting, sounds like it could be a strong contender for the Golden Bear.

Dark Blood - Screening out of competition, from Dutch director George Sluizer, a never before released film that began production in 1993, and features the final role of River Phoenix. Salvaged by the director and reassembled with still images and his own voice to connect missing footage together.

  • Day 8 - Thursday, February 14

  • Competition Film
    Uroki Garmonii • Harmony Lessons
    directed by Emir Baigazin
    Kazakhstan, Germany, France

    Critical response:
    "Feels firmly embedded in its own aesthetic logic, a mixture of oneiric surrealism and unforced realism that gets across exactly what it might be like to live in the Kazakh sticks." - Leslie Felperin (Variety)

    "Derives much of its impact from a script that keeps us guessing throughout and from the committed performances of its non-professional adolescent cast." - Lee Marshall (Screen Daily)

    "That the director is not yet 30 makes it all the more exciting to see a work with such clarity of vision and precise command of film as both a visual and emotional storytelling medium." - David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)

    "Dark, and at times verging on the surreal, this mash up of Eastern European cinema meets the revenge titles of modern Japanese cinema is strong stuff." - Joseph Walsh (Grolsch Filmworks)

    Anelya Adilbekova, Timur Aidarbekov
    (Source: Dominik Bindl/Getty Images Europe)

    Out of Competition
    Dark Blood
    directed by George Sluizer

    Critical response:
    "An engagingly modest low-key thriller, a curio item that’s half art house, half genre-jumper and entirely watchable despite the absence of several key scenes." - Jordan Mintzer (The Hollywood Reporter)

    "Fragmentary, uneven and downright odd in parts but it's also has huge curiosity value. " - Geoffrey Macnab (The Guardian)

    "Almost polished enough to be regarded as a finished film." - Ard Vijn (Twitch Film)

    "Steering clear of sensationalism, Dark Blood is the kind of quirky indie fare that studios would still care to green-light in the 1990s." - Massimo Benvegnú (CineVue)

    Florencia di Concilio, Edward Lachman, George Sluizer, Jonathan Pryce
    (Source: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe)

Our other coverage of the 63rd Berlinale:


365 moviesandsongs365 said...

Not sure what to make of Dark Blood. If it really was a great film, I think the director would have been keen to get it out sooner.Why wait so long? For fans of River Phoenix, or the director, I guess it's an oddity worth exploring.

The Angry Lurker said...

A movie in production that long, the River Phoenix thing caught me by surprise though!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I think the main reason is that the studio (not the director) had full control of the footage until recently. But you're right, if it was going to be a great film, somebody would have fought to get it finished before now.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

It actually wasn't in production all that time. Just gathering dust somewhere until the director decided to do something with it.

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