Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014 Berlin International Film Festival: Day 6


Recap of the sixth day of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 16.

Screening In Competition today:

  • Praia do Futuro by Karim Aïnouz.

    Titled after a beach located in the director's hometown of Fortaleza in Northeastern Brazil. Karim Aïnouz makes his first trip to Berlin with a story about a relationship between a local lifeguard and a German tourist.

    Official Synopsis:
    Donato works as a life guard patrolling the spectacular but treacherous Praia do Futuro beach. When he dives into the sea after two men caught in the undercurrent, he saves Konrad, a German vacationing in Brazil, but Konrad’s friend is lost to the sea.
  • Stratos (To Mikro Psari) by Yannis Economides.

    Also making his Berlinale debut is Cypriot director Yannis Economides. Stratos is the story of a baker/hitman who tries to raise funds in order to help his friend break out of prison.

    Official Synopsis:
    At age 19, Stratos committed a crime of passion. He spent half his life in prison, where underground boss Leonidas took him under his wing. One day during a rival gang attack, Leonidas saved his life. Stratos never forgot this.
    A free man now, Stratos works the night shift at a bakery workshop, a far cry from the killing contracts he executes by day. He gives away all his money to spring Leonidas out of prison, funding an escape plan managed by Leo’s brother, Yorgos.
    The fulfillment of his debt is the only thing that matters to Stratos, everything else is indifferent and he lives detached, surrounded by ghosts and fallacies. The day of the escape, the most important day of his life, is near...
  • Inbetween Worlds (Zwischen Welten) by Feo Aladag.

    Austrian actress turned director Feo Aladag (When We Leave), steps up from the Panorama to the Main Competition with her second feature film. Inbetween Worlds is the story of a German soldier stationed in a remote village in Afghanistan, starring Ronald Zehrfeld.

    Official Synopsis:
    German soldier Jesper signs up for a mission in Afghanistan, despite having lost his brother during an operation in the war-torn country. Jesper and his squad are assigned to protect a village outpost from increasing Taliban influence. With the help of young and inexperienced interpreter Tarik, Jesper seeks the trust of the local community and the allied Afghani militia. More than ever, he discovers the immense differences between the two worlds. When the lives of Tarik and his sister Nala are threatened by the Taliban, conflicted Jesper is torn between his military obligations and his conscience.

  • Day 6 - Tuesday, February 11
Competition Film
Praia do futuro
directed by Karim Aïnouz
Brazil, Germany

Critical response:
"At its best, when concentrated on deep focus shots and compositional symmetry, this overly developed sense of style lures us into a vividly drawn world."Patrick Gamble (CineVue)
"The three leads are strong, if inevitably impeded by the script’s refusal to dig for anything other than impressionistic insights."David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)
"Altogether a visually elegant film, with equal emphasis on the characters and on the landscapes, maritime and urban, that they inhabit."Jonathan Romney (Screen Daily)

Competition Film
Stratos (To mikro psari)
directed by Yannis Economides
Greece, Cyprus, Germany

Critical response:
"This may not be Chinatown, but Economides has summoned forth a nightmarish vision of a European nation in near-complete collapse."Daniel Green (CineVue)
"What comes out is a series of righteous statements tied together by several, vastly overlong, intersecting and highly defused plots, which are never explored on their own and don’t always make much sense."Dan Fainaru (Screen Daily)
"Economides opts for low-key naturalism, dragging out the running time to over two hours, draining away any guilty pleasure and replacing it with somber self-seriousness."Stephen Dalton (The Hollywood Reporter)
"There is a talent here that can not be denied, in service of a movie that cannot be redeemed."Scott Foundas (Variety)

Competition Film
Inbetween Worlds (Zwischen Welten)
directed by Feo Aladag
Germany

Critical response:
"Even-handed to a fault, though outstanding work from Ahmady and Zehrfeld ensures they at least feel more like characters than constructs."Guy Lodge (Variety)
"All the soldiers seem unusually vulnerable for a war film, not to say wimpy, and their brief ventures into combat, all convincingly shot, emphasize their fear in a very unheroic way."Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)

Screening tomorrow at the Berlinale (Wednesday, February 12):
  • Aloft by Claudia Llosa (In Competition)
  • Black Coal, Thin Ice by Diao Yinan (In Competition)
  • The Third Side of the River by Celina Murga (In Competition)

See our other coverage of the 64th Berlinale:

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