The 67th Berlin Film Festival, better known as Berlinale, kicks off each year shortly after the Sundance Film Festival ends, and continues with an impressive line-up of independent films, ranging from comedy to drama and even science fiction. This year the festival closed with the premiere of James Mangold‘s R-rated comic entry Logan, which will see the last outing of Hugh Jackman as the immortal and tormented Wolverine, opposite Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Professor Charles Xavier. In addition, director Danny Boyle‘s long-anticipated follow-up to Trainspotting also debuted at the festival, and saw the original cast return for a look at how the characters are dealing with the realities of life 20-years after the drug-induced original. The festival also played host to a solid line-up of independent films. Unfortunately we’re not able to afford the trip (or take the time off) to make it to Berlin for the 10-day celebration, so this all based on reviews and speculation, but here are just a few noteworthy entries we figured were worth mentioning…
On Body and Soul
Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi’s On Body and Soul took home Berlinale’s Golden Bear Award for Best Film at this years festival. Although it’s essentially another love-story film, its setting is definitely intriguing. The films central characters Maria and Endre, played by Alexandra Borbély and Géza Morcsányi respectively, meet and fall in love while working in a Budapest slaughterhouse. Personally I’m not quite sure how a slaughterhouse can turn people on enough to make them fall in love, but hey, to each their own. The film also took home the Berliner Morgenpost Readers’ Jury Award, so if you get a chance to see it in theaters, I would recommend giving it a chance on the big screen, assuming it gets picked up for distribution here in the States.
Return to Montauk
Return to Montauk is a very poignant, touching film that focuses around a very real theme: regret. There are things we regret doing in life, but more often we regret things that we wanted to do, but never did. The common factor here being that we can change neither. The film is directed by Volker Schlöndorff and stars Stellan Skarsgård as an author who comes to New York City and looks to rekindle a relationship with a past love, now a successful lawyer living in Manhattan.
This one seems one of the more intriguing films to me, personally. It tells the story of Swiss artist/sculptor Alberto Giacometti as he creates his final work, a painted portrait of his friend, American novelist James Lord (played by Armie Hammer), who visits him in France in the 1960s. An eccentric artist, Giacometti and Lord spend an unexpected three-weeks together as the painter attempts to work past his perfectionist habits, always a cigarette in hand. At night the two enjoy wine and the company of women as they indulge in the night-life of Paris. Although one might expect a revelatory, or thought-provoking ending, or even a look into the life and artistic style of Giacometti, himself, Final Portrait is rather simply a look at this brief encounter between two friends, driven by Geoffrey Rush’s brilliant performance. Definitely check this one out if you get a chance.
Click here to see a complete list of Berlinale 2017 winners.