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February 15, 2018

Berlin Film Festival

The next big film festival after Sundance every years is the Berlin Film Festival, also known as Berlinale for short. Celebrating its 68th year, the Berlin Film Festival kicked off today (Thursday, February 15th) in Potsdamer Platz in the middle of the city. This is my fifth year in a row covering Berlinale, it's always a good time, the festival runs smoothly and all of the venues are top notch. Most of their screenings are on time, they're always totally packed, but the crowds are focused on the film and ready to enjoy some cinema. This is a festival for the city, for locals to attend, but there's also a huge contingent of press who fly in from all over the world see a few world premieres. I'm just happy to keep watching more films at another great fest.

After returning from Sundance, I'm usually very excited for Berlinale. However, the line-up for 2018 is not that impressive. There's not much I'm excited to see, honestly, which is not usually the case. And there's not much in the competition that seems too promising. All of my most anticipated films are showing on opening day: Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs (which I can't wait to see), Lars Kraume's The Silent Revolution, and Isabel Coixet's The Bookshop. There's also a few Sundance films that I'm catching up with here: Josephine Decker's Madeline's Madeline and Lauren Greenfield's documentary Generation Wealth, plus Idris Elba's Yardie. And in competition, there are a few I'm curious about: Christian Petzold's Transit, Steven Soderbergh's Unsane, and some odd German film called My Brother's Name Is Robert and He Is an Idiot (which I want to see for the title alone). Find the full selection of films on their website

As usual, you can follow my updates from Berlinale on Twitter @firstshowing throughout the festival. I'll be posting reviews and other blog recaps on the site as the festival continues on. Based on the mediocre line-up this year, I have a feeling Berlinale might be a bit more low key. I'm just going to keep seeing films and if there's any real gems or anything that really stands out, I'll try and bring attention to it and write about it. The rest of them, well, maybe you'll catch a few at another film festival near you. Not everything can be a masterpiece, and sometimes you might end up seeing a batch of bad films. But as always, I love film festivals and I love being back in the mix of people and cinema and all the excitement about what's on the big screen.

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ISLE OF DOGS is the one for me. That one just sounds interesting and Anderson's films are always a must watch.

DAVIDPD on Feb 15, 2018


I'm curious about Erik Poppe's Utøya movie, been some controversy surrounding it here in Norway recently. I'm eager to watch it though. Apparently most of the movie is shot in one take. They did one long take each day for five days straight and went with the one that turned out best, which sounds interesting. Hope you see/review it, Alex.

Efterklang on Feb 15, 2018


Ah wow! I haven't heard of this one, maybe I need to add it to my list. Thanks for the tip. Edit: Ohhhh wiat! This is the one they added last minute, right? Yes. I'm seeing the press screening of it next week.

Alex Billington on Feb 15, 2018


Ahh, what a great beginning it was yesterday and a worthy opening film! My list so far includes " Utøya ", "He won't get far on foot", "Genezis" and "14 Apples" ... and whatever else I can make time for ... favorit time of year in Berlin!

Darth Steef on Feb 15, 2018


Yes! Enjoy! Let us know what you see and if it's any good.

Alex Billington on Feb 16, 2018


Saw Hong Sang-soo's 'Grass' yesterday, and can recommend for a low-key drama with bits of humor and a non-traditional narrative structure. It's playing at the fest once again next Sunday (though tickets are sold out, I see).

Terry Craig on Feb 19, 2018


Haven't heard anything about it yet. But I want to see it! Might just be released by A24 without going to film festivals. Will be watching for it.

Alex Billington on Feb 16, 2018

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