Berlinale Day 6

Berlinale Day 6

Director Aki Kaurismäki

How do you start a day in the surreal?  Attend a Aki Kaurismaki press conference.  The Finnish directors film The Other Side of Hope debuted at the Berlinale today, his first film in Competition.    The feedback I have gotten concerning the pic has been mixed to good.  The Nordic auteur was nothing if not genuine.  The entire press conference was more entertaining than many films at the festival.  I have never attended a press conference where a person stood up to sing a Finnish Tango song.

The films premise is that of a Syrian Refugee (An Everyday Topic in Europe) played by Sherwan Haji,  who arrives in  Finland only to go into hiding at a restaurant when he learns he will be deported.  The Other Side of Hope is part of a trilogy.  When the other 2 films will happen is a guess.

The press conference took on political tones of nationalism, xenophobia, and racism in the form of questions and answers from both the press and the panel.  The helmer commented, in Finland with the arrival of many male refugee, the men of the country took it as an act of war. His film was not about changing the world’s opinion on refugees, only Europe’s opinion on refugees.  Tomorrow it could be you who is the refugee.  Today it is him, said the director.

The second press conference, The Lost City of Z, with Robert Pattison and Charlie Hunnam as early 2oth century explorers is a bit of an old Hollywood adventure epic picture. Did the press pool like it?  I got positive feedback. Director James Gray tackles the White Man Burden’s/Destiny themes by dissecting it. Based on the adventures of Percy Fawcett who disappeared in the Brazilian Jungle while searching for a lost civilazation in the early part of the 20th century.

The Lost City of Z was screened out of Competition at the Berlinale.

Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve returned to the Berlinale starring in the Martin Provst film The Mid Wife.   Judging by the initial applause of the film and the lack of audience at the press conference, I would guess the film is not one of her best features.  What made the press conference was the presence of a Diva wearing a Black Leather Dress with such commanding presence one would dare not notice her.  At this stage of her career I was curious what motivated her, thankfully, another journalist asked her.  She responded by saying, I choose the director more than the character. Concerning her acting, “There is always a bit of me in a film”.  I understand Beatrice Sobolevski, the lead character from the film, but I am far from her, said Deneuve.

Catherine Froth

The Mid Wife also stars Catherine Froth and Olivier Gourmet.  In Competition at the 67th Berlinale.






The Party received 2.3 stars from critics.  A surprisingly low rating given the level of applause at the press conference.

Mr. Long from Japan received  2.0 stars from the critical review polling.  The film is a story of a man trying to find a new life, starring Chang Chen.

There is still no front runner for the Golden Bear.  Trying to guess what the jury will favor this year has proven to be a difficult task.