Our top picks from Berlinale 2017

Look, there we are – red carpet at last!

Film Hub South East gang at Berlin Film Festival

Fighting off the paparazzi (From L-R: Beth Wilson, Annie Mannion, Malisa Sledmere, Lis Spencer, Rebecca Marshall, Emily Kyriakides)

We met up with some Film Hub South East member venues at #Berlinale2017. Together we’ve collated our tips for navigating your way around a major film festival, plus suggestions for forthcoming films you might want to programme at your cinema.

Beth Wilson, Film Hub South East: My top three films

  1. God’s Own Country (UK, Francis Lee)
    Beautiful, visceral and ultimately heart-warming; what more could you ask for from a rural romance?
  2. Vazante (Brazil, Daniela Thomas)
    This black and white, period piece set on a struggling diamond mine in 1820s Brazil is breathtaking to look at and watch. While the explicit acts of violence are largely off-screen, a terrible sense of unease accompanies this tragic tale from Brazil’s colonial past. Check out this review from BFI.

    On Body and Soul film

    On Body and Soul’s main characters

  3. On Body and Soul (Hungary, Ildikó Enyedi)
    This quirky love story set in an abattoir, proved to be a festival favourite amongst the jury and audiences alike. The unconventional leads are so appealing and although I was sure as to how the film was going to end, the journey along the way was joyfully unpredictable.

Other titles to look out for: Félicité , Requiem for Mrs J, Werewolf and Spoor

Roger Gibson, Chichester New Park Cinema: My top three films

  1. Spoor (Polish/Czech A.Holland)
  2. The Other Side of Hope (Finland/Kaurismaki -35mm!)
  3. The Party (UK/Sally Potter)

Emily Kyriakides, Lighthouse (and member of FHSE Management Board):

A major highlight was watching God’s Own Country by Francis Lee, which I loved! Having followed his shorts over a number of years, it was wonderful to see this very accomplished debut feature on the big screen, beautifully telling a powerful, but tender gay love-story set in a tough, no-nonsense farming community in Yorkshire. Highly recommended viewing when it is released by Picturehouse!

See a clip from God’s Own Country:

God’s Own Country also features some archive farming-in-action footage from Screen Archive South East – worth knowing for connecting a forthcoming screening of the film with related archive content.

Annie Mannion, Film Hub South East: Programming picks

One for Almodóvar fans: Pieles (Skins) (Spain, Casanova) A series of vignettes interweaving the stories of a handful of social misfits, including a lot of lilac, a mermaid fetish, and some truly unforgettable characters – one in particular, which still makes me chuckle!

Pieles stands out from the crowd thanks to its radical aesthetic and bold themes. The characters are lovable and the chapters range from the comically absurd to the morosely heart-wrenching,” – The Upcoming.co.uk

Newton cast

Newton’s main cast and director at Berlinale

For a series of Indian, comedy or political films: Newton (Germany, Masurkar)
This refreshing, gentle comedy about a government clerk on election duty in the conflict ridden jungle of Central India won the Art Cinema award for the Forum section at Berlinale. The great thing about seeing Newton at the festival was the opportunity to hear directly from the director and cast themselves after the screening during a Q&A about their experiences making the film, and the meticulous planning involved.

For a season on unusual romances and/or autism: Don’t let the brutal slaughterhouse surroundings distract from the poetic and tender love story that plays out in On Body and Soul. If you’re programming about diversity issues, then it might be useful to know that one of the couple displays many autistic tendencies, some of which help inform the direction of the plot, and some with amusing consequences.

Malisa Sledmere, No6 Cinema, Portsmouth

“Although it is hard to decide which films to choose at the beginning, the buzz about which films are the best and worth seeing soon starts to get around. I usually asked other queuers what they had seen and what they recommended and by this process the list of films to ‘must see’ gets tighter and better as time goes on.”

“For me seeing some of the festival films was very useful. At No6 we have for a long time wanted to screen a more diverse range of films than the ones that are available through the regular distributors, but I would never dare to screen a festival film just from a trailer. I would definitely want to see it in its entirety before deciding to take a chance on it and being at the festival would enable us to make the best  choices.”

More Berlinale picks from the Film Hub network

Watershed Cinema Curator Mark Cosgrove picks his four to watch out for from Berlinale 2017, plus a full run down of the In Competition films.