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Berlinale Bloggers 2018
Succumbing to Berlinale’s charms

Isle of Dogs
Isle of Dogs | © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox

What were the highlights of the 2018 Berlinale? Sarah Ward lets us in on what resonated. A wrap-up.

By Sarah Ward

In The Green Fog, Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson craft a glee-inducing cinematic experience out of more than 100 films and television shows. Commissioned by the San Francisco International Film Festival, it compiles its content from clips set in the city, fashioning their fragments into a tribute to and a reworking of one of the most influential of such features: Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. A mélange of the familiar and unknown that oozes affection and artistry, the end result sweeps over cinema-loving viewers like the inescapable titular mist. Succumbing to its bewitching thrall is simply inevitable.

The Green Fog The Green Fog | © Berlinale What better film to play at Berlinale? And, what better film to encapsulate the joys of spending eleven days immersed in cinema in all of its guises? The only other effort that comes close is Maddin and the Johnson siblings’ accompanying short Accidence, which takes the opposite approach — a single ten-minute take that roves between apartment balconies in a nod to Rear Window — to achieve the same final outcome: pure, intoxicating, all-encompassing cinephilia.

AN IMMERSIVE CINEMA COLLAGE

The skill, style and humour evident in The Green Fog’s entrancing collage; the dexterity of Accidence’s lone looping shot: watching them in the thick of Berlinale, the parallels between both and the process of attending the festival couldn’t be more apparent. Once again, Berlinale amassed a wealth of material that washed over audiences. Once again, it gifted patrons the enjoyably hectic onslaught that is running between sessions, devouring as many movies as possible and feeling each day blur into one in the best possible way.

Accidence Accidence | © Julijette Productions

A FEAST OF HIGHLIGHTS

While Maddin and the Johnsons’ double perfectly epitomised the Berlinale experience, it’s not the only highlight of the 2018 festival. Chief among them is opening night’s gorgeously engaging Isle of Dogs, which won Wes Anderson the best director prize, and won hearts and minds with its intricate stop-motion animation and intelligent societal commentary.
 
Elsewhere in the competition, exceptional family drama Daughter of Mine and harrowing recreation U – July 22 narrowed their focus in differing ways, proving two of the festival’s best as a result. For tender workplace romance In the Aisles, contemplative heist flick Museo and restless sibling effort My Brother’s Name Is Robert and He’s An Idiot, their charms stemmed from refreshing familiar genres. Meanwhile, out-of-competition entry Aga took the straightforward approach, tackling its tale of an older Inuit couple with disarming attentiveness.

Profile Profile | © Bazelevs Finally, two others stood out from the masses. The ostensibly provocative but overwhelmingly listless Touch Me Not won the Golden Bear for challenging the way cinema is made, but Unsane and Profile did just that in a more satisfying manner. First, Steven Soderbergh showed that his experimental tendencies haven’t waned, with the director using an iPhone camera to plunge viewers deeper into his commanding psychological thriller. For Timur Bekmambetov, technology again shaped an enthralling effort, unfolding its true story of extremists’ online recruitment tactics purely through a computer screen.
 

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