We report back from the 62nd Berlinale

Cornerhouse Programme Manager Rachel Hayward is at the 62nd Berlinale and after having sifted through some 30-odd films she’s got some interesting and varied titles to recommend…

Tabu, the Portuguese competition entry from director Miguel Gomes is, I think, a strong contender for the coveted Golden Bear.  Tabu opens in contemporary Lisbon, focusing on Aurora, an eccentric elderly woman with a penchant for gambling which means she is always short of cash. When Aurora falls ill, her devoted neighbour seeks out a man from Aurora’s past and thus the narrative takes us back in time and across Europe to Africa and the film’s thwarted love story unfolds in black and white with some footage shot on 16mm too. The film requires commitment from its audiences, but this to me was in no way a chore.  Due dedication more than pays off with Tabu’s wry humour and captivating story, and I adored the deadpan delivery of the voiceover in the second half – a great piece of filmmaking that I’d watch again and again.

Other notable treats in this year’s competition are: Christian Petzold’s absorbing drama Barbara, which is set in East Germany and tells the story of a doctor (played by Petzold regular Nina Hoss) who is sent to live and work in the provinces as punishment; Ursula Meier’s realist depiction of family life on the breadline in Sister; and the mesmerising Postcards from the Zoo from Indonesian director Edwin.

Outside of the competition screenings, this year’s hot ticket was undoubtedly the trashy comedy Iron Sky – the kind of comedy with jokes that make you laugh out loud and wince at the same time. The film sees the return of Nazis from the dark side of the moon where they’ve been hiding since 1945. When they come to earth looking for a mobile phone to power their gigantic war machine, the earth’s countries unite to retaliate. Iron Sky is worth watching for the hilarious UN scenes alone.

Funded in part by online crowd sourcing (reportedly about one seventh of the overall budget), Iron Sky and its space Nazis already have legions of eager fans ready and waiting to catch the film in cinemas. If you’ve intrigued check out this trailer here.

So space Nazis aside, tomorrow I’ll be watching Kim Nguyen’s War Witch (Rebelle) and I have high hopes for this story of child soldiers in sub-Saharan Africa. I’ll let you know how I get on…

Image courtesy of edmundyeo on Flickr