The complete film program of Berlin Critics’ Week 2018
The fourth film program of Berlin Critics’ Weeks has been finalized. It comes packed with a furtive wink from Quebec’s cinematic off-spaces in a comedy double bill with Serge Bozon’s incisive French humour as well as a bold performance from Isabelle Huppert. Also there are two experimental works from Hungary to discover, a wayward German horror film, and a film essay by Hildesheim’s young performance artists and theatricals.
A female detective stalks a singing bone surmising it to be with that handsome actor with the monkey arm. The young French-Canadian director Olivier Godin (“Les arts de la parole“, “Nouvelles, Nouvelles“) daringly proves his credentials in the absurdist comedy “Waiting for April“ (“En attendant avril“), ratcheted up in the No-Budget-Underground of Quebec. In his fourth film, the director joyfully and radically does away with cinematic conventions. None of his previous films celebrated a world premiere outside of Montreal and for the first time Godin accompanies one of his works outside of North America.
This will be followed, the very same evening by “Mrs. Hyde“ (“Madame Hyde“), the latest work of assured French actor/director Serge Bozon (“Tip Top“, “La France“) part of the group of former film critics appertaining to the journal “La Lettre du cinéma“ – in which for many years film talents flourished. Although the members of the group have as yet have little visibility internationally, in spite of their enormously impressive cinematic styles, Bozon is perhaps most felicitously on the path to changing this, following premieres at Cannes and a distinction at Locarno 2017. Once more, he partners with Isabelle Huppert, who plays here a demonically bitter teacher on the brink of nervous breakdown. After 35 hapless years in the profession, Madame Géquil transforms, during a physics experiment, into the supernatural Madame Hyde. There follows an attack on the school system, the well-meaning bourgeois society, and its films.
Berlin Critics’ Week places special emphasis on the Hungarian director duo Péter Lichter und Bori Máté, who were present as guests already in 2017 and now return with two films. Their jointly produced experimental works “The Rub“ (world premiere) and “8th October 2016“ (“2016. október 8.“, German premiere) will be shown in conjunction with other works to raise questions of filmic grammar and the political potential of cinema.
“The Rub“, Péter Lichter’s second feature film, invokes Shakespeare’s “Hamlet“ and the American film of the late 20th century. Using sharply detourned filmic fragments to leaf through reams of cinematic possibilities, he rolls classical forms into the mix, whereby the voice of Hamlet is that of actor/director Szabolcs Hajdu (“It’s not the Time of my Life“,“White Palms“). The short film „8th October 2016“ functions as an experimental sketch of the demise of Hungarian opposition daily “Népsabadság“. Sheet upon sheet swish by and overwhelm the eye: the filmic assault on the printed page lays bare the often invisible arbitrariness of politics.
Set in the Middle Ages, “Hagazussa“ is the graduation project of Lukas Feigelfeld (German Film and Television Academy Berlin) as it is also the closing film for this year’s Critics’ Week. The grown up daughter of an outsider woman seemingly drifts into madness after being rejected by the village community. Is she cursed? Will she become a witch? Feigelfeld opts for menacing music and dramatic visuals, which grow ever more confrontational as the narration creeps on. With “Hagazussa“ he takes a stance for unconventional artistic solutions, which do not go down smoothly in German film subsidies – hence the film’s partial crowd-funding. Shown exclusively abroad from the get-go (September 2017), the film has its German premiere in Saarbrücken at the start of the year.
Lastly, the collective film “Air Time“ hails from beyond the world of film. Six young performers, some of them members of the “VOLL:MILCH“ theatre initiative (founded in 2011) arranged this filmic essay using fragments of a YouTube video presenting a meeting of the “Mosquito Control District“ in Litchfield, USA. The only two delegates present vie passionately for attention and speaking time – all in the hope that at the other end of the broadcast someone is still watching. Running parallel is live web-cam footage from remote corners of the earth.
New Members of the Programming Team
In its choice of selection committee members, Critics’ Week subscribes to a principle of rotation. Part of the committee during 2017 were film critics Yeşim Tabak (Turkey) und Mathieu Li-Goyette (Quebec) alongside Dunja Bialas, Frédéric Jaeger and Dennis Vetter.
An Istanbulite, Yeşim Tabak has been working for the Turkish media as a film critic & editor since 1999. Within the framework of her project “AOW Productions“, she has been involved in the shooting of films, has curated artistic events and produced video and stage works. She is currently on the team of “Istanbul Silent Cinema Days“ and works as an editor for a monthly cable TV magazine.
Mathieu Li-Goyette lives in Montréal and is editor-in-chief of the online journal Panorama-cinéma. He is responsible for two book projects on Japanese cinema, uniting perspectives from film studies and film criticism. His articles and reviews have been featured in “Hors Champ“, “Pop-en-stock“ and “Sentinelle“. In addition to his doctoral studies in literature and epistemology, he teaches Japanese post-war culture and runs the “Laboratoire sur les récits du soi mobile“.
The Berlin Critics’ Week 2018 takes place from the 14th to the 22nd of February 2018. The program of films starts on Thursday, February 15th at Hackesche Höfe Cinema.
Berlin Critics Week is organized by the German Film Critics’ Association and funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe – Multisector Funding, the Stiftung Kulturwerk of VG Bild-Kunst and the Rudolf Augstein Foundation.
The Films of Berlin Critics’ Week 2018 at a Glance:
8th October 2016 (2016. október 8.)
Director: Péter Lichter, Bori Máté, HU 2017, 2 minutes, original German version – German premiere
Director: VOLL:MILCH, Moritz Friese, Ariane Trümper, Nils Bultjer, DE 2017, 20 minutes, original English version
The Big House
Director: Kazuhiro Soda, Markus Nornes, Terri Sarris, filmmakers from the University of Michigan, USA 2018, 119 minutes, original English version – world premiere
Director: Camilo Restrepo, FR 2017, 19 minutes, Susu – German premiere
Director: Lukas Feigelfeld, DE 2017, 102 minutes, German original with English subtitles
Mrs. Hyde (Madame Hyde)
Director: Serge Bozon, FR/BE 2017, 95 minutes, French original with English subtitles
Director: Péter Lichter, co-director & production design: Bori Máté, HU 2018, 60 minutes, Hungarian original with English subtitles – world premiere
Scary Mother (Sashishi deda)
Director: Ana Urushadze, GE/EE 2017, 107 minutes, Georgian original with English subtitles – German premiere
Searching for Oscar (En busca del Óscar)
Director: Octavio Guerra, ES 2018, 75 minutes, Spanish original with English subtitles – world premiere
Waiting for April (En attendant avril)
Director: Olivier Godin, CA 2018, 78 minutes, French original with English subtitles – world premiere
Yet to Rule (În pronunțare)
Director: Mihaela Popescu, RO 2018, 93 minutes, Romanian original with English subtitles – world premiere