Silver, Bauer, Schimberg, Aksornsawang, Bussmann, Samaras


Silver, Bauer, Schimberg, Aksornsawang, Bussmann, Samaras

Silver, Bauer, Schimberg, Aksornsawang, Bussmann, Samaras

Silver, Bauer, Schimberg, Aksornsawang, Bussmann, Samaras – The Film Programme of the 5th Berlin Critics’ Week Is Complete

For a cinema of soft images and matriarchs. For the charm of the tactless. For resistance against disappearance. For light in darkness. For crazy film fantasies. The fifth Berlin Critics’ Week brings films together across seven evening programmes, stimulating discussions about the possibilities of cinema.

Nathan Silver’s new film The Great Pretender is a dreamy, soft-focus journey into the souls of young lovers in Brooklyn’s art scene, somewhere between play and make believe, sexes and genres. Silver (Uncertain Terms) remains true to himself and, with a dynamic ensemble revolving around Esther Garrel, champions a type of US independent cinema that indulges in playfulness and keeps manifesting its awareness of form in surprising ways. His feature, which screens on an evening that will explore inventive cinema and the privileges of its makers, is coupled with a short: Maman, Maman, Maman, through which Lucia Margarita Bauer gives evidence of her eccentric inventiveness. Her film essay is interested in the impossibility of objective biographies and tells the story of her grandmother, who exerted a deep influence on her children’s and grandchildren’s worldviews.

Aaron Schimberg (Go Down Death) knows that neither society nor cinema are non-discriminatory spaces. However, his new film, Chained for Life, does not function as a reckoning with, but almost as an overcoming of the film industry. In this homage to Tod Browning’s classic Freaks, the tactless charm of exploitation cinema serves Schimberg well as a means of articulating a sharp commentary on American society’s political present. Words by the film critic Pauline Kael introduce a film about the horrors of naivety and the strength necessary to rebel against dominant appearances.

In Nakorn-Sawan, the debut by the Thai HFBK graduate Puangsoi Aksornsawang, nothing is as it seems. A young artist travels to Thailand with her camera to look at her family, her culture and her ideas of home. Soon, it turns out that the documentary has become a game in which the director scrutinises paths of life in patiently shot compositions. A commanding, ambiguous work, which is screening together with Gürcan Keltek’s experimental film Gulyabani – an evening that will regard cinema as resistance against disappearance.

Andrea Bussmann (Tales of Two Who Dreamt, co-directed with Nicolás Pereda) studied anthropology. In Fausto, she carefully films people and animals on the Mexican coast, dissolves the separation between them, searches for wildness and rituals, for invisible and impossible images on the edge of darkness. We are interested in how her film relates to ethnographic documentaries and in why, contrary to Western modern epistemology theories, it can sometimes be important to grope in the dark.

With Magic Skin, we welcome to the Berlin Critics’ Week a former critic colleague who has switched over to directing. Konstantinos Samaras adapts Balzac’s novel of the same name and sends a young writer on a mad journey to the brink of survival. His film confronts the Greek Weird Wave with a confident style, connects to the work of the cinema anarchist Nikos Panayotopoulos, and inspires comparisons to the unbridled cinematic fantasies of Andrzej Żuławski.

New Members of the Programming Team

When assembling its selection committee, the Berlin Critics’ Week follows the principle of a rotating programming team. In addition to the founding members Dunja Bialas, Frédéric Jaeger and Dennis Vetter, this year Katarina Hedrén and Daniela Persico were part of the selection committee.

Katarina Hedrén
Swedish film critic and festival programmer of Ethiopian origin, based in Johannesburg. She worked as the director of the European Film Festival in South Africa, is a recurring member of the Durban International Film Festival and the Tri-Continental Human Rights Film Festival’s film selection committees, and works as a project coordinator for the Goethe-Institut South Africa.

Daniela Persico
Film critic and programmer, based in Milan. She has been curator of L’immagine e la parola, a spin-off of the Locarno Film Festival, since 2012, and will be part of the selection committee of Locarno as of 2019. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the online quarterly Filmidee and also manages the Filmidee Summer School in Sardinia. She is on the selection committee of Lovers Film Festival – LGBTQI New Vision in Turin and IsReal Festival in Nuoro.

The 5th Berlin Critics’ Week will take place from 6 to 14 February 2019. The film programme starts on Thursday 7 February at the Hackesche Höfe cinema.

Press contact: Jendrik Walendy,

The Berlin Critics’ Week is an event organised by the Association of German Film Critics, supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, the Stiftung Kulturwerk of the VG Bild-Kunst and the Rudolf Augstein Stiftung.

All the films of the Berlin Critics’ Week 2019 at a glance

Dir: Theresa Traore Dahlberg, BF/SE 2018, 16 min., French with English subs – German premiere

Dir: Susanne Heinrich, DE 2019, 80 min., German with English subs

Dir: Aaron Schimberg, US 2018, 91 min., English – German premiere

Dir: Andrea Bussmann, MX/CA 2018, 70 min., Spanish/English/Arabic/French with English subs – German premiere

Dir: Gürcan Keltek, NL/TR 2018, 35 min., Turkish with English subs – German premiere

Dir: Nathan Silver, US 2018, 71 min., English – German premiere

Dir: Konstantinos Samaras, GR 2018, 90 min., Greek with English subs – International premiere

Dir: Lucia Margarita Bauer, DE 2019, 37 min., French/German with English subs – German premiere

Dir: Puangsoi Rose Aksornsawang, TH/DE 2018, 77 min., Thai with English subs – European premiere

Dir: Jovana Reisinger, DE 2018, 29 min., German with English subs

Dir: Albert Serra, ES/PT 2018, 61 min., n/a – German premiere

Dir: Virgil Vernier, FR 2018, 98 min., French with English subs – German premiere