by Johannes Scholten –
Amazing, auspicious, Australia! This year’s contribution from Down Under is truly original and diverse. The 65th Berlinale presents six shorts, four feature films, and one documentary from Australia.
Described as a story of love, art and fear, Brodie Higgs’ feature-debut Elixir explores a scenario in which four of the most influential surrealists clash in modern day Berlin, joined by a mysterious stranger from Bosnia. With a beautiful set-design by Sebastian Soukup, Elixir is a daring and strange film with Jarmusch-like eccentricity, yet remains anchored in the reality of everyday life.
In stark contrast to Higgs’ feature is Robert Connolly`s Paper Planes, a feel-good-movie about a boy’s archetypal dream of flying and his troubled relationship with his father.
Wim Wender’s epic Australian co-produced science-fiction road movie Until the End of the World will be screened as part of Berlinale goes Kiez in its entire 287-minute-long director’s cut.
The highly anticipated Life by Dutch photographer and director Anton Corbijn is part of the Berlinale Special program. Starring Robert Pattinson as Life magazine’s photographer Dennis Stock who travels across the United States, shooting some of the most iconic pictures of James Dean.
Culinary Cinema offers another treat with That Sugar Film! as one of its main courses. In Super Size Me fashion, director and protagonist Damon Gameau lives through the consequences of consuming the equivalent of 40 tablespoons of sugar per day over a period of two months.
Guess what: sugar can actually be unhealthy!
In the short sections Generation Mix and Shorts Kplus 3 we see how children are emotionally affected by their exposure to show business. In the riveting and authentic short The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul, six little girls audition for the role of Oksana Baiul, Ukraine’s first Olympic medalist in figure skating after the country gained independence in 1991.
In the American-Swiss-Australian co-production La Isla esta Encantada con Ustedes, or The Island is Enchanted with You, Australian colonial and post-colonial themes are examined through a contemporary pictorial language.
Also modern examples of cultural disparities between indigenous and white Australians are discussed in Dylan River`s Nulla Nulla and Michael Portway’s Wawi. An animated version of Oscar Wilde`s infamous myth of The Nightingale and the Rose by Del Kathryn Barton and Brendan Fletcher impresses with magnificent imagery and an A-list cast, including Geoffrey Rush and David Wenham, voicing the characters.
Family is the focus in Driftwood Dustmites by Malina Maria Machiewicz, in which a girl struggles with her father’s new relationship after the death of her mother.
With this diverse range of films, you will not be disappointed with what Berlinale has to offer from Down Under! If you’d like to share which are your Berlinale favourites this year please leave a message below.
Johannes Scholten has studied American and cultural studies and film at universities in both Germany and the USA. Johannes also has gained much experience working in practical jobs on the set of films or with distributors as well as writing for German press.