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Berlinale 2023: a few films to pay attention to

Our correspondent Anastasia Sviridova attended the Berlinale 2023 and shares us her little digest about the films she highlighted in Berlin this year.

Reality is a solid docudrama about American intelligence officer Reality Lee Winner, who, working as a translator, seized classified materials from a government agency and sent them to a news agency. The events unfold in 2017, when Russian interference in the US elections was explored.

Tina Satter captivatingly and tenaciously managed to transfer the theatrical play to the screen and managed to keep the attention of the audience during the interrogation, which takes place in fact in one location with three characters: Reality herself (Sydney Sweeney) and two FBI agents (Josh Hamilton and Marchant Davis). The film dramatically immerses us in this place and time, makes us feel our presence in the house where the survey is taking place.

The sister and parents of the real Winner also attended the world premiere in Berlin. Sweeney revealed after the show that she contacted the real Reality on numerous occasions to prepare for the role.

Ingeborg Bachmann – Journey into the Desert by Margaretha von Trotta is the story of a famous Austrian writer, told through her relationship with Max Frisch, a Swiss writer.

This is less of a biographical movie and more of a feminist statement repeated over and over again.

The story of Ingeborg (Vicky Krieps) is about global misfortune and the rejection of a woman on an equal footing with a man, the “strangling” of a person, abuse, but at the same time about an amazing talent, strength and desire for healing. A very skillful non-linear narration gives the film volume and “air”, but in the end it does not call for thinking about the problem, as it reveals it very directly and specifically.

In any case, this is definitely an important film about a topic of feminism that is always with us, that needs to be talked about, and it fits perfectly into the concept of the Berlinale.

In my opinion, Inside is a great film. If we’re talking about the plot, here an art thief gets stuck in a highly airtight skyscraper apartment of a successful artist.

This is a silently screaming film about finding and losing a human-self in the depths of the soul in complete isolation. This is a manifesto about any creativity and art that is impossible without destruction or self-destruction. Each of us fills this story with our thoughts and words, while Willem Dafoe gives out an incredible performance, his sharp face fascinates with every cell.

Inside is a film about madness and loneliness, about energy, its sources and outlets, about the physical and spiritual transformation of both a person and the microcosm surrounding him.

Seneca by Robert Schwentke shows us a theatre on the screen. It is a metaphorical, punk-antique statement about the hypocrisy and rotten morals of society, a film in which there are a lot of sharp and defiant monologues / dialogues. And there is a very little action: in fact, everything is in the same location where Seneca lived with his followers, and where, at the behest of Nero, he had to die. It looks very fresh, unexpected, sometimes funny, but not easy to perceive. And yes, once again, we all understand that one thing is said and another is done: both by politicians and society. In any case it seems that the theatre looks perfect only in the theatre.

Passages by Ira Sachs is a beautiful, frank and hysterical story about a love triangle of Ben Whishaw, Franz Rogowski and Adele Exarchopoulos. Three young people from the creative world share a difficult stage in their personal history here. The character and performance of Rogowski keeps the dynamics of the whole film: from laughter to pity and indignation. His character makes us experience a wide range of emotions. The bottom line is that the story is rather banal and very French, but the sensual scenes and casts make the film a curious opus about the exploration of character and sexuality. By the way, the actors in the frame really had sex, and this gives the film a certain wow effect.

Le grand chariot by Philippe Garrel is a very personal and warm movie dedicated to the family. It was warmly welcomed by the public. I think everyone was able to see something of their own, echoing with family and loved ones. Philippe Garrel took all three of his children in the film: Louis, Lena and Esther and actually told a story inspired by the life of his family. This is a beautiful existential dialogue about creativity, vocation, the struggle of personal desires with duty, family business and the possibility of continuing it, and, of course, love. Again I remembered how much I love Louis Garrel on the screen (and how wonderful that his character was also named Louis and he wanted to become an actor!). In general, I can recommend this film if you want some simple, piercing, sometimes Frenchly humorous story about life.

Text: Anastasia Sviridova

The official posters and trailers

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