Over the past 12 days, we’ve watched over 25 films at the Berlin Film Festival, a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some of the most daring, authentic and unique films from all around the world. As we leave Berlin and look forward to Cannes, here’s our round-up of the best 10 films we saw and loved at the Berlinale.
Check out our coverage of the 68th Berlin International Film Festival here.
And now, the top 10 films of the festival by our reviewer, Mina Takla.
#10 3 DAYS IN QUIBERON – Germany
The life of late German actress Romy Schneider could have been done in a dull, lifeless manner but Emily Atef manages to make this film such a sweet, emotional and relatable film that explores fame in really engaging ways. A lovely film and a tribute to a wonderful and truly complex actress. (review)
#9 SUNDAY’S ILLNESS – Spain
The most cinematic film of the festival with stunning shots and beautiful scene composition. Brilliantly acted and smartly written, this is a whole new take on motherhood. See it on Netflix this June.
#8 BOYS CRY – Italy
This is a wonderful surprise and a testament to how powerful Italian cinema can depict the lives of marginalized communities. A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat and engrossing gangster drama that celebrates friendship and unconditional love. (review)
#7 THE HEIRESSES – Paraguay
It’s one of the most rewarding experiences at the Berlinale especially if you’re a patient viewer with a knack for character studies and low-key dramas. A fascinating film about an elderly woman who realizes it’s never too late to make new choices in life. If Paraguay submits it for the FLF race, it stands a good chance too. (review)
#6 WHAT COMES AROUND – Lebanon/Egypt
A raw, touching and dense documentary that stays away from politics and focuses on the everyday lives of residents of Rod El Farag, one of Cairo’s poorest residential areas. A dignified and humane look at how community support can do wonders. (review)
#5 UTOYA – 22 JULY – Norway
The most singular viewing experience we’ve had at the Berlinale. A breathless, relentless, single-take film depicting the true events of the July 22, 2011 massacre on Norway’s Utoya island. A masterful film that can do very well in the FLF race. (review)
#4 IN THE AISLES – Germany
A charming film that was, to us, one of the biggest surprises of the festival. Thomas Stuber made the lives of supermarket workers in Germany truly engaging, touching and relatable. A superb dramedy that can do very well in arthouse markets. No wonder it was acquired before its premiere for a US theatrical release by Music Box. (review)
#3 MUSEUM – Mexico
Incredibly entertaining and thoughtful analysis of the Mexican identity. With extremely well executed heist scenes, amazing family drama, symbolism and superbly written dialogue, we adored this film. There’s never a dull moment in it, and its themes give it weight and gravitas. If Mexico submits it for the FLF race, watch out. (review)
#2 ISLE OF DOGS – USA
Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is one of the best animated feature films we’ve seen in a long time. It’s audacious, deep, engaging and very timely. This is not your Disney film with happy endings and simplified characters – it’s much more than that and it works marvelously. A sure-fire Oscar contender. (review)
#1 MUG (Twarz) – Poland
This tragicomic true story of Poland’s first man to ever undergo a face transplant had shades of brutal stark social commentary as well as brilliant comedy that hits all the right notes. An utter delight from start to finish and our favorite film of the festival. Expect it to be a strong FLF Oscar contender if Poland submits it. (review)
[author title=”Mina Takla” image=”http://”]Mina Takla is a foreign correspondent for AwardsWatch and the co-founder of The Syndicate, an online news agency that offers original content services to several film brands including Empire Magazine’s Middle East edition and the Dubai Film Festival. Takla has attended, covered and written for multiple film festivals online including the Dubai International Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Annecy Film Festivals. He has been following the Oscar race since 2000 with accurate, office-pool winning predictions year after year. He writes monthly in Empire Arabia, the Arabic version of the world’s top cinema magazine and conducts press junkets with Hollywood stars in the UK and the US. He holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Marketing from Australia’s Wollongong University and is currently based in Dubai, UAE.[/author]