In Liebe eure Hilde: © Pandora Film
Dahomey: © Les Films du Bal-Fanta Sy
Cuckoo: ©NEON
Architecton: © Neue Visionen Filmverleih
Amelias Children: © Magnet Releasing

TOP 5 BERLINALE MUST SEES

Numéro Berlin’s finely curated selection of the top 5 must-watch movies from the international film festival “Berlinale” 2024.

The prestigious festival, that serves as a global stage for groundbreaking films, where visionary storytellers and talented filmmakers converge to showcase their craft.

“CUCKOO” BY TILMAN SINGER

“Cuckoo,” the latest offering from German director Tilman Singer, expands on the audacious style of his 2018 debut, “Luz,” bringing a devil-may-care attitude to coherent plotting and narrative logic. In this energetically outlandish film, Singer combines stylish atmospherics, old-school reproductive horror, and pro-flickknife advertorial elements. The narrative follows Gretchen, played by “Euphoria” star Hunter Schafer, who initially appears to be the cuckoo in the story. As she joins her estranged father’s family at a Bavarian Alpine resort, bizarre occurrences unfold, centered around Gretchen and a mysterious, malevolent screeching blonde woman. The plot weaves through weird and freaky incidents, involving perverse genetic experimentation, copious vomiting, and unexplained phenomena. Despite cinematographer Paul Faltz’s mordantly elegant visuals and Simon Waskow’s ’80s-style synth scoring, Singer doesn’t adhere to conceptual or elevated themes. Instead, the film embraces a chaotic and unexplained approach, delivering a finale with an unnecessarily elongated shoot-out. “Cuckoo” is a wild ride, offering a multitude of bizarre elements that defy explanation, creating a unique and unapologetically convoluted cinematic experience. “Cuckoo“ can be seen across Germany’s cinemas from July 18th on!

 

“DAHOMEY” BY MATI DIOP

A documentary film directed by Mati Diop that delves into the intricate world of art restitution and decolonization. The film centers around the restitution of 26 artworks from the Kingdom of Dahomey, situated in present-day Benin, West Africa. It captures the process of repatriating these artifacts, shedding light on the complex history of their removal during the colonial era. The documentary begins with a powerful narrative device – a statue speaking in Fon, a significant West African language, adding a layer of cultural richness to the storytelling. Through visually compelling scenes, the film explores the juxtaposition between the careful handling of the repatriated artworks and the historical hardships endured by slaves, creating a thought-provoking commentary on the broader implications of restitution. “Dahomey” offers a nuanced perspective on the multifaceted debate surrounding the return of cultural heritage, weaving together historical context, personal narratives, and contemporary reflections on the significance of repatriation.

“IN LIEBE, EURE HILDE” BY ANDREAS DRESEN

Andreas Dresen’s “In Liebe, Eure Hilde” is a poignant and deeply affecting exploration of love, loss, and the enduring power of human connection. Set against the backdrop of post-war Germany, the film follows the journey of Hilde, a resilient and compassionate woman who navigates the challenges of rebuilding her life in the aftermath of tragedy.
At its heart, “In Liebe, Eure Hilde” is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the bonds that unite us in times of adversity. Through Dresen’s masterful direction and the compelling performance of the lead actress, viewers are drawn into Hilde’s world, where moments of joy and sorrow are intricately woven together to create a tapestry of human experience.

“AMELIA’S CHILDREN” BY GABRIEL ABRANTES

“Amelia’s Children” is a captivating and thought-provoking film that delves into the complexities of family, identity, and the consequences of unchecked ambition. Directed by the talented Gabriel Abrantes, the film takes viewers on a surreal journey through the picturesque landscapes of Portugal while unraveling a narrative filled with unexpected twists and turns. At its core, “Amelia’s Children” tells the story of Edward, portrayed with depth and authenticity by the lead actor, as he embarks on a quest to uncover his roots and reconnect with his biological family. Accompanied by his girlfriend Ryley, the couple’s journey to Portugal sets the stage for a series of revelations that challenge their perceptions of love, loyalty, and the bonds of kinship.

“ARCHITECTON” BY VICTOR KOSSAKOVSKY

With the 2024 documentary Architecton, the Russian filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky expands on his work on the subject of mankind’s basic components. In his 2018 documentary „Aquaria”, he searches for the essence of the most essential substance for mankind: water. With Architecton, he now takes on the material concrete, the second most used substance in the world. With a more cinematic than journalistic approach, Victor Kossakovsky manages to show the ambiguity of the grandeur and fragility of a seemingly well-known material. The film revolves around Italian architect Michele De Lucchi, who is attempting to resist the ruthless war of man against nature within his own disillusionment. He is supervising a very simple project – a “circle of life” to be built in what seems to be his own courtyard. Somehow, this elementary symbol becomes a tool to explore the rise and fall of entire civilizations. Kossakovsky leads through images of decomposed buildings and massive stone slopes that seem like water in motion. The documentary is a massive, though contemplative, work. With the very loose appearance of the architect in his garden and the slo-mo imagery, the experimental documentary evokes a zen-like feeling.

TO WATCH: “THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN” BY MARTIN MCDONAGH

On the fictional island of Inisherin, life appears ordinary until a profound rift disrupts…

TO WATCH: “HÖHERE GEWALT” BY RUBEN ÖSTLUND

A compelling exploration of human behavior in the face of unexpected circumstances.

IN CONVERSATION WITH VIKTOR & ROLF

“We want to surprise ourselves:” …

Interview by Sina Braetz