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BERLINALE 2019

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The last edition of the Kosslick-era

This is it. This year, as every year, the Berlinale, this time in its 69th edition, presented one of the widest range of films in the festival scene. And, as usual, also during this Berlinale 2019, Austria managed to carve out a worthy place within the many sections present.

This edition is particularly significant in the festival’s history, as it marks the end of the so-called “Kosslick-era”, in which Dieter Kosslick was Artistic Director for many years. A true transitional edition, then, if we think that from next year things will probably be very different. These important changes have also inevitably impacted on the quality of the films selected, which, with a few sporadic exceptions, have left a lot to be desired, considering that each of them has been selected to compete for the prestigious Golden Bear.

And yet, in addition to a rather weak competition, there are, as usual, the numerous side sections that, each time, can give us interesting surprises.

As regards Austria and its works, in competition there is The Ground beneath my Feet (Der Boden unter den Füßen), the newest film by director Marie Kreutzer, who has staged the story of a young woman stressed from overwork, who tries to cultivate the relationship with her older sister.

In the side sections, on the other hand, particularly interesting – within the section Perspektive deutsches Kino – is the medium-length film Fish takes off (Fisch lernt fliegen), the first feature of Austrian-born but German-by-adoption actor Deniz Cooper.

The Forum section, the most experimental of the Berlinale 2019, is a special highlight, with three feature films featured this year: Heimat is a Space in Time (Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit), directed by German documentary filmmaker Thomas Heise, who, through the discovery of photographs, letters and documents, staged the history of Austria and Germany through the history of his own family; The Children of the Dead (Die Kinder der Toten), directed by young Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska, and based on the novel of the same name by Elfriede Jelinek – and, finally, the important (and rather necessary) Earth (Erde), the newest work by the famous Austrian documentary filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter, who once again focuses on the relationship between man and environment, in a long journey from one continent to another.

Once again, the Berlinale had a lot to offer. Once again this year (and in spite of the aforementioned competition) the Festival proved to be one of the most welcoming and best-organised, with a location (the legendary Marlene Dietrich Platz) that makes guests feel as if they are on a small, happy island.

Below are the Austrian films presented at the 69th Berlinale.

Info: the website of the Berlinale 2019