Berlin film festival 2021 roundup: the most impressive selection in years
No glitz, no big screens, no cold… in a modest yet triumphant virtual edition of the festival, dazzling debuts vied with the superb, low-key latest from Céline Sciamma
There’s something to be said for an online Berlin film festival. You don’t have to endure the winter bleakness of Potsdamer Platz, and you can watch a lot more, since you get a full 24 hours into which to cram each day’s crowded viewing menu. Naturally, everyone felt that Covid restrictions were tough luck for the festival’s directors, Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek, now in their second year; after 2020’s respectable but low-key debut, it seemed that they had been robbed of the chance to consolidate in style.
Yet, against all odds, they did precisely that. There were no red carpets, no press conferences, no glitz; all that, it’s hoped, will come in June, when the same programme returns with a planned live summer special. Meanwhile, virtual Berlin pinned me to my sofa with the most impressive selection in years. The competition (15 titles, only slightly smaller than usual) wasn’t packed with luminaries either. Instead, a mix of reputed directors, plus some new names, offered films of consistent, seriously watchable, sometimes dazzling quality.Continue reading...