After months of anticipation, 9 film-enthusiasts attended the world-famous Berlinálé. Read about one of the largest public film festivals from the Milestone Arts Review-winners, find out why it was worth it to spend 10 hours in the cinema within 24 hours seeing amazing movies from Mongolia, Japan, France, Germany and Hungary! Opinions were divided on which should be the winner, but one thing is for sure, we will be back! If you are interested in learning more about these movies, attend the participants’ presentations on the 22nd March at 17:00!
Thanks to the Arts Society’s first ever Milestone Arts Review, we had the chance to travel abroad; meet new people; get to know a new city and its history and culture and sit in movie theatres surrounded by hundreds of people at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival.
On our first day, we tried to see as many attractions as we could. We were able to stand in front of the well-known Brandenburg Gate, and the Berlin Wall. We walked around the city and experienced the vibe of the city. At the evening we attended the opening ceremony from afar – we even saw Bill Nighy walking on the red carpet!
Our second day started with a fascinating alternative and street art tour of Berlin – what a great way to kick off our first day of movies!
The Kindness of Strangers is a 2019 internationally co-produced drama film, written and directed by Lone Scherfig. This movie was the opening of the whole festival and the opening of the section of competition movies, we were lucky to get tickets for it! The movie itself was showcased on the world’s biggest stage and the screen was as big as my village.
The plot was not that shocking and new for me personally, but it had a nice mixture of funny and even very sad moments. Basically, there was a small family; parents, two kids, enough money to live good. But the Dad was physically and emotionally abusive towards the kids and the Mom so they escaped and tried to have a better life without the father. At some point, I felt like there is no way this could happen in 2019 without no consequences but I did not regret to see it because Bill Nighy’s acting was outstanding. [Agi]
I think this movie will really appear in your dreams at night. I am really grateful that this movie was the last that we watched that day as we needed at least 24 hours to get over. It’s about four children who meet outside of a crematorium as their parents are cremated. They discover that they all have the inability to cry over their personal tragedies. The film follows their story through the exploration of grief and shows each of their backgrounds. As they are trying to understand their feelings, they form a band and become world-famous. It’s hard to understand what really happens in their bizarre story, so Makoto Nagahisa surely gave us a story to think about. [Saci]
Lidérc úr was by far the best short movie screened at the festival. The animation was extraordinary, and the storyline was deep and relatable. It holds a great and heart-warming message. I’d suggest everyone to take a look. It’s short and beautiful, something that everyone can relate to, regardless of age and nationality. It was especially meaningful to me as it was written ad directed by a Hungarian film-maker and animator, Luca Tóth. [Julia]
Öndög is a 2019 Mongolian drama film directed by Wang Quan’an. As I made sure to familiarise myself with the plot before seeing the movie by reading a short description of it, I expected a totally different outcome. It started with a scene where the police found a dead body in the middle of the Mongolian steppe. Then they left a new member of the team there, telling him not to let anyone near to the crime scene. Then a woman who lived nearby started to get in a deeper relationship with the youngling. This movie for me was a real piece of art because it had many beautiful scenes that could inspire everyone, definitely never would have seen something wonderfully grotesque like this anywhere else! [Agi]
This was the movie I personally was most excited for. We weren’t let down. The narrative was depicted realistic, it was based on true events after all, and extremely emotional. I must admit, the subject of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, might make people uncomfortable, but in my opinion, it’s very important that movies like this exist to open up eyes and show the raw truth about child abuse in the church. I think it’s an important movie and more people should go and watch it. [Julia]
Nora Fingscheidt’s film Systemsprenger (System Crasher) is an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes it makes you laugh, then you catch yourself wiping your tears, but at many shocking parts, you can feel that the whole audience is holding their breath. Watching it in Friedrichpalast, a beautiful movie theatre of hundreds of people definitely added to its emotional and gripping effect. This “System Crasher” is Benni, a young girl, who is extremely angry, and is hard to keep in control. It perfectly shows all the effort it takes to help these children, and that even if it seems like it’s never going to end, they keep trying, feeling overwhelmed while being stuck in an endless circle. If you think you’re ready for Helena Zengel’s outstanding performance and an extremely shocking story, then this is a must watch for you! [Saci]
Sarolta Barna [Freshman year]:
Joining this trip was one of the best decisions I’ve made recently. Not only I got to see so many fascinating sights of Berlin and the incredible films at the festival, but I also had the opportunity to meet this wonderful team, so I’m really glad I could be the part of this. Berlin is an amazing city full of art, good vibes, and great people. The Berlinale was a fantastic experience; we’ve seen many films from all over the world, telling their own, different stories. It would be hard to choose a favourite movie, but for me, Systemsprenger was the one that left me with so many emotions. I had a great time and I hope that I can join next year too, and I would recommend joining us to anyone, who loves travelling, movies and great company!
Julia Hargitai [Junior year]:
For me, this trip was one of the best few days of the past years. I got to see so many movies, some amazing ones and some… less great. The best movie price for me is a hard tie between Systemsprenger, Grâce à Dieu, and the Hungarian animation movie Lidérc úr. The team was fantastic, I’m happy to say I actually got new friends which I seriously didn’t expect. I was very honoured to be one of the winners of the contest and the price was absolutely worth it. Berlin is a beautiful city, the sightseeing and the ‘alternative tour’ really gave the vibe back and I for sure will visit the city soon. If you are planning to come next year, please do. We had an amazing time there, you will be able to meet new people, explore a city of many cultures and watch many eye-opening films. Thank you so much for Milestone’s Arts Society again, for making this trip and I can’t wait for next year!
Agnes Olajos [Sophomore year]:
I am very thankful for this opportunity and for the Arts Society that I was able to get richer with an experience like this. For me, personally, this trip opened my eyes more widely about the film industry. Seeing 5 movies with totally different topics just taught me a lot more different ways of creating an art piece, also the way the movies kept the beholders’ eyes on the screen was pretty incredible in my opinion. My favourite movie from the five we watched was the Systemsprenger and I definitely recommend watching it for everyone. This trip was really worth it for me, even my German improved a lot during these days. I will definitely go next year, and after this trip, I am considering going to more film festivals like this, because the mood which is taking place there is just awesome.