We Are One Retrospective – Offerings from the Berlin International Film Festival

Another collation of mini-reviews from the We Are One Global Film Festival, focusing this time on my highlights from the Berlinale.

Ticket of No Return [Bildnis einer Trinkerin] (1979, Germany, 109 min)

Ticket of No Return (whose original German title translates to “Portrait of a Female Drunkard”) is written, directed & filmed by Neuer Deutscher Film auteur Ulrike Ottinger. It follows the wanderings of “She” (Tabea Blumenschein), a wealthy woman who decides to dedicate the rest of her life to drinking and feels that Berlin is the best place for it. Arriving in Berlin at the same time, and frequently crossing her path, are three women in grey named Common Sense, Accurate Statistics and Social Issue, who comment on the action. The movie follows She across a range of locations and situations without any real plot, while She drinks steadily and wears multiple fashionable outfits (designed by the actress). There are lots of small roles from famous actors or artists, including a delightful appearance from legendary Neue Deutsche Welle musician Nina Hagen. It’s a whimsically engaging film which makes points about the double standards applied to women without being didactic or glamourising She’s chosen path.

On Transmission: Claire Denis in Conversation with Olivier Assayas (2020, Germany, 65 min)

I’ve never actually seen any of Claire Denis’ films, and only one of Assayas’ films (Irma Vep [1996]), but this was a really interesting conversation. It was slow to start for somebody with only a passing familiarity with their work, but in the back half they had some fascinating things to say about imagination and the creative process which were also applicable to the way in which you negotiate life from day to day. One to keep an eye out for it’s ever made available again.

On Transmission: Ang Lee in Conversation with Kore-eda Hirokazu (2020, Germany, 63 min)

The two directors interview each other, focusing on each director’s favourite work of the other’s – Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Kore-eda Hirokazu’s After Life (1998), neither of which I’ve seen (although I’m interested in both) – but also ranging across other areas. Good-humoured and very interesting.

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