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The thick ice lining Potsdamer Platz has long melted, but festival-goers experiences on the notoriously treacherous Berlin streets reflected the general consensus about the films screened at the 60th Berlinale: some did beautifully, some faltered, and others fell flat on their ass.
Known for his glacially paced, emotionally violent films, Michael Haneke has become one of contemporary cinemas most loathed and feted directors. The Austrian takes on issues that many viewers would prefer to ignoreviolence, class difference, power, guilt and sado-masochism.
If 2006 was the year of Werner Herzog, then 2007 belongs to Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Le Doulos begins with a statement central to the unyielding world of noir ethics, One must choose. Die or lie. Director Jean-Pierre Melville immerses us in the action from the get-go and, as is his style, explains nothing.
Pierrot Le Fou opens with a lengthy voice-over explanation of Velasquez narrated over shots of a tennis game and a man leafing through paperbacks in an outdoor Parisian bookshop. Cut to the same man sitting in a bathtub with a cigarette dangling from his lips reading an art history text aloud to a pig-tailed child. Describing Velasquezs paintings, he tells his daughter, a spirit of nostalgia prevails, yet we see none of the ugliness or sadness, none of the gloom or cruelty of this crushed childhood.
Realism and fantasy collide in Les Enfants Terribles, the 1950 collaboration between celebrated directors Jean Cocteau and Jean Pierre Melville.
This good old-fashioned melodrama explores political corruption, sexual coercion, poverty, religious fundamentalism and the deep-rooted melancholia at the core of contemporary Egyptian life.