The bright sunshine creates a glimmering atmosphere between the clear blue sky and the sandy colors of the Brazilian dunes where two motorcyclists ride across the wide and open landscape. The two men obviously enjoy their travels and embrace their freedom, driving towards the Praia do Futoro, a beautiful beach where they are about to have a swim. The energetic opening sequence is followed by a tragic incident. Heiko, one of the German travelers drowns while his friend Konrad (Clemens Schick) is saved by the lifeguard on duty, Donato (Wagner Moura).
Author Corina Rottger
Richard Linklater, the director, writer and producer of Boyhood, first started shooting his film in July 2002 and continued to work annually over a time span of over a decade to realize the unique cinematic project. The cast and crew came back to work for few days on set, marking a total of 39 days in 12 years. The story is structured around a middle-class family consisting of Olivia (Patricia Arquette), a single-mother, her children Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and Samantha (Lorelai Linklater) and their father Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), who occasionally visits them.
Ira Sachs’ new film Love is Strange is concerned with the main protagonists’ emotionally challenging domestic living situation. The film opens with the happiest day in the life of Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina). After almost 40 years of commitment, they are finally able to legally get married. However, their happiness is not supposed to last and the newlyweds are caught in a downward spiral from here on out. As soon as their marriage is finalized, George gets fired from his teaching job at a Catholic school. With this unexpected event, the couple can no longer afford their New York apartment anymore and are forced to look for a cheaper place to live. As their apartment hunt remains unsuccessful until their moving date, they decide to split up physically and move in with friends and relatives. While Ben moves in with his nephew, George finds a temporary place to stay at their neighbor’s apartment. Emotionally still deeply connected in love, Sachs explores their sorrow and distress through the physical separation of his main characters.
The German production Los Ángeles directed by US-American filmmaker Damian John Harper played in the Forum section of Berlinale 2014 and explores Mexican immigration to the United States through its main protagonist Mateo (Mateo Bautista Matías). The story that is taking place south of the border depicts the issues in an honest and very human way and does not put its characters into the common Mexican stereotypes.
Jack (Ivo Pietzcker), the protagonist of the film is introduced as being very mature and responsible. He is running the household, taking care of his younger brother Manuel (Georg Arms), preparing food and doing laundry. The only problem is that he himself is just a kid and is not supposed to take over a parental role. Therefore, the opening sequence already introduces the audience to the family structure, in which the single mother Sanna (Luise Heyer) is too occupied with herself that she constantly abandons her two boys. The concept of Jack taking care of everything seems to work, until an accident happens and the family is about to fall apart. Child Welfare sends Jack to a state-run institution, while his mother remains custody of Manuel. During his summer break, the boy is allowed to stay with his family but Sanna does not manage to pick up her son. Though disappointed, he decides to walk home but is unable to locate his mother at their flat. With his little brother by his side and no keys to return home, the two boys wander around the streets of Berlin, looking for their mother for three days.
Wes Anderson’s highly anticipated new film The Grand Budapest Hotel, a fantasy-comedy, kicked off the Berlinale 2014. His unique, eighth feature, that he has written and directed, is set in a fictional spa town in the fictional Eastern European country of Zubrowka during the 1930s. Though the location is imaginary, the main story is set during a time that is characterized by a fascist takeover, followed by a Communist period, mirroring European history.
The powerful and complex thriller Prisoners by Denis Villeneuve opens with a scene in the middle of the snowy woods, where the main protagonist, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is out hunting with his teenage son (Dylan Minette). Before they are about to shoot a deer, a prayer can be overheard off-screen. On their way back home, the father gives his son a lecture about being ready for anything, to live with possible consequences and to take actions when necessary. The opening scene and the serious conversation already introduces the audience to the key themes of the film, such as religion and justice.
I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of the 3D technology in general and usually prefer to watch a movie the “old-fashioned way”. However, I still wanted to experience The Hobbit – Desolation of Smaug in its High-Frame-Rate, the 48 frames per second technology that Peter Jackson seems to be so fond of. While this new innovation within filmmaking had some flaws in its prequel The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey and often resembled daytime television, the technology has amazingly improved with the second part of the trilogy and made it so much more enjoyable. Despite the major improvement on the digital artwork, there are some visual effects, such as the bumblebees for example, that are simply unnecessary and dull.
The Coen brothers take us back to the early Greenwich Village folk scene during the winter of 1961. “Inside Llewyn Davis” follows a week in the life of a young, aspiring folk singer, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), whose attempts to make a career out of his music are made during a time before Bob Dylan came along, revolutionized the folk genre and became an important figure during the 60s counterculture movement. But this film is not about Bob Dylan, it is about a musician, who could have been Bob Dylan but failed to succeed in the business.