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Author: Toby Ashraf

Discover This: Sieniawka

Like a fly in slow motion the camera moves and moves and moves, in constant search for new impressions, new images, new discoveries, new moods to capture. The camera eye takes its time, like the entire film does, and takes us, the audience, deep into an unreal world which is created through the mind and the memory of its filmmaker and cameraman Marcin Malaszczak.

Discover This: Xposed International Queer Film Festival

A little hung over, a little cold, a little lazy and ready to watch some films tonight? I’m sure that description fits most Berliners on this gloomy holiday, and – for Christ’s sake it’s Ascension Day! – so let’s all start a heavenly journey to Moviemento and see some sexy and unholy queer films and have a little party at Südblock afterwards. Yes, it’s time for Xposed again and -come on-who wouldn’t love to discover some hot 1960s experimental films by a Swedish underground pioneer slash heroine, watch the new kinky compilation film by art-pornographer Antonio da Silva and listen to Antony and the Johnsons during the opening film?! So get your asses off the couch and start a little pilgrimage to Kottbusser Damm where the next 3 ½ days will be filled with exciting cinematic trips, programmed with love, lust and experience.

Discover This: Freak Orlando

It was almost seven years ago that the work of a Berlin-based filmmaker changed the way I watched films entirely. There was a big retrospective at the Arsenal and I was extremely curious to discover someone whose films had labels like “women’s film” “art film” “queer cinema” and “independent director” attached to them. I had seen images of wild costumes, extravagant make-up, outlandish performers and fantastic imagery before I had actually seen the films they were taken from. Of all the magical hours I had spent getting sucked into this mad universe, one film had stayed with me the most. It is called Freak Orlando and its director is a true artist and can be best described as an untamed magician: Ulrike Ottinger.

Berlin, Berlinale, Berlin film festival, Berlinale Forum

Discover This: Berlinale Forum 2014

Phew! Now, that the overall excitement of the Berlinale has settled and there is finally some time, I want to take a personal and selective look back at some of the islands in the festival stream. Here are the first three filmmakers (of four films) that impressed me endlessly and –what a coincidence- all three are female first-time directors who made great and unusual art and hopefully have a long and exciting career ahead of them.

Discover This: Art War

„Screw you world, we don’t need you, we’ll just make art!“ Bosaina is in tears after she has performed the song „Porn Police“ with her band Wetrobots at a nightclub in Cairo. She is wearing a leopard leotard and ironically sang about „satanic homosexuals“ and the sexual freedom of women when the crowd starting chanting „Erhal, erhal, erhal!“ which means „Go away!“ Bosaina, like the four other main protagonists of Art War, is trying to express herself creatively in Egypt during the difficult times that followed the Arab Spring. Her struggle and the verbal and physical fights of young Egyptian artists build the centre of a fast-paced and jazzy documentary that has been in Berlin cinemas for a week.