I don’t remember the first time I went cruising but I still remember that my heart raced so fast I almost collapsed with excitement. Now that the summer is coming to an end and the leaves will soon be falling off the trees in the parks, the small refuges of anonymous gay sex will make way for a cold and unfriendly winter and cruisers will have to abandon the public spheres and escape to the private cellars and darkrooms of the bars and clubs again.
Starting tonight, expat Australian cinephile and festival director Frances Hill invites Berliners to discover her home country through film at Kreuzberg’s Moviemento. Frances, charming employee of the overall amazing crew of Moviemento, started the Down Under Australian Film Festival two years ago via crowd-funding and with the help of friends. This year, she has put together a diverse and exciting programme which includes documentaries, narrative films, and short films, as well as a couple of great events. I met Frances Hill and head of communication Berit Becker for an afternoon interview where we talked about transgender hairdressers, indigenous actors, and the new films from Australia’s film schools.
At the end of the film I sat in the darkness of the theatre and cried a little, simply because I was happy. The only reason for this unforeseen outburst of emotion is the image of a young girl in Saudi Arabia who is riding a bike – nothing more. There are no violins playing, no dramatic camera crane shots or sentimental close ups, just the girl riding a bike. Of course, there is a special political and social meaning connected to this image, and naturally it is the conclusion of a complex and yet simple story, but it’s surprising nevertheless that one single moment in cinema can be so powerful. And that’s not the only surprising thing about Wadjda, a beautiful and touching film that opened in Berlin last Thursday.
Money is the root of all evil, money can’t buy you happiness, or as Biggie Smalls put it so fittingly, “mo’ money, mo’ problems.” It’s a little hard to believe if you don’t really have much of it, but in the case of Hans, there seems to be more than enough money to come to such conclusions. Hans lives in Cologne, wears business suits, and decides to give up his job and his regular life. He calls his parents, then gives his iPhone to some kids on the streets and buys a photograph off a kebap vendor of some beautiful house near a lake to go on a trip south in the vague hope to find that house – or at least happiness- on the way.
Once upon a time there was a violent girl named Annie. She had long blond hair and her freckled face rarely smiled. Annie liked to play soccer as much as she liked to wear oversized men’s shirts. Her kingdom was the outskirts of a small town in Texas and her favourite pastime was destroying things. When Annie entered a grocery store, she would steal something; when she once stole a beautiful rainbow-coloured lollipop, she quickly bit it into pieces. One day, as Annie went on a stroll through the woods behind her house, she heard a voice from a hole in the ground and it seemed that her life was changed forever.