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EXB’s English Days: Film, talk and Ukrainian brunch

Our three-day takeover of Lichtblick Kino brings you handpicked films, director chats and some very special blinis.

Marten Persiel’s dystopian fairytale Everything Will Change kicks off EXB’s English Days on April 23. Photo: English Days

With the Achtung Berlin Festival underway from April 20-27, we celebrate the city’s homegrown festival with the return of our very own English Days. Exberliner’s three-day takeover of Prenzlauer Berg’s Lichtblick Kino brings you a three-film programme with English subtitles and live moderation from filmmakers.

Our lovingly curated selection includes films which have won prizes before having their Berlin premiere at Achtung, presenting the best and most diverse the festival has to offer with a cross-section of themes ranging from climate change to feminism and LGBTQ+ issues.

It all kicks off on Saturday 23 at 9pm with Marten Persiel’s dystopian fairytale Everything Will Change. Set in 2054, we witness human life taking place almost exclusively in front of screens. A photo will change things forever for a group of friends, who discover how Earth’s population has eradicated the planet’s once-abundant biodiversity. Armed with new knowledge about a reality they never knew and the realisation that past generations failed to act in time, they hatch a time-travelling plan to prevent the extinction of species.

It’s an engaged and loving piece of sci-fi that is visually impressive, deftly merges documentary language, and avoids falling into easy didacticism, favouring instead a hopeful cry of alarm that doesn’t lose sight of its narrative or characters. Wim Wenders called it “one of those revolutionary experiences that makes you want to get up and do something”. If that isn’t a stamp of approval that makes you want to buy a ticket, we’re not sure what more you need.

Achtung’s opening film, RP Kahl’s fascinating documentary Als Susan Sontag im Publikum Saß (When Susan Sontag sat in the Audience) will be screened on Sunday at 11am. 50 years since the famous panel discussion “A Dialogue on Women’s Liberation”, which took place in New York’s Town Hall, the film is a commentary on the events of 1971, and if the reverberation of the beginnings of feminism and questioning of gender identity have led to meaningful change. If that all sounds like a lot, the screening will be followed by a brunch of tasty Ukrainian blinis from Café Pirouette in Prenzlauer Berg. Don’t say we don’t treat you!

Finally, we close things off on Monday evening (9pm) with another stellar documentary, Anima – Die Kleider meines Vaters (Anima – My Father’s Dresses), by Uli Decker. After her father dies, little Uli’s mother hands her his “secret box”, the contents of which suddenly change her view of not only her father but also her family and herself, as well as the stereotypes imposed upon her by the Bavarian village she lives in. It’s a terrific true story that doubles as a tragi-comic family portrait and a thought-provoking examination of gender roles, brilliantly told through a variety of animated and documentary images.

Don’t miss out and see you at Lichtblick Kino.

Exberliner’s English Days / April 23-25 / Lichtblick Kino