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  • Achtung: Berlin’s best self-celebratory film fiesta!


Achtung: Berlin’s best self-celebratory film fiesta!

Berlin's largest Film Festival for homegrown indies takes over cinemas across town with over 80 films, by directors from Russia to Uruguay to Canada, a retrospective, panels and an English-language weekend (April 10-17).

Schwimmen Achtung Berlin turns 15 – alive and kicking! Since 2004, Achtung Berlin has offered an invaluable platform for the city’s moviemaking community. This year’s edition sees over 80 films, each with a strong Berlin connection, screened in 11 venues across town, from the grand Kino International to fsk Kino and the cosy Prenzlauer Berg Lichtblick. Highlights of the competition include Luzie Loose’s assured debut Schwimmen, about two high school outcasts who turn the tables on classmate bullies. Reminiscent of Catherine Hardwicke’s Thirteen (in a good way), the film is bolstered by exceptional performances from its young lead actresses. Sven Taddicken’s bold fifth feature Das Schönste Paar depicts a German couple struggling to make sense of a brutal attack while on holiday in Mallorca. Unpleasant and effective, it’s a violent meditation on trauma, forgiveness and cathartic revenge. Zombie fans shouldn’t miss Berlin-based Swedish director Carolina Hellsgård’s Endzeit, a post-Apocalyptic tale in a league of its own, in which the kick-ass female leads traverse a lush, beautiful, and yet very bloody German countryside from Weimar to Jena, overcoming their own survival guilt in the process. If you’d rather lighten up, Datsche by Lara Hewitt, succeeds in delivering the ultimate Berlin culture clash comedy, as a young clueless New Yorker lands in his late grandfather’s Kleingarten in hardcore Ossie country near Potsdam. What ensues is a rather hilarious study of cross-cultural chaos as unexpected guests – an African refugee, an Argentinian joint-smoker, a Greek bimbo, and a Bavarian nerd – get to share the highly regulated life of the eastern Kolonie. Leaving comedy and expat territory to tackle the more sober issue of blood vengeance, Kida Ramadan’s Kunin is a Berlin/Albania-set drama set to spark a discussion. In competition for best documentary, Christin Freitag’s Let the Bell Ring is a slick, immersive portrait of California’s amateur boxing scene by a female director displaying a flair for human drama and visceral spectacle. Florian Baron’s Stress, meanwhile, is an impressively ambitious study of PTSD in American soldiers, which pairs the testimonies of five Afghanistan veterans with visually poetic footage of their home city Pittsburgh. Achtung is also marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a retrospective of 14 features, including Pia Frankenberg’s Nie Wieder Schlafen (1992), an experimental and often hilarious account of three West German women exploring a newly reunified Berlin. And as is our time-honoured tradition, Exberliner will present a handful of fest highlights at Lichtblick Kino from Apr 13 to15, all with English subtitles and moderation. Join us for our matinee double-bill on Apr 14, and we’ll throw in the added incentive of free brunch. Apr 10-17 Full programme and venue info at achtungberlin.de