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Pushing the debate: Tips for Critics’ Week

For its sixth year running alongside the Berlinale, Critics’ Week from Feb 19 through 27 at Hackesche Höfe Kino provides a varied selection of films and crucial debates. Our own critic shares his top tips from the eclectic programme.

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Our Critics’ Week must-see! Catch Abba Makama’s The Lost Okoroshi on Feb 23, 20:00, at Hackesche Höfe Kino.

For this new edition, Woche der Kritik delivers an eclectic selection of films that will seem positively streamlined compared to the Berlinale’s sprawling programme, which can often seem dizzyingly impenetrable. It kicks off with the opening conference at Theaterdiscounter (Feb 19, 18:00); refusing to pick a theme this year, Critics’ Week is using this as an opportunity to spark passionate debate about the hopes of today’s filmmakers, critics and cinephiles, as well as voice concerns about cen­sorship and how to recognise and oppose right-wing influence in the cinema. The wide selection of participants includes director and one of the editors of Revolver magazine, Franz Müller, Turkish film collec­tive Altyazi and American film critic Girish Shambu. Regarding 2020’s globe-hopping programme, it features several screenings under different themes: “Auto-Agitation” features Serbian director Ivana Mladenovic’s divisive self-fictionalisation and second feature Ivana The Terrible (Feb 20, 20:00) and “Trouble Feature” includes Common Birds (Feb 21, 20:00), an experimental adaptation of Aristophanes’ The Birds by Paris-based filmmakers and artists Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thomson. A highlight this year and our must-see is Abba Makama’s The Lost Okoroshi (Feb 23, 20:00). Critics’ Week previously screened Makama’s Green White Green (And All The Beautiful Colours In My Mosaic Of Madness) in 2017, which explored how Western pop culture had seeped into African tradi­tions. This year, running as part of their “Streitgespräch” programme, the filmmaker has crafted an incredibly effective fable that pits tradition against contemporary values, and deals with ancestry in a frequently comedic way. It also marks the opportunity to celebrate Nigerian cinema, which still goes largely underrepresented when it comes to the festival circuit.

Woche der Kritik (Critics’ Week) | Hackesche Höfe Kino. Feb 19-27.