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This week at the kino: Ditch the mutants to train the fly

Despite an underwhelming week for new releases, there are still plenty of options across freiluftkino and festivals for Berlin movie geeks this weekend. Let our film editor guide your plans.

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Mandibules screens as part of the Fantasy Film Fest at 5pm on Sunday. Photo: Chi-Fou-Mi Productions

It’s another slightly underwhelming week for new releases, with the biggest one being The New Mutants, the long-delayed X-Men spin-off film shot over three years ago. It has the least accurate title in superhero film history, as it was kept in limbo with the buy-out of 20th Century Fox by Disney. It probably should’ve stayed there, as even the most hardcore X-Men fans will find it hard to champion this limp entry into the cannon, despite its alluring premise of combining ’80s-inflected horror with mutant coming-of-age antics. Not worth the wait is putting it mildly. There’s also Stella Meghie’s The Photograph, a predictable and clichéd-filled romance drama that you should avoid at all costs. The only ray of light this week is Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela, an arrestingly atmospheric tale of a Cape Verdean woman navigating her way through Lisbon and uncovering her late husband’s secret life. It will be a mission to find it, as Tenet is still monopolising the screens, but try to seek it out, as it benefits from moody shadow play and raises fascinating questions about postcolonial immigration.

Both ALFILM and the Jewish Film Festival are still ongoing, and Fantasy Film Fest started yesterday at Kino in der Kulturbrauerei (until the 13th). Our top recommendations are Daniel Isn’t Real on Saturday at 3.30pm, The Personal History Of David Copperfield (which comes out later this month – keep an eye out for our glowing review) on Sunday at 12.30pm, and Mandibules (Mandibles) at 5pm, also on Sunday. Quentin Dupieux’s Mandibules recently premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where we’re currently mainlining more films than is considered healthy; it screened out of competition and is arguably one of the best titles at this year’s festival. This 77-minute deadpan gem is the director’s most crowd-pleasing film to date, an absurdist buddy-comedy that sees the French equivalent of Bill and Ted attempt to train an enormous fly the size of an overfed Affenpinscher so that it can carry out robberies for them. It’s exactly as daft as it sounds, and it is hands down one of the funniest films you’ll see all year. The fact that the programmers managed to nab it so soon after its world premiere is quite the coup, and you shouldn’t let it pass you by. Lastly on the festival radar, keep an eye out for our previews for the upcoming Achtung Film Festival, starting on the 16th and, as is our time-honoured tradition, our English Days selection screening at Lichtblick Kino over the course of 2 days (19-20/09), all with English subtitles and moderation.

There are still some titles you can catch before freiluftkino season is over, including Kokon and Exil at Freiluftkino Insel im Cassiopeia on Sunday and Monday respectively (both at 7.30pm), as well as Joker (tomorrow at 7.45pm) and Little Women (Tuesday at 7.45pm) at Freiluftkino Hasenheide. Our main recommendation this week, however, is an indoor one, as Arsenal are starting their Michael Mann retrospective tomorrow (until 30 September). From his feature debut The Thief to 2015’s Blackhat, all 12 of his films will be screened; you’d be especially daft to miss two of his undisputed masterstrokes – Heat (screening tomorrow evening and again on the 17th) and The Insider (16th and 22nd) – on the big screen again.

That’s it from us this week. Stay tuned for more festival previews, our epic rundown of the Venice Film Festival, and don’t let that fly pass you by on Sunday.