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Our programmers report from Berlinale 2020

70th Berlin IFF - premiere "Kill It and Leave This City" Latest Films from Berlin Featured in the New Horizons IFF Program

70th Berlin IFF - American Cinema

American cinema seems to be in excellent form at Berlinale. I was delighted by experienced directors like Kelly Reichardt with her film  First Cow ,a beautiful minimalist western about friendship,and Josephine Decker who is showing Shirleya stylistically daring, weighty and ambiguous, portrait of writer Shirley Jackson with brilliant acting by Elisabeth Moss. Some new names also caught my attention. Kitty Green in The Assistant creates a quiet and subtle, but at the same time extremely moving, annex to the Weinstein affair and the whole #metoo movement. And Eliza Hittman's competition film Never Rarely Sometimes Always  is a raw story using stripped-down production that will push you into your seat, about a 17-year-old who travels from her native Pennsylvania to New York for an abortion. The Sundance award winner will premiere in Poland at the New Horizons IFF.

Marcin Pieńkowski, programming director of the New Horizons International Film Festival

70th Berlin IFF - Taiwanese Massage

My back began to go out after spending eight days in cinema chairs. So, this morning, I went for a Taiwanese massage (not to be confused with Thai). The masseur was Tsai Ming-liang and at first he offered acupuncture. After that, it was even more pleasant. The two-hour therapy session brought relief to my back, joy to tired eyes and respite to my mind, which relaxedly contemplated washing vegetables in silence, the colors of rain-soaked clothes at a bazaar, the golden glow of a hotel room, and delicate rhythmic movements. A powerful touch, hands that heal - I thought to myself while watching  Days. Tsai Ming-liang cleared my hangover caused by watching  DAU, he took away the phantom pains from Berlin Alexanderplatz, relaxed my angry grimace caused by  Funny Face and even Shirley tormented by childbirth pains finally relaxed. The thought to Kill It and Leave This Town- and this festival – one that’s crowded, nervous, hasty, and noisy - suddenly gave way. And finally, the sun came out on Potsdamer Platz. The most beautiful and the best films are those that alleviate our ailments and soothe our fears. I'm sure this Taiwanese masseur could even cure the coronavirus. I highly recommend him to everyone!

Małgorzata Sadowska, programmer of the New Horizons International Film Festival

70th Berlin IFF - The festival competition

The festival competition in Berlin was very interesting. Admittedly, masters like Garrel and Ferrara disappointed, but we also had some fresh air – the intense, epic  Berlin Alexanderplatz by Burhan Qurbani or the controversial and shocking analysis of the totalitarian world of  DAU. Natasha directed by Ilya Khrzhanowski and Ekaterina Oertel (the New Horizons Association will distribute both films). My favorites include the strong humanist voice against the death penalty in Iran by the New Horizon’s guest from two years ago Mohammad Rasoulof (the excellent  There Is No Evil) and the poignant  Never Rarely Sometimes Always directed by Eliza Hittman. Or maybe  Days by Tsai Ming-liang will be the Berlinale winner? I think I would enjoy that the most - the victory of melancholic, quiet cinema espousing the poetry of the everyday.

Marcin Pieńkowski, programming director of the New Horizons International Film Festival

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