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Fräulein’s curated selection of the top 5 must-watch movies from the “Berlinale.” As a prestigious event that serves as a global stage for groundbreaking films, visionary storytellers, and talented filmmakers, Berlinale showcases the best in cinematic innovation. In this listicle, we present a diverse range of films that captivate and provoke thought.

"STERBEN", © Jakub Bejnarowicz, Port au Prince, Schwarzweiss, Senator 2024

In “Sterben,” the estranged „Lunies“ family reunites as Death makes its presence known, with Lissy Lunies, in her mid-70s, quietly accepting her husband’s decline in a care facility but facing her own health challenges. The narrative revolves around her son, conductor Tom Lunies, collaborating on the aptly titled composition “Sterben” with his friend Bernard, triggering a self-fulfilling prophecy. Concurrently, Tom’s ex-girlfriend Liv designates him as the surrogate father of her child, and his sister Ellen embarks on a tumultuous affair with married dentist Sebastian, bonded by their shared love for alcohol. Matthias Glasner’s film explores life’s intensity and death’s audacity, balancing tenderness, brutality, humor, sadness, bitterness, and unexpected beauty. The outstanding ensemble cast, led by Lars Eidinger and Corinna Harfouch, enhances Glasner’s most personal film to date, complemented by a notable emphasis on music and skillful cinematography by Jakub Bejnarowicz, a previous collaborator with Glasner.

"LOVE LIES BLEEDING", ©A24, Credit: Anna Kooris

In a small New Mexico town in the late 1980s “Love Lies Bleeding” unfolds, focusing on Lou the daughter of local mob boss Lou Sr. Lou’s routine of selling steroids and navigating a mundane existence takes an unexpected turn with the arrival of Jackie, a bodybuilder en route to a contest in Las Vegas. Their immediate connection disrupts the town’s delicate power balance. When Lou’s sister Beth faces violence from her husband JJ, Lou seeks vengeance, inadvertently leading to JJ’s demise. As they grapple with disposing of the body, the two women’s budding romance becomes entwined with a world of crime, familial complexities, and FBI scrutiny. Director Rose Glass paints a vivid portrait of crime, familial strife, and the yearning for freedom in this neo-noir narrative. “Love Lies Bleeding” deftly combines classic noir elements with an authentic ’80s ambiance, punctuated by bursts of intense violence and evocative queer sex scenes. The film becomes a spirited and feminist reinterpretation of familiar tropes, with Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brien delivering captivating performances that elevate the indie gem. Supported by Ben Fordesman’s dynamic cinematography and Clint Mansell’s driving film score, “Love Lies Bleeding” is a compelling exploration of love, violence, and the pursuit of a brighter future.


“Cuckoo,” the most recent creation by German director Tilman Singer, builds upon the bold style showcased in his 2018 debut, “Luz,” where he fearlessly veers away from conventional plotting and narrative coherence. In this energetically eccentric film, Singer blends stylish atmospherics, classic reproductive horror elements, and promotional facets reminiscent of a pro-flickknife advertisement. The storyline revolves around Gretchen, portrayed by “Euphoria” star Hunter Schafer, initially presenting her as the potential disruptor in the narrative. As she joins her estranged father’s family at a Bavarian Alpine resort, a series of peculiar events unfold, focusing on Gretchen and a mysterious, malevolent blonde woman emitting eerie screeches. The plot navigates through bizarre and unsettling incidents, featuring perverse genetic experimentation, copious vomiting, and unexplained phenomena. Despite the visually sophisticated cinematography by Paul Faltz and Simon Waskow’s ’80s-style synth scoring, Singer eschews conceptual or elevated themes, opting instead for a chaotic and unexplained approach, culminating in a prolonged shoot-out in the finale. “Cuckoo” takes audiences on a wild ride, presenting a plethora of bizarre elements that resist easy interpretation, resulting in a distinctive and unapologetically intricate cinematic experience. The film is set to hit cinemas across Germany starting July 18th!

"AMELIA'S CHILDREN", © Magnet Releasing

a captivating and thought-provoking cinematic exploration led by director Gabriel Abrantes. The film intricately navigates the intricacies of family dynamics, personal identity, and the repercussions of unbridled ambition. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Portugal, the narrative unfolds with unexpected twists and turns, taking the audience on a surreal journey. At its essence, the film follows Edward, portrayed with authenticity and depth by the main actor, as he embarks on a quest to discover his roots and establish connections with his biological family. Joined by his girlfriend Ryley, their voyage to Portugal becomes the catalyst for a series of revelations that challenge their perspectives on love, loyalty, and the ties that bind kinship.

"IN LIEBE EURE HILDE", © Pandora Film

Amidst the tumult of World War II, in the somber streets of Berlin in 1942, unfolds a story of bravery, love, and defiance. Andreas Dresen presents a poignant narrative of Hilde, whose journey amidst the perilous throes of war leads her to a pivotal role within the resistance group later known as the “Red Orchestra.” Hilde’s blossoming love for Hans brings fleeting joy amidst constant peril, yet their happiness is abruptly shattered when the Gestapo arrests the group in the chilling months of autumn. Among them, Hilde, who is pregnant, faces the dark depths of imprisonment with an unexpected tenacity. It is within these confines that her true strength emerges. In defiance of tyranny, she not only gives birth to her son but also keeps alive the memory of her beloved husband, a beacon of hope amidst the shadows of despair.

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