UNCUT's 10 favourites from this year's Berlin Film Festival
Terrific indie US sex comedy with a feminist revenge twist. Jess Weixler plays a virginal teenage girl with teeth in her, ahem, secret garden of delight. Novice writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein is the son of Pop Art legend Roy.
2/ THE WALKER
Taxi Driver author Paul Schrader returns to solid indie-noir form with this classy murder thriller about a gay gossip junkie caught in the political crossfire of modern-day Washington. Great star turn by Woody Harrelson. An American Gigolo for the Bush era.
Steve Buscemi directs and stars as a cynical newshound sent to write a combative profile of Sienna Miller’s screen starlet. Based on a film by murdered Dutch director Theo Van Gogh. Strong performances, especially Miller.
4/ FAY GRIM
After half a decade of low profile projects, indie favourite Hal Hartley returns to form by revisiting characters from his 1998 film Henry Fool. Parker Posey and Jeff Goldblum savour the suave ironies in this offbeat, unexpectedly topical Euro-thriller.
5/ THIS FILTHY WORLD
Trash movie legend John Waters reviews his life and career in a stand-up comedy lecture. Directed by Curb Your Enthusiasm regular Jeff Garlin. Think of it as a gay Inconvenient Truth, but with better jokes.
6/ TWO DAYS IN PARIS
Written and directed by its star, Julie Delpy, this charming two-hander about a mismatched Franco-American couple visiting the French capital picks up where Delpy left off in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset. Add a dash of vintage Woody Allen… et voila.
7/ THE COUNTERFEITER
Mostly set inside a Nazi concentration camp, Stefan Ruzowitsky’s wartime thriller recreates the bizarre true story of the skilled Jewish inmates forced to forge British and American bank notes in a plot to destroy Germany’s enemies economically.
8/ I’M A CYBORG BUT THAT’S OK
Korean psycho-violence maestro Park Chan Wook turns to softer fare in this lush story about two asylum inmates who fall in love. Warped romantic whimsy with a high body count.
From Dawn Of The Dead director Zack Snyder, this big-budget digital bloodbath is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel about the 300 Spartan warriors who fought off a massive Persian invasion in 480 BC. Laughably preposterous but, as a state-of-the-art slice of homo-fascistic spectacle, insanely brilliant.
10/ SUMMER RAIN
Spanish sex god Antonio Banderas steps behind the camera to direct this sweet coming-of-age tale set in early 1970s Malaga. The drama is mostly predictable teenage fare but Banderas impresses with his lustrous visuals and poetic yet unsentimental tone.