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Film Festival Cologne 2017 – Review Part 1

By Martha Sigargök-Martin | Features & Reviews

Oct 04
Film Festival Cologne, Martha's Film Corner

A Film Festival for Films and Series

Since Friday, this international Festival is taking place in Cologne, Germany. The Film Festival Cologne proposes a wide range of films as well as TV shows. The public can enjoy 11 varied categories such as the “Top ten TV” and “Made in NRW” – a special category for films, which have been made in North Rhine-Westphalia – and two retrospectives of the filmmakers Jane Campion and Michael Glawogger.

There’s also a broad program area for professionals including events about the future of series, storytelling and the film market. Stars like Robert Pattison and Jane Campion attend the festival. In any case, many choices.

First Impressions

Jetzt Nicht in the category “Made in NRW”

Jetzt. Nicht is a film debut by director Julia Keller, screened within the category “Made in NRW”.

The soundtrack, the rhythm of the editing and the quality of the shots were particularly striking. The director used a quiet narrative technique underlined by long shots and a slow soundtrack.

One of the great strength of this movie is its interpret, Godehard Giese (Im Sommer wohnt er unten, Liebmann, Deutschland 83), which managed to maintain the interest for 90 minutes, despite lots of scenes, where he’s alone on screen. Godehard Giese not only filled the gap, but he also was omnipresent and delivered one of the best performances I’ve watched this year on festivals. I think nobody, who was present that day will forget his hilarious spontaneous Chinese speech, which has been even chosen for the festival trailer.

No English subtitles

The Handmaid’s Tale, A Highlight Hard to Look At

The premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale, eagerly awaited, was a highlight of the festival. Also, because of the performance of Elisabeth Moss, who became famous thanks to the series Mad Men.

The series is based on a novel by the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood which has already been written in 1985.

The story depicts a dystopic America where pollution and pesticide have led to the infertility of the population and religious fanatics have taken control of the government. Let’s say prudently that it’s not going well for women in general and in particular for the few ones who are still able to procreate.

Created by Bruce Miller (Eureka, The 100), the first season was directed by Mike Barker, Reed Morano, Kate Dennis, Floria Sigismondi, and Kari Skogland.

I’ve developed a thick skin toward hard science fiction and dystopias of every kind over the years, but I’ve to say, that was unbearable to watch. Not because it was bad –  this is one of the best series I’ve watched in years – but because it’s almost too intense.

The writers just needed a few minutes to involve the audience in the story by setting the tone right away in the first scene: A car chase between the police and what seems to be a regular and nice family. This makes it all the more idiosyncratic. The rest, of course, evolve more and more into an incredible dystopia.

The feelings provoked by this series are disturbing, but the story, cinematography, and performance of Elisabeth Moss make it absolutely worth watching.

A Conference About The Future of Series

The festival organization team also held a conference for audiovisual professionals about the future of series. One of the highlights was the comical and instructive intervention of the screenwriter and script doctor, Nicola Lusuardi, who is involved in The Young Pope and Gomorrha.

Jean-Michel Cisezewski from the Federation Entertainment (Marseille) talked about the series landscape and a discussion panel with Jacques Kluger, producer, Curro Serrano, writer, Dirk Rosenlöcher, writer, director and producer, and Corinne Le Hong, writer and series creator, was held after that.

Less pleasant was the intervention of Telekom Entertain TV, who tries to take advantage of the increasing demand for streaming services as well. Telekom got the distribution rights for The Handmaid’s Tale produced by Hulu in Germany, which forces people not only to spend money on an above the average expansive streaming service but also to buy access to their internet connection service.

Just with 3 brand new series, Deutsche Telekom expects customers to pay a substantial amount of money. By the way How I met your mother was described as a highlight, which I think is hilarious considering that it has been replayed endlessly on the German free TV channel Pro7 at least since 2009. Can’t wait to subscribe.

Stay tuned for Part 2

That’s all for a start. Stay tuned for a review of Félicité, Detour, Top of the lake: China Girls by Jane Campion and the series of Laetitia Masson, Aurore.

Film Festival Cologne 2017 – Review Part 2


About the Author

Hello there! I'm Martha, a tenacious optimist, professional mistake maker and a pain in the ass for those who love status quo. I love inspiring films and series not only because they're pretty but also because they have the power to change perspective and sometimes to heal.