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Berlinale | Christian Petzold breathes fresh air at the Berlinale with ‘Afire’



Christian Petzold is among the most important German directors working and among the most progressive; His filmography contains meditations on collective German guilt, detailed allegories linking Nazism to the refugee crisis, and reinterpretations of Germanic myths. Which is why it’s surprising that, at least until it stops being one, his new movie is completely comical and funny.

His sixth novel to contend for the Golden Bear, “Afire” focuses on a writer less distinguished by his talent than by an incredibly selfish man, unable to show even the slightest bit of empathy and thus understand his needs. And your worries and fears are of relative importance outside your belly button. And while teaching the protagonist a lesson, Petzold shows us that his cinema is adept not only when it comes to feeding our minds, but also when it comes to touching our hearts.

A depressing and exhausting movie

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If Afire had breathed a breath of fresh air at the BerlinaleThe third of the works presented in the competition today was responsible for its blackout. It was directed by the Portuguese João Canegu and stars women from three generations who run a hotel on the outskirts of PortoMal Vivir’s film makes use of a few of the techniques associated with the more exotic “art” cinema—extremely long still shots, images reflected in mirrors and windows, frames that forcefully cut silhouettes, superimposed dialogue— To see how these characters argue, berate each other, mercilessly insult each other, get muscle from their miseries, and, in general, are unfailingly cruel to one another; It is without a doubt one of the most depressing and exhausting films this festival has shown in recent decades..

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It forms part of a double film with another film directed by Canegu, “Vivir Mal”, focused on the guests of the same hotel and also present at the Berlinale, out of competition. No one should expect from this historian the strength to come and see it.

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