The recently concluded Berlin Film Festival awarded the top prize to the Chinese film, 'Black Coal, Thin Ice' (2014), making it one of the most eagerly awaited films for cinephiles all across the world. The third film by director Diao Yi'nan has also placed him as another film-maker from China whom the world will be following.
Meanwhile, in the last few weeks I had my own 'Berlin in Andheri' film festival, watching all kinds of films, and discovering some new film-makers - previous awards-winners. The 18 films that I watched as part of this year's festival are the following. Some of them are available on YouTube.
1. Opening Film: Child's Pose (2013/ Romania/ Calin Peter Netzer) Won Golden Bear and FIPRESCI Prize in 2013. Watch it for the portrayal of a conflicted mother-son relationship
2. Cul-de-Sac (1966/ UK/ Roman Polanski) Won Golden Bear in 1966. Watch it if you are a Polanski fan
3. Show Me Love aka Fucking Amal (1998/ Sweden/ Lukas Moodysson) Won Teddy Award for Best Feature Film in 1999. Watch it. Just watch it.
4. Elite Squad (2007/ Brazil/ Jose Padilha) Won Golden Bear in 2008. Watch it if you want to see a foreign-language film that is as stylish and accessible as the best of Hollywood. And then watch its sequel, which is also in IMDB Top 250 currently.
5. Gloria (2013/ Chile/ Sebastian Lelio) Won Silver Bear for Best Actress to Paulina Garcia and two more awards in 2013. Watch it for its brutally honest take on growing old without a partner.
6. I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (2006/ South Korea/ Park Chan-wook) Won the Alfred Bauer Prize in 2007. Watch it if you want to see something crazy, funny, and sad at the same time.
7. The Nasty Girl (1990/ West Germany/ Michael Verhoeven) Won Silver Bear for Best Director and two more awards in 1990. Watch it if for the quirks. Watch it if you liked 'Amelie' (2001).
8. Masculin Feminin (1966/ France/ Jean-Luc Godard) Silver Bear for Best Actor to Jean-Pierre Leaud and two more awards in 1966. Watch it if you liked 'Breathless'.
9. Peacock (2005/ China/ Changwei Gu) Jury Grand Prix in 2005. Watch it for its compositions and camerawork.
10. The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012/ Belgium/ Felix Van Groeningen) Won Panorama Audience Award and Label Europa Cinemas Award in 2013. Watch it for the way it blends music with tragedy.
11. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974/ Canada/ Ted Kotcheff) Won Golden Bear in 1974.
Watch it for the performance of Richard Dreyfuss.
12. Early Works (1969/ Yugoslavia/ Zelimir Zelnik) Won Golden Bear and Youth Film Award in 1969. Watch it if you are interested in socialist ideology and/or the form of cinema.
13. Offside (2006/ Iran/ Jafar Panahi) Won Jury Grand Prix in 2006. Watch it if you are in love with football, or Iranian cinema.
14. The Road to Guantanamo (2006/ UK/ by Mat Whitecross and Michael Winterbottom) Won Silver Bear for Best Director in 2006. Watch it for the way it blends drama with documentary.
15. All Things Fair (1996/ Sweden/ Bo Widerberg) Won Special Jury Prize in 1996. Watch it for its sensitive portrayal of a forbidden love.
16. Sweet Emma, Dear Bobe (1992/ Hungary/ Istvan Szabo) Won Jury Grand Prize in 1992. Watch it for its powerful images, especially the opening and the closing shots.
17. Adaptation (2002/ USA/ Spike Jonze) Won Jury Grand Prize in 2003. I was tempted to recommend it as a "must watch before you die". Watch it to figure out why. And also, why I didn't recommend it.
18. Closing Film: Sophie Scholl - The Final Days (2005/ Germany/ Marc Rothemund) Won Silver Berlin Bears for the director as well as for the actress, Julia Jentsch. Another film on the Resistance against Nazis. But extremely powerful and involving.