We’ve selected 10 must see films for the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival

A small selection from the 400 films being shown during the annual festival

The next big film festival of the year is due to get under way later today and as always the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival features a fascinating selection of movies. Running until the 25th of February, almost 400 films will be shown in total, with 24 screened as part of the official Competition, 19 of which will be vying for the Golden Bear. Silver Bear awards will also handed out for individual contributions including best director, actor and screenwriter.

We’ve picked out a small selection of films we hope live up to their promise over the next 11 days.



Director: Hong Sang-soo
Starring: Kim Min-hee, Ki Joo-Bong, Jung Jin-Yung, Seo Young-Hwa

Hang Sang-soo casts Kim Min-hee, who shone in The Handmaiden and has appeared in Sang-soo’s last three releases – The Day After, Claire’s Camera and the magnificent On The Beach at Night Alone. They team up once again to tell a cheerfully melancholy story about the guests at a small café whose owner loves classical music.



Director: Christian Petzold
Starring: Franz Rogowski, Paula Beer, Godehard Giese

Petzold follows up 2014’s Phoenix with a story about a 27-year old German who is tasked with delivering a letter to a man named Weidel in Paris. He assumes the identity of a refugee named Seidler as he travels to Marseille, but he’s mistaken by the authorities as Weidel himself.



Isle of Dogs
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Bill Murray, Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Yoko Ono

It’s been 4 years since The Grand Budapest Hotel and the Isle of Dogs sees Wes Anderson return to familiar territory. Atari is the 12-year-old ward of corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When the boy’s dog is exiled to Trash Island, Atari sets off in search of his pet, accompanied by a pack of proud four-legged mongrels. Their journey will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.



Season of the Devil
Director: Lav Diaz
Starring: Piolo Pascual, Shaina Magdayao, Angel Aquino

You usually need to set aside an entire day to watch a Lav Diaz film given how long they tend to last. Most famously his 2008 release, Melancholia, has a 450 minute runtime, giving a whole new meaning to slow cinema. But the Filipino director is nothing short of prolific and his latest release is something a little different. It is labelled as an ‘anti-musical musical’ set in a small village during the 70s. If nothing else, expect it to be a complete one-off. Oh, and this one is just short of 4 hours long.



Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Aimee Mullins, Amy Irving, Claire Foy, Jay Pharoah, Joshua Leonard, Juno Temple

Logan Lucky put Soderbergh’s film retirement plan firmly on ice and the release of Unsane – a film shot entirely on an iPhone – takes him into the horror genre for the first time. A young woman leaves her hometown to escape a troubled past and begin a new job. When she is involuntarily committed to a mental institution she is confronted by her greatest fear – but is it real or just her delusion?



The Real Estate
Directors: Måns Månsson, Axel Petersén
Starring: Léonore Ekstrand, Christer Levin, Christian Saldert

After a life of decadence and monthly allowances, sixty-eight-year-old Nojet inherits an apartment building in downtown Stockholm. However, the building turns on her and what appeared to be a cash cow is in fact a curse.



Director: Alonso Ruizpalacios
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Simon Russell Beale, Lynn Gilmartin

Alonso Ruizpalacios’ second film follows perennial students Juan and Wilson who are planning a daring coup. They intend to break into the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and steal sacred Inca artefacts, in particular the funerary mask of King Pakal.



Director: Benoît Jacquot
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Gaspard Ulliel, Julia Roy

Almost any film starring Isabelle Huppert is worth taking note of and this pairing with director Benoît Jacquot will hopefully live up to expectation. Eva promises to follow in the footsteps of Jacquot’s usual erotic style, telling the story of a playwright who encounters a mysterious woman when he takes shelter in a chalet during a violent snowstorm. Hoping she’ll become his muse to help him create an eagerly anticipated play, Eva has one or two kinky surprises in store for the young man.



The Green Fog
Directors: Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson

Director Guy Maddin continues to work with his Forbidden Room collaborators, and this time has set himself the challenge to remake Vertigo without using footage from the Hitchcock classic. Instead, he splices together a collection of old TV shows and films all set in San Francisco to create something totally unique.



Black 47
Director: Lance Daly
Starring: Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddie Fox, Barry Keoghan, Jim Broadbent

Lance Daly’s film is set in Ireland during the Great Famine, following an Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, as he abandons his post to reunite with his family. It’s a rare look back at the mid-19th century famine caused by the British that led to the death of over one million people.

Steven Sheehan

Updated: Feb 15, 2018

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We’ve selected 10 must see films for the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival | The Digital Fix