Berlin Diary 3: Love on the rocks. A French non-thriller. And Kim Ki-duk’s new movie.

Posted on February 18, 2018


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The German woman ahead of me in the line (it was a public screening) said she liked to watch films that gave her a glimpse of other cultures. I don’t know if Henrika Kull’s Jibril qualifies exactly, given that it’s about Arabs settled in Germany, but then, one could make the case that any film that depicts events distant from our own experience is a window into another culture. Maryam (Susanna Abdulmajid), at first, seems unremarkable. She’s a single mother with three young daughters (the oldest is 12), and she has assimilated into her adopted homeland without forsaking her roots. She speaks fluent German and Arabic, and if she doesn’t wear a hijab, like her friend does, she does invite an imam to officiate her wedding. That’s where the foreignness of experience comes in — for Jibril (Malik Adan), the man Maryam is getting married to, over the phone, is in jail.

Maryam’s mother believes that true love is something that grows with time, like it happened with her and Maryam’s father — but Maryam isn’t about to dismiss more instant gratifications. You see the mother’s point. Which “sensible” single mother falls for a con? If it’s a physical thing, why doesn’t Maryam go out with the kindly colleague who clearly likes her? But then, does love ever make “sense”? The director divides her film into chapters: Spring, Summer… all the way to New Year’s Eve. And in this passage of time, we witness the passage of Maryam’s push-pull emotions. At one point, after dolling up to meet Jibril (her daughter says she looks like a clown), she decides not to. Jibril questions the very nature of love, and the constant close-ups give us the sense of being Maryam’s confidante. One part of you wants to knock sense into her. Another asks, who are we to judge?


Every year, the Berlinale section titled Culinary Cinema screens films that showcase food. It’s the kind of cinema where the reviews typically say “don’t watch this on an empty stomach.” Kim Ki-duk’s new film is also about food, but the reviews would advise you to not watch it on a full stomach. Even given the South Korean auteur’s fascination with blood and gore, Human, Space, Time and Human is quite something. This isn’t just about a man being shot through the eye, vividly demonstrating the advancements in prosthetics and makeup since The Godfather depicted a similar act of violence. This is also about the line: “I am sick of eating human meat.”

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Foreign