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5 Films From The 2024 Berlin Film Festival

The 74th Berlin Film Festival marked the outgoing edition for artistic director Carlo Chatrian, who will be replaced next year by Tricia Tuttle, the former head of the London Film Festival. This year’s jury, headed by Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o, awarded Mati Diop’s one-hour film Dahomey the coveted Golden Bear – the second year in a row that a documentary took the top prize Here, we’ve brought together five of the best films that played in this year’s Berlinale. 

Love Lies Bleeding | Rose Glass

Rose Glass, the British filmmaker who enjoyed huge critical acclaim with her 2019 debut Saint Maud, returned with this blistering crime yarn. Set in the late 1980s, we follow the story of Lou (Kristen Stewart), a gym manager who falls in with a female bodybuilder (Katy O’Brian). However, their relationship begins to turn sour when a dire situation arises concerning Lou’s criminal family. A violent and surreal must-see, Glass and her co-writer Weronika Tofilska (who directed on the shows Hanna and His Dark Materials) have crafted one of the most compelling films of the year. 

Made In England: The Films of Powell and Pressburger | Martin Scorsese

Any fan of master director Martin Scorsese will be aware how much he lauds the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, the filmmakers behind such luminous British films as The Red Shoes (1984) and A Matter of Life and Death (1946). Here, Scorsese talks us through their movies, one by one, in an illuminating documentary that also serves as a perfect primer for his own work. Directed by David Hinton, who previously helmed a South Bank Show episode about Powell in the 1980s, this is a hugely knowledgeable homage that makes you admire and value Scorsese even more.

Crossing | Levan Akin

Already picked up by MUBI and soon to be seen in the BFI Flare season in London is this engaging film by Swedish director Levan Akin (known for And Then We Danced). A Georgian schoolteacher (Mzia Arabuli) teams up with a former pupil, Achi (Lucas Kankava), as they head to Istanbul to find her late sister’s estranged daughter Tekla (Tako Kurdovanidze). Playing in the Berlin Film festival’s Panorama strand, this is a movie that lightly wears its heavyweight topics – trans rights and identity – especially thanks to the engaging chemistry between Arabuli and Kankava. 

Small Things Like These | Claire Keegan

Opening the festival was this modest but powerful adaptation of the 2020 novel by Claire Keegan. Cillian Murphy stars as the owner of a coal business in County Wexford in Ireland in the mid-1980s, a man troubled by his own childhood, especially when he visits a local convent. Emily Watson, who won a prize for her supporting performance at the festival, excels as the convent’s Mother Superior, and it’s her scenes with Murphy that really stand out. Director Tim Mielants (who worked with Murphy on Peaky Blinders) also does a fine job of conjuring up the look of the era.

A Different Man | Aaron Schimberg’

A fascinating meditation on perceptions of beauty, Aaron Schimberg’s New York fable channels the vibe of Charlie Kaufman for this very meta movie. Marvel star Sebastian Stan, who won best leading performance at the festival, is glorious as Edward, whose face becomes disfigured by neurofibromatosis. Renate Reinsve, of The Worst Person In The World, is equally watchable as Edward’s conniving neighbour. And Adam Pearson, who featured in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and has this rare condition for real, also plays a vital role in this thought-provoking work. 

Words: James Mottram


  1. Tales of Hoffman (1951), dir. Powell and Pressburger
  2. Love Lies Bleeding (2024), dir. Rose Glass
  3. The Red Shoes (1948), dir. Powell and Pressburger
  4. Crossing (2024), dir. Levan Akin
  5. Small Things Like These (2024), dir. Claire Keegan
  6. A Different Man (2024), dir. Aaron Schimberg