Saturday, November 10, 2012

My review of the 3rd Lakino Film Festival, Berlin, October 2012

Lakino @ Babylon Cinema, Berlin

Back in October we went to the Lakino (Latin American) film festival at Babylon Cinema in Rosa-Luxemburg Platz, Berlin. We visited on the opening night, Friday, and watched a series of six really great Latin short films. The winner of the entire competition turned out to be one of the ones we watched, "Tela" by Carlos Nader from Brazil. The quality of the short films was very high and I thoroughly enjoyed watching all of them. It was very difficult to choose the best film as they all had different styles and interesting concept to get you engaged and thinking.

"Tela" by Carlos Nader, Brazil
The winner, “Tela” by Carlos Nader from Brazil, was actually my favourite film out of the ones we saw so I am glad that it won. It used a circular motif and played on the idea of a self-reflective and self-aware audience. The entire film is focused on a cinema audience watching a film of a cinema audience watching a film! So, you couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable as you sat there in the audience, watching an audience, watching an...well you can work it out for yourself! It takes a while to get your head around the concept, but this for me, was one of the most ‘intelligent’ films in the screening. 

"Los Retratos" by Ivan D Gaonawer, Columbia
There were two other films that stood out for me. The first one was Colombian film “Los Retratos” by Ivan D Gaonawer and many of the people I talked to after the screening thought this one was the best. I can see why because it had a wonderful ‘feel-good’ appeal. “Los Retratos” tells the story of a delightful elderly couple from a small village who ‘win’ a polaroid camera at the local market. Rather than buying the chicken they were hoping to have for lunch, the old lady comes home with her new and unexpected prize. The only problem is that neither of them have any idea what it is for!  

The characters were instantly lovable and you felt for their plight as they were struggling to survive daily life in a small mountain village. Rather than making us feel sorry for the poverty-stricken couple though, the movie takes a swing for the light-hearted and subtle comedic side as, once their ‘wealthy’ neighbour shows them how to take photos with the device, they embark on an adventure to capture themselves in the photos. For a short happy time, their hunger is suppressed. 

"Salón Royale" by Sabrina Campos, Argentina

The second film that sticks in my mind was the “Salón Royale” by Sabrina Campos from Argentina. The whole film takes place in a car with a group of girls heading to and from an event. Pretty much anyone can relate to at least one of the characters as someone accidentally lets it slip that an ex-boyfriend of one of the other passengers will be there with his new girlfriend. The girl in question tries to keep it cool and pretend that she is not bothered at all and the two friends try to support her whilst getting more and more frustrated by her constant ramblings and return to the topic. 

The Foyer of Babylon Cinema
The other three films we saw were great too and had their appeal but for me these were my favourite. Compared to the lovable elderly couple, the ranting and ironic girl-chat and the self-aware movie audience, it was tough to beat. 

Some traditional pieces on display in the foyer

Entrance for the festival was 7 euros and it was well worth the ticket. There was also a small but interesting exhibition in the foyer of some traditional ceramics, wares and figures from Latin America. The only complaint about the event that I had was that our seats were not the actual cinema seats. We had to sit in normal chairs which had been put along the back wall of the balcony (in order to fit more people in) so my view of the screen a little bit blocked by the people in the ‘real’ seats in front. At least I wasn't one of the people who had to stand throughout! 

One of the great things I love about living in Berlin is that pretty much every week there is some kind of festival or cultural event going on. I’ve never been at a loss for things to do in my spare time.   


  1. This seems like a great event. I wish I knew about it, as I would have loved to go! Definitely great. I will look up the Brazilian film b/c I have a friend who loves Brazil and it would make for a great movie-date night. Glad you had fun!

    1. It was great fun thanks. Definitely check out to see if you can watch the films because they were all really cool. Not sure where you could find them though. There is another short film festival at the moment actually. Maybe you're interested? It's called Interfilm and is on until the 18th November.