European Films

My Little Sister: Two siblings clinging together

By Bernd Reinhardt, 5 January 2021

Can love between siblings survive when a brother falls ill and needs care, while his sister enjoys life as one of society’s affluent? This is the question posed by the Swiss film My Little Sister.

Young Ahmed: A portrait of a youthful religious zealot—from the Dardenne brothers

By David Walsh, 18 December 2020

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne often dramatize situations and problems they locate, as in the case of Young Ahmed, in their native region of southern Belgium, one of the oldest and most decayed industrial areas in the world.

Amin: A worker far from home

By Joanne Laurier, 12 December 2020

Amin is a subdued, thoughtful look at the condition of migrant workers who break their backs in the metropolitan countries to feed their families in their native lands.

The Endless Trench: Hiding for decades from the Spanish fascists

By David Walsh, 20 November 2020

The film fictionally treats an actual phenomenon, the dozens or more of left-wing opponents of Franco, known as “moles,” who concealed themselves in their own homes for 30 years following the defeat of the Republican forces in 1939.

The Truth: Catherine Deneuve as an actress with her feet on the ground

By David Walsh, 22 August 2020

A French actress in her 70s, Fabienne Dangeville, receives a visit at her elegant Paris home from her daughter Lumir, son-in-law Hank and grand-daughter Charlotte, who live in New York.

Quebec film distributors censor Roman Polanski’s J’accuse

By Louis Girard, 20 June 2020

Yielding to the anti-democratic #MeToo campaign, distributors in Quebec refused to buy the rights to Polanski’s remarkable film about the Dreyfus Affair.

70th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 5

Strike or Die and several shorts: Filipiñana, Union County, Huntsville Station: A renewed interest in workers’ lives

By Verena Nees, 30 March 2020

This year’s Berlinale showed films featuring workers and their families as central characters who, despite oppressive living conditions, exhibit self-confidence, pride and a degree of rebellious spirit.

70th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 4

My Little Sister, Kids Run, Running on Empty and Sleep speak to growing social tensions and persisting historical nightmares

By Bernd Reinhardt, 24 March 2020

In recent years, a small minority of the middle class have successfully pursued their careers and become wealthy while a large majority directly confront poverty. This polarisation also applies to the art and film world.

70th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 2

Speer Goes to Hollywood: A wake-up call about the danger of trivialising Nazi crimes

By Verena Nees, 11 March 2020

The title of Vanessa Lapa’s documentary, Speer Goes to Hollywood, and its tagline, “The Unbelievable Second Career of the Good Nazi,” are enough to stop one in one’s tracks.

70th Berlin International Film Festival

An interview with Vanessa Lapa, director of Speer Goes to Hollywood: “We have to take the danger of rewriting history very seriously.”

By Verena Nees, 11 March 2020

The WSWS spoke to Vanessa Lapa, whose film documents the career of Hitler’s favorite architect, Albert Speer, and dispels the mythology that still surrounds him.

Roman Polanski gets César for best director for J’Accuse, in repudiation of #MeToo

By Alex Lantier, 29 February 2020

The French Film Academy openly defied demands from the #MeToo movement and President Emmanuel Macron’s government not to give Polanski an award.

#MeToo collaborates with fascistic forces to block showing of Polanski’s film J’Accuse

By Alex Lantier, 15 February 2020

Allied with the reactionary Macron government, #MeToo demands the censorship of Polanski’s brilliant account of the anti-Semitic frame-up of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, which was a seminal event in modern French history.

The death of Anna Karina at 79—the actress featured in Jean-Luc Godard’s films in the 1960s

By David Walsh, 17 December 2019

Anna Karina, the Danish-born actress indelibly associated above all with the early films of French-Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard, died Saturday at a Paris hospital from cancer.

The Dirty War on the National Health Service: John Pilger documentary “goes to the heart of the struggle for democracy today”

By Jean Shaoul, 10 December 2019

Pilger’s work is a deeply passionate appeal to working people in the UK to oppose the decades-long, covert assault on the NHS by all three major parties.

#MeToo launches fascistic attack on Polanski’s film J’accuse

By Alex Lantier, 23 November 2019

The #MeToo campaign is aligning itself with the French state, slandering anyone who views or admires this magnificent retelling of the Dreyfus Affair as a rape apologist.

69th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 3

Israeli films, Mr. Jones and Marighella

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 February 2019

This is the third in a series of articles on the recent Berlin International Film Festival, the Berlinale, held February 7-17, 2019. The first part was posted on February 15 and the second on February 22.

Prazdnik (Holiday): Film about social inequality in Russia attracts mass audience

By Clara Weiss, 18 February 2019

The film is a poignant indictment of social inequality and has been subject to a campaign of Russian government censorship.

68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 3

The Waldheim Waltz: A timely film about the World War II role of former Austrian president

By Stefan Steinberg, 20 March 2018

The events surrounding Kurt Waldheim’s campaign and subsequent election in 1985-86 played a major role in uncovering the real role played by the Austrian ruling elite in the Second World War.

Cottbus Festival of Eastern European Cinema

From Slovenia, Jan Cvitkovič’s The Basics of Killing: “We are all alone in capitalist society, especially when things go wrong”

By Stefan Steinberg, 16 November 2017

The “basics of killing” are the social measures and pressures that can destroy the lives of entire families in a short time.

Maren Ade’s award-winning Toni Erdmann: Slaves to modern global business

By Bernd Reinhardt, 9 January 2017

The considerable international success of the German film certainly has something to do with frustrating and bitter experiences of broad sections of the population.

Night Will Fall: A powerful depiction of Nazi atrocities

By Paul Mitchell, 26 November 2014

Night Will Fall explains the making of a remarkable work, the “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey”, which depicted the terrible crimes of the Holocaust in a ground-breaking and accurate manner.

Distortion and dishonesty: Ukrainian films at the Cottbus Film Festival

By Stefan Steinberg, 20 November 2014

The Festival of East European Cinema in Cottbus, Germany has been an annual event since 1991.

The legacy of postwar Polish filmmaker Andrzej Munk

By Dorota Niemitz, 13 October 2014

Munk, part of a generation of Eastern European artists struggling to deal with the postwar situation, was able to create a humane and authentic portrait of his times.

64th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 1

Political agendas at this year’s Berlinale

By Stefan Steinberg, 20 February 2014

A notable feature of the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival was the manner in which certain leading figures in the film word openly promoted their retrograde political agendas.

63rd Berlin International Film Festival—Part 1

Unresolved issues in today’s filmmaking

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 February 2013

A number of interesting films from central and eastern Europe were awarded prizes in Berlin this year, but, unfortunately, they were not characteristic of the festival as a whole.

Some cinematic landmarks of the 1960s in Stalinist East Germany

By Bernd Reinhardt, 3 August 2011

Signs of social dissatisfaction with the Stalinist state in the 1960s were captured in a series of East German films, which were either immediately banned or dropped by cinemas after a short time.

The political tone at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival

By Jordan Mattos, 14 May 2011

The recent Tribeca Film Festival screened some interesting works from Serbia, Hungary, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Korea, France and Romania in particular.

I am Love and The Leopard: Italian cinema new and old

By Joanne Laurier, 27 July 2010

Numerous critics argue that director Luca Guadagnino’s I am Love represents something of a revival of Italian cinema, and compare the new film favorably to Luchino Visconti’s 1963 masterpiece, The Leopard.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2010 Part 2: Susa—The type of life that requires illusions

By David Walsh, 11 May 2010

Susa, directed by Rusudan Pirveli and written by Giorgi Chalauri, comes from Georgia, the former Soviet Republic. The title character (played by Avtandil Tetradze) is a boy living in bad conditions, somewhere outside the capital city of Tbilisi.

Jacques Audiard’s Un prophète: An extreme case of making a virtue out of necessity

By Joanne Laurier, 20 April 2010

A 19-year-old homeless youth of North African descent is jailed in a French prison, where he develops into a new type of gangster.

60th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 6

The jurist Fritz Bauer and Germany’s Nazi past

By Bernd Reinhardt, 17 March 2010

The documentary Fritz Bauer—Tod auf Raten (Fritz Bauer—Death by Instalments), directed by Ilona Ziok, celebrates the German jurist and prosecutor Fritz Bauer (1903-1968), who now—unjustly—is almost forgotten.

60th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 5

Romania, Bosnia, and the problems of immigrants

By Stefan Steinberg, 11 March 2010

Romanian cinema has won a reputation in the last few years with a series of films by younger directors attempting to come to grips with the consequences of the introduction of the capitalist free market following the collapse of Stalinism.

60th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 4

This year’s German films: In general, a more serious tone

By Bernd Reinhardt, 6 March 2010

A number of trends currently find expression in German cinema. On the whole, this year’s feature and documentary films on view at the Berlinale adopted a more serious tone.

Vincere—the tragic life of Ida Dalser, Mussolini’s first wife

By Richard Phillips, 28 November 2009

Vincere is about Ida Dalser, the first wife of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Directed by Marco Bellocchio, this audacious work should encourage audiences to examine the dark history of this period in more detail.

Germany: Berlin cinema shows films commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall

By Bernd Reinhardt, 11 August 2009

On the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, a cinema in the German capital showed a retrospective of films dealing with the event.

Everlasting Moments: The world to be explored and preserved

By Joanne Laurier, 30 April 2009

At the age of 77, Swedish director Jan Troell is one of Europe’s more distinguished filmmakers. His latest film, Everlasting Moments, tells the story of Maria Larsson, a Finnish-born mother of seven and wife of Sigge, a flamboyant, militant docker.

La Fille Coupée En Deux, the new film from Claude Chabrol

By Hiram Lee, 29 December 2008

Veteran French New Wave director Claude Chabrol returns to the screen with an interesting but limited work inspired by the life of Evelyn Nesbit.