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Berlin Film Festival 2024: Small Things Like These, Crossing, Cuckoo | Festivals & Awards


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While Ms. Lia and Achi’s tall task forms half the story — how likely is it to find Ms. Lia’s niece in a metropolitan area with only an outdated address in hand? — an equally undaunted Evrim (Deniz Dumanli) forms the rewarding second half. A former trans sex worker turned legal volunteer, Evrim helps during the day with local cases, such as an orphaned child peddler needing to be bailed out of jail, and at night enjoys the social scene among her queer community. Though Evrim’s boyfriend is persistently afraid to be seen with her, she isn’t broken by the erasure: She simply hooks up with a hotter guy. 

Much of Levan’s acutely composed follow up to “And Then We Danced,” cycles through the disparate trio, revealing how each feels unacceptable to society. Kankava plays hangdog mope with a heart of gold well; Arabuli is a tightly locked levee of emotion; light seems to bend around the ebullient Dumanli. These three nuanced performances, along with images of Turkey’s trans community, command the tenor of a film pitched around Aleska, a missing person we barely see. Though the final five minutes of “Crossing” is overwritten, nearly spoiling the visual language’s quiet work, the powerfully empathetic work done previously still manages to leap through the screen. 

Tillman Singer’s gory, high-concept horror “Cuckoo” isn’t based around much, but the light details — such as the secluded mountain setting housing a resort and hospital owned by the creepy, crawly German Mr. König (an exceptional Dan Stevens) — are enough to unsettle, confound, and surprise. 

Seventeen-year-old Gretchen (Hunter Schafer) arrives to a retreat with her father Luis (Marton Csókás), stepmother Beth (Jessica Henwick) and her mute 7-year-old stepsister Alma (Mila Lieu), burdened by grief. She recently lost her mother and copes by calling to their former answering machine, the only place she can still her voice. Though Gretchen did come along for the ride, she doesn’t plan on staying long. She has some cash saved up that she hopes will be enough to transit back home to America. Until then, she works as a receptionist at Mr. König’s hotel (a modest ode to “The Shining”) while Beth and Luis design a new resort for him. It doesn’t take long before strange happenings arise. Amid the quiet rolling hills, a scream echoes that forces whoever hears it to be stuck in a time loop. These incidents cause Alma to have seizures. Also, more than one woman is seen shuffling around, uncontrollably vomiting. No wonder Mr. König doesn’t want Gretchen going out alone at night. His warning gains credence when a mysterious shrieking woman begins stalking Gretchen, causing a random detective to take interest. 

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by Xtreme HD IPTV

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