Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Reviews: 'Hail, Caesar!' Is the Coens at Their Best First Reviews: 'Hail, Caesar!' Is the Coens at Their Best A.O. Scott and Why It's a Critic's Duty to Be Wrong A.O. Scott and Why It's a Critic's Duty to Be Wrong Film Writers Narrowly Escape Tragedy in Sundance Accident Film Writers Narrowly Escape Tragedy in Sundance Accident Is There More to Louis C.K.'s 'Horace and Pete' Than Its Surprise Release? Is There More to Louis C.K.'s 'Horace and Pete' Than Its Surprise Release? New Classic: Asghar Farhadi's 'A Separation' New Classic: Asghar Farhadi's 'A Separation' 'Manchester by the Sea,' Indiewire's Sundance Critics Poll Winner, Is Part Tragedy, Part Farce 'Manchester by the Sea,' Indiewire's Sundance Critics Poll Winner, Is Part Tragedy, Part Farce New Classics: Greg Mottola's 'Adventureland' New Classics: Greg Mottola's 'Adventureland' Daily Reads: Why the Disney Vault Needs to Go Away, How the Republican Primaries Have Broken 'SNL,' and More Daily Reads: Why the Disney Vault Needs to Go Away, How the Republican Primaries Have Broken 'SNL,' and More Daily Reads: The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy, When TV Drama Cover The Iowa Caucus, and More Daily Reads: The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy, When TV Drama Cover The Iowa Caucus, and More The Totally Insane Ending to 'Little Boy' Has Critics Fuming The Totally Insane Ending to 'Little Boy' Has Critics Fuming Daily Reads: The 'Hollywood Blackout' Controversy at the 1996 Academy Awards, Everybody's a Critic and That's How it Should Be, and More Daily Reads: The 'Hollywood Blackout' Controversy at the 1996 Academy Awards, Everybody's a Critic and That's How it Should Be, and More Is 'Horace and Pete' Worth $5? And Who's Asking, Anyway? Is 'Horace and Pete' Worth $5? And Who's Asking, Anyway? Kristen Wiig's 'AbracaDeborah' Is the Non-Existent Sundance Movie Everyone's Talking About Kristen Wiig's 'AbracaDeborah' Is the Non-Existent Sundance Movie Everyone's Talking About Adam Sandler's 'The Ridiculous 6' Is Getting Some of the Year's Most Hilariously Scathing Reviews Adam Sandler's 'The Ridiculous 6' Is Getting Some of the Year's Most Hilariously Scathing Reviews Daily Reads: Separating Bill Cosby From Cliff Huxtable, How Gregory Peck Brought Diversity to the Academy, and More Daily Reads: Separating Bill Cosby From Cliff Huxtable, How Gregory Peck Brought Diversity to the Academy, and More Fear of a Black Dingus: Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight' Fear of a Black Dingus: Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight' 'The Gift': A Great Thriller (Almost) Ruined By a Terrible Ending 'The Gift': A Great Thriller (Almost) Ruined By a Terrible Ending Could 'The Hateful Eight' Kill Film Instead of Saving It? Could 'The Hateful Eight' Kill Film Instead of Saving It? 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': Why Rey's Hypercompetence Is a Feature, Not a Bug 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': Why Rey's Hypercompetence Is a Feature, Not a Bug New Classic: Armando Iannucci's 'In the Loop' New Classic: Armando Iannucci's 'In the Loop'

Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, 'Snowpiercer' and 'Journey to the West' Top 2014 Berlinale Critics Poll

Photo of Steve Greene By Steve Greene | Criticwire February 18, 2014 at 11:16AM

We sampled some critics' favorite films and performances from Berlinale 2014.
0
Tsai Ming-lai's "Journey to the West."
Tsai Ming-lai's "Journey to the West."

This year's Berlin International Film Festival was a time for heavy hitters. While Golden Bear winner "Black Coal, Thin Ice" came from a relatively unknown Chinese filmmaker, additional prizes went to Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson, pointing to a program largely designed to showcase established auteurs.

To determine some of the more well-received titles from this year's slate, we conducted a survey of our Criticwire Network from members who were at Berlin over the past few weeks. As the festival wound down, we asked respondents to send their picks in a number of categories, from Best Feature (both Narrative and Documentary) to Best Performance (Lead and Supporting) to Best First Feature.

Among the results, one title that appeared most frequently in a number of those areas was "Journey to the West," from director Tsai Ming-liang. His last film, "Stray Dogs," was a festival mainstay for the latter part of 2013, following its Venice debut. The follow-up, a 54-minute chronicle of a Buddhist monk's travels through Marseille, stars Denis Lavant and frequent Tsai Ming-liang collaborator Lee Kang-sheng.

Many critics included a handful of large-scale high-concept films from this year's program. Bong Joon-ho's mystifying "Snowpiercer," anchored by performances from Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, received high marks as a shining example of world cinema science fiction, just in time for news that the director's cut would hit U.S. theaters. Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac, Vol. 1," which has played internationally for months and at a surprise Sundance screening back in January, drew mentions in everything from Best Narrative Feature to Best Ensemble. And, once again, Linklater continues his magical festival run with another venue where his long-gestating "Boyhood" has screened to great acclaim.

The festival's effective bookends, opening night entry "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and Golden Bear winner "Black Coal, Thin Ice," both merited inclusion on a number of lists. First-time Wes Anderson troupe member Ralph Fiennes found himself on nearly half the ballots for the former, while the director-actor pairing of Diao Yinan and Liao Fan brought plenty of attention to their prize-winning noir.

The debut feature that continues to wow critics is Eskil Vogt's "Blind." Telling the story of a woman recently left without her sight, the tonal blend between levity and drama has drawn attention for both Vogt and lead actress Ellen Dorrit Petersen. Another Berlin curiosity that caught the attention of a few writers is Guillaume Nicloux's "The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq": A fictionalized version of the "disappearance" of its titular author back in late 2011, Houellebecq plays himself (and as a result appeared on a trio of Best Lead Performance lists).

Among the other multiple acting mentions: Jack O'Connell for his role in the Northern Ireland period drama "'71" and Alfred Molina in Ira Sachs' latest "Love is Strange." 

For a full list of critic ballots, click through to the next page.


E-Mail Updates