Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Availability Gap: What We Lose When Netflix Wins The Availability Gap: What We Lose When Netflix Wins Mysteries of Laura Review: Debra Messing on NBC Mysteries of Laura Review: Debra Messing on NBC 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) Daily Reads: The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made, The Last Blockbuster Video Stores and More Daily Reads: The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made, The Last Blockbuster Video Stores and More Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham NY Times TV Critic Writes Article About 'Scandal' Creator Shonda Rhimes as an 'Angry Black Woman' NY Times TV Critic Writes Article About 'Scandal' Creator Shonda Rhimes as an 'Angry Black Woman' Now Streaming: 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Beginners' on Netflix Now Streaming: 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Beginners' on Netflix Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' Reviews: A Liam Neeson Movie Worthy of Liam Neeson 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' Reviews: A Liam Neeson Movie Worthy of Liam Neeson 'Ocean's Twelve' Is a Great Sequel About How Hard It Is to Make a Great Sequel 'Ocean's Twelve' Is a Great Sequel About How Hard It Is to Make a Great Sequel 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them Daily Reads: Alison Bechdel Likes Non-Bechdel Test Passing Movies, Terry Gilliam's Influence and More Daily Reads: Alison Bechdel Likes Non-Bechdel Test Passing Movies, Terry Gilliam's Influence and More David Lynch on 'Eraserhead,' Women in the TV Industry David Lynch on 'Eraserhead,' Women in the TV Industry Criticwire Classic of the Week: Werner Herzog's 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God' Criticwire Classic of the Week: Werner Herzog's 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God' 'Transparent' Reviews: Amazon's New Series Is a Game-Changer 'Transparent' Reviews: Amazon's New Series Is a Game-Changer 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion Newspaper Graciously Offers to Run Aspiring Film Critics' Work Without Charging Them Newspaper Graciously Offers to Run Aspiring Film Critics' Work Without Charging Them Daily Reads: Why Toronto Is the Best Place for Female Filmmakers, In Praise of Fincher's Women and More Daily Reads: Why Toronto Is the Best Place for Female Filmmakers, In Praise of Fincher's Women and More Daily Reads: The Death of Adulthood, the Future of Film in 'Snowpiercer' and More Daily Reads: The Death of Adulthood, the Future of Film in 'Snowpiercer' and More

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