Barrage: Berlinale Film Review


I didn’t go the Berlin International Film Festival as press, I was there on holiday and bought some tickets to the screenings so I only wanted to spend money on films I thought I would enjoy or like and because this stars Isabelle Huppert, the star of the fantastic Elle, I figured I would.

But I misjudged my decision – Huppert is barely in it and it didn’t seem that way in the marketing. She plays Elisabeth, the mother of Catherine (Lolita Chammah, her real life daughter). Elisabeth has been raised Catherine’s 10 year old daughter Alba (Themis Pauwels) but now Catherine wants to be a mum again and takes Alba away for a bonding trip.

The premise was appealing and very strong and the three leads were terrific (and they really look alike) but the film was too slow and meandering and I wanted more explanations and background. I don’t mind a bit of ambiguity but haven’t nothing explicitly explained was frustrating. It is alluded to that Catherine had mental health issues but is that why Elisabeth took over as mother? Why is her relationship with her mum so tense? Why has she only visited her daughter twice in 10 years?

There were many scenes that I loved, the story had real potential and the location was gorgeous. It’s just a shame it lost its way – a few scenes felt like they had no purpose and could have been cut, which would have been nice cos it took too long to wrap up.

Seen as part of Berlinale. No release information yet. 

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