Weekly Roundup: Berlinale to-view lists, a Mike Nichols memoir, and Riz Ahmed’s reevaluation

Your handy one-stop-shop for film news, interviews, articles, and videos from the week that was.

The industry-only portion of the Berlinale gets rolling on Monday. With the event running a scant five days, publications have wasted little time highlighting the films they feel warrant attention. While IndieWire offers their “10 Most Exciting Films at This Year’s Festival“, Screen Daily frames it as “10 Films to Look Out For” and the Hollywood Reporter drops their “Hot List“, which runs longer than 10 and also includes films screening in the European Film Market.

Were the Berlinale still a physical festival, you might very well see a few attendees biding their time in line with a copy of Mike Nichols: A Life, Mark Harris’ new memoir. Reviewing the book for RogerEbert.com, Brian Tallerico submits, “It’s a memoir that avoids all of the trappings of its genre by being so remarkably nuanced and humanist that one feels like they know not only its subject better but the people who came up around him… [Harris] brings the details to life, which perfectly fits a subject who had an incredible gift at finding relatable humanity through his remarkable craftsmanship.”

In a new interview with Sight & Sound‘s Kaleem Aftab, Riz Ahmed discusses how, while at the commercial height of his career, he found himself in crisis and questioning his motivations. He emerged from this crucible with a new commitment to the characters he’d play and diverse stories he’d champion. In terms his restored conviction and refusal to code-switch, he shares, “I would like not to talk about the change. I just want to be the change. If someone needs to talk about it, I’ll talk about it, but it can be self-defeating. I’m really aware that every time I talk about it, it pushes me back from what is my true calling and my truth. The thing I have to offer is my creative expression.”

As Black History Month draws to a close, the NFB shares a conversation between director Cheryl Foggo and musician Miranda Martini (who happens to be her daughter) about their collaboration on John Ware Reclaimed, which screened at last fall’s edition of VIFF and is now available for free on the NFB site. Discussing how she conceived of the “soulful country” songs to accompany the story of the Black cowboy in frontier Alberta, Martini suggests she drew heavily from the music that soundtracked her own childhood: “We listened to a lot of gospel and soul and R&B from the ’60s and ’70s, but also a fair amount of “soulful” country—Hank Williams, Sr., Ray Charles, that kind of thing. So I grew up understanding that country, bluegrass, jazz and blues are all cousins…”

We fittingly close things out this week with Alison Willmore’s compelling argument over at Vulture that “Every Movie Should End With Song and Dance“.

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