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The 70th Berlinale International Film Festival will be held from February 20 to March 1, 2020.
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System Crasher in review: Amazing ! Forget about all other contenders

Nine year old actress Helena Zengel in her fourth film

World Premiere screening Viewed at Berlinale Palast, Friday 15:30.

(Original title refers to someone who breaks all the rules wantonly)


Amazing !

Forget about all other contenders.

by Alex Deleon for

In my book this tremendous study of a very troubled child and various concerned  adults who are trying to save  this lovable but uncontrollable kid from self destruction should easily take Best Film, Best Director, and the youngest Best Actress ever, for amazing  nine year old Helena Zengel.

This movie kept me totally engaged and emotionally charged up all the way while identifying with both the violently rebellious child heroine and the understanding young guy, Micha, a social worker specializing in Anger Control, who takes her under his wing, but at high risk to his own budding family of wife snd small children.   Benni, (Bernadette, and she hates the name!)  whose own mother keeps rejecting her tries to force herself on her new caretaker and his family with mixed success when her natural charm keeps giving way to unpredictable outbursts of violence. This is a picture bursting with mixed feelings, positive and negative, love and exasperation, acceptance and rejection, and ultimately one of the most engrossing motion pictures I have seen in the last ten years.

Rarely does the first picture you see in a long festival blow you so totally away that you feel like you don't need to see anything else. The pic received an endless ovation as the end titles rolled and then another long ovation for the directress, Nora Fingscheidt, and the stars of the film introduced one by one by her on stage.

Fingscheidt is 35 but looks younger and this is her first feature film after a long string of acclaimed prize winning shorts and documentaries.

Floating on a feeling of perfect cinematic satisfaction as I was exiting the premises I was thinking of not using the other film tickets I had and  just calling it a day  after this total film experience but, alas, It was an egregious mistake to follow it up at a different theater (the horrible Friedrichstadt palace) with a reprise of the opening film, "The kindness of Strangers", by another woman director with a name hard to remember, Lone Scherfig , 59, of Denmark.  Scherfig's biggest success to date was "Italian for Beginners" which won a Silver Bear at Berlin in 2000.  This one, however, was a tedious bore set in an overly obvious New York City with stick figure characters and an unconvincing plot that would have been a walkout after ten minutes if I wasn't squeezed into a middle row seat I couldn't escape from.  The moral ~~ when you see one really fantastic film do not dilute the experience by watching another piece of crap immediately afterwards.

I will be very surprised (and very disappointed) if SYSTEM CRASHER does not become an international hit this year and make an international star out of Helena Zengel, now aged ten!



Nora Fingscheidt, Helena Zengel and Albrecht Schuchm arrive in Audi e-tron car for the "System Crasher" (Systemsprenger) premiere during the 69th Berlinale International Film Festival at Berlinale Palace on February 8, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Franziska Krug/Getty Images for Audi AG)


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Chatelin Bruno

Berlin 2019: The dailies from the Berlin Film Festival brought to you by our team of festival ambassadors. Vanessa McMahon, Alex Deleon, Laurie Gordon, Lindsay Bellinger and Bruno Chatelin...
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