Past Lives

Source: Sundance Film Festival

‘Past Lives’

Celine Song’s feature debut Past Lives has finished top of Screen’s 2023 Berlin jury grid after the final five titles failed to match its average score of 3.6 from seven critics.

The romantic drama has the highest score of a Berlin jury grid winner since 2017’s The Other Side Of Hope by Aki Kaurismaki, which scored 3.7.

Berlin 2023_Jury Grid_for online_I

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Past Lives stars Greta Lee, Teo Yoo and John Magaro, and follows two childhood friends from South Korea who reconnect for a few days in New York. It had its world premiere at Sundance last month.

The second-place title on the grid this year was Christian Petzold’s Afire with a 3.4 average, whilst Lila Avilés Tótem was third with 2.9. 

Makoto Shinkai’s Suzume, Nicolas Philibert’s Golden Bear winner On The Adamant and Liu Jian’s Art College 1994 all land on the grid in joint fourth place with a score of 2.7.

Japanese animation Suzume – about the titular character travelling the country closing mysterious doors to disaster – received a mix of two (average) and three (good) star ratings.

Both On The Adamant and Art College 1994 were met with mostly two stars, followed by two four-star scores (excellent) and one three.

Philibert’s documentary follows the daily lives of patients and caregivers at a central Paris psychiatric centre while Jian’s Chinese animation is a coming-of-age story centring around a group of college students and set against the backdrop of reforms opening China up to the west.

Ivan Sen’s Limbo was rated by critics with an average of 2.1. The Australian film scored a mix of two- and three-star ratings while Morning Star’s Rita Di Santo gave it just one star (poor). Set in the outback, Simon Baker plays a detective working on a cold-case murder.

The final title to be scored is Christoph Hochhäusler’s Till The End Of Night which received an average rating of 2. Similarly, critics gave the German drama a mix of two and three-star ratings with Santo giving it a one.

A contemporary film noir, the film follows an undercover agent who infiltrates a drugs gang as the partner of a trans woman with ties to the gang’s boss. 

Finishing in last place is Joao Canijo’s Bad Living after Paolo Bertolin’s score of 0 (bad) brought the film’s average down to a 1.7.

Screen’s last Berlin jury grid was in 2021 and was topped by Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Wheel Of Fortune And Fantasy and Maria Speth’s Mr Bachmann And His Class, both on 3.3.