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February 13, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The collection of films selected by Dieter Kosslick and his associates as he presides over his 18th and final year as director of the Berlin International Film Festival — the Berlinale — is taking a beating from critics. The British trade journal Screen Daily, which publishes a daily “grid” indicating how a selection of eight top international critics has reviewed the films shown in competition, reveals that not a single film has averaged three stars or more (out of a possible four). The top-ranked films thus far are the Chinese film Öndög, from director Wang Quan’an and the Macedonian film God Exists, and Her Name is Petrunya, from director Teona Strugar Mitevska, each of which has garnered an average of 2.9 stars.

Scene from Ondög

But critics have primarily praised Öndög for its exquisite cinematography by the Mandarin-speaking Frenchman Aymerick Pilarski, and the feminist comedy God Exists has drawn only one four-star review from the Screen Daily reviewers. By contrast last year at this time Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animation film Isle of Dogs was the favorite of critics with a 3.3-star average.

No matter. The winner of the top Golden Bear prize at the festival in 2018 was the Romanian film, Touch Me Not, which averaged a measly 1.5 stars, making it the lowest-rated film of all among the Screen Daily critics.