The Berlin International Film Festival (February 7 through 17) has unveiled the lineup for the section many cinephiles are most drawn to each year, the Forum. 41 films in the main program (22 of them world premieres), with an announcement of Forum Special titles forthcoming. With occasional descriptions from the festival:
Die 727 Tage ohne Karamo (The 727 Days without Karamo) by Anja Salomonowitz, Austria – World Premiere.
A Single Shot by David M. Rosenthal, USA/United Kingdom/Canada – WP. With Sam Rockwell and William H. Macy. “Attempts to cover-up a hunting accident soon degenerate into a never-ending nightmare.”
Al-khoroug lel-nahar (Coming Forth by Day) by Hala Lotfy, Egypt.
A batalha de Tabatô (The Battle of Tabatô) by João Viana, Guinea-Bissau/Portugal – WP.
Computer Chess by Andrew Bujalski, USA – International Premiere. “Catapults the viewer back into the 1980s both aesthetically and thematically.” A “chess programmers’ convention in a provincial hotel quickly gets out of hand.”
Echolot by Athanasios Karanikolas, Germany – WP. “Focuses on the social interactions within a large group of friends, who have got together in a house in the countryside following the suicide of one of their number. Athanasios Karanikolas’s fiction debut captures the atmosphere of the gathering as it gradually slips out of control.”
Elelwani by Ntshavheni Wa Luruli, South Africa – IP.
Fahtum pandinsoong (Boundary) by Nontawat Numbenchapol, Thailand/Cambodia – WP.
Fynbos by Harry Patramanis, South Africa/Greece – IP.
Grzeli nateli dgeebi (In Bloom) by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß, Georgia/Germany – WP. “Tells the story of two young female friends in a country marked by civil war and poverty in 1992, taking up the buried traditions of Georgian cinema and weaving together eruptions of violence and a sense of the idyllic, precocious cold-bloodedness and childlike naïveté to form a rhythmic cinematic composition.”
Halbschatten (Everyday Objects) by Nicolas Wackerbarth, Germany/France – WP. A “woman follows her lover’s invitation to the South of France, yet it is only his children she finds in his bungalow there. Their wariness towards her and her attempts to engage with them set the tone for the following days of waiting and uncertainty.”
Hélio Oiticica by Cesar Oiticia Filho, Brazil – IP.
I aionia epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeua (The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas) by Elina Psykou, Greece – WP. “Employs the grotesque as a stylistic device to tell of downfalls and uncertainty. A television presenter who senses that his star is on the wane fakes his own abduction and holes up in an abandoned luxury hotel. His surreal fate becomes a commentary on the current state of the country.”
I kóri (The Daughter) by Thanos Anastopoulos, Greece/Italy – IP. “Tells the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who resorts to drastic measures to help her father out of a financial bind.”
I Used to Be Darker by Matt Porterfield, USA – IP. “About a young woman from Northern Ireland whose struggles with love lead her to seek refuge with relatives on the east coast of the United States.”
Je ne suis pas mort (I’m Not Dead) by Mehdi Ben Attia, France – IP.
Krugovi (Circles) by Srdan Golubović, Serbia/Germany.
Kujira no machi (The Town of Whales) by Keiko Tsuruoka, Japan.
Lamma shoftak (When I Saw You) by Annemarie Jacir, Palestinian Territories/Jordan.
Matar extraños (Killing Strangers) by Jacob Secher Schulsinger, Nicolás Pereda, Mexico/Denmark – WP.
Materia oscura (Dark Matter) by Massimo D’Anolfi and Martina Perenti, Italy – WP.
Das merkwürdige Kätzchen (The Strange Little Cat) by Ramon Zürcher, Germany – WP. “Traces the course of a family gathering in a Berlin flat in summer, celebrating the choreography of everyday life with a keen eye for framings, details and gestures.”
Le météore (The Meteor) by François Delisle, Canada.
Mo sheng (Forgetting to Know You) by Quan Ling, People’s Republic of China – WP.
…Moddhikhane Char (Char… The No Man’s Island) by Sourav Sarangi, India.
Obrana i zaštita (A Stranger) by Bobo Jelčić, Croatia/Bosnia Herzegovina – WP. “Examines the almost insurmountable divisions in the Herzegovinian city of Mostar. The funeral of an old friend in the Muslim part of the city turns into an existential challenge for a Croat, whose fear of treading on toes in his own community takes on increasingly grotesque dimensions.”
La Paz by Santiago Loza, Argentina – WP.
La plaga (The Plague) by Neus Ballús, Spain – WP. “Lies somewhere between documentary and fiction. Ballús’ directorial debut observes five people of different origins on the outskirts of the metropolis of Barcelona, all of whom are struggling desperately for their survival.”
Powerless by Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar, India – WP.
Sakura namiki no mankai no shita ni (Cold Bloom) by Atsushi Funahashi, Japan.
Senzo ni naru (Roots) by Kaoru Ikeya, Japan – WP.
Shirley – Visions of Reality by Gustav Deutsch, Austria – WP.
Sieniawka by Marcin Malaszczak, Germany/Poland – WP. “Allows past, present and future to coalesce in a dilapidated mental asylum and a landscape scarred by coal mining: a lyrical portrait of post-socialist reality between Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany.”
Stemple Pass by James Benning, USA – IP.
Sto lyko (To the Wolf) by Christina Koutsospyrou and Aran Hughes, Greece/France – WP. A “hybrid of fiction and documentary, which makes use of allegorical images to grapple with the bitter poverty spreading throughout Europe’s core.”
Terra de ninguém (No Man’s Land) by Salomé Lamas, Portugal – IP.
Tian mi mi (Together) by Hsu Chao-jen, Taiwan.
Vaters Garten – Die Liebe meiner Eltern (Father’s Garden – The Love of My Parents) by Peter Liechti, Switzerland – WP.
Viola by Matías Piñeiro, Argentina.
The Weight of Elephants by Daniel Joseph Borgman, New Zealand/Denmark – WP. “Tells the story of a ten-year-old boy who sees the world in a playful, dreamy manner and uses his imagination to escape the harshness of everyday life in small town New Zealand.”
Za Marksa… (For Marx…) by Svetlana Baskova, Russia – IP. From the International Film Festival Message to Man: “The year is 2010. Workers brought by in the Soviet system face the savage realities of Russian capitalism. Factory owners decide to solve their problems at the expense of workers, who have already become impoverished over the past few years. The workers create an independent trade union. The main character accidentally witnesses the murder of the trade union leader… The class conflict turns into an uprising. The idea of the film is to show the duality of the Russian character, in which ferocity and kindness, devotion to the cause and betrayal, envy and time spirit are intermingled. The story is based on real events. The film was shot in Cherepovets, Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl and Moscow, at the ZIL factory and the Fabrika project.”