With the addition of seven world premieres today, the Berlinale‘s completed the lineup for the Competition of its 65th edition running from February 5 through 15.
Laura Bispuri’s Vergine giurata (Sworn Virgin). This was a project at L’Atelier at Cannes in 2013: “Hana Doda, still a girl, escapes from her destiny of being a wife and servant which is imposed on the women in the inhospitable mountains in Albania and appeals to the old law of the Kanun, swearing eternal virginity and therefore becoming a ‘sworn virgin.’ She turns into a man, takes up a rifle and becomes Mark Doda. As Mark, she enjoys the same consideration as any other man, but after over ten years spent in solitude in the mountains, Hana decides to change her life. She leaves Albania and goes to Milan, where she meets caring, loving, people that life had denied her so far. Hana struggles to leave her man clothes and learns to be woman, learning to piece back together the two souls that for years have coexisted inside her body.”
Patricio Guzmán’s El botón de nácar (The Pearl Button). The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) notes that the film “tells two stories linked by two small buttons found in the ocean. Two true stories that go beyond the ‘official history.'”
Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Elser (13 Minutes). From Beta Cinema: “Georg Elser was a man who could have changed world history and saved millions of human lives. If only he had had 13 more minutes. With 13 more minutes, the bomb he had personally assembled would have torn apart Adolf Hitler and his henchmen. But this was not to be, and on 8 November 1939, Hitler left the scene of the attempted assassination earlier than expected—leaving Elser to fail catastrophically.”
Radu Jude’s Aferim! With Teodor Corban, Mihai Comanoiu, Cuzin Toma and Alexandru Dabija. At Cineuropa, Stefan Dobroiu notes that it’s “set in the 19th century, when a local policeman, Costandin, is hired by Iordache, a boyar, to find Carfin, a Gypsy slave who had run away from the boyar’s estate after having an affair with his wife, Sultana. Costandin sets out to find the fugitive, beginning a journey full of adventures.”
Pablo Larraín’s El Club (The Club). Paris-based Funny Balloons has just acquired world sales rights, reports Variety‘s John Hopewell. “Shot in Cinemascope, The Club turns on four men who live together in a secluded house in a small, seaside town. Each of them has been sent to this place to purge sins from the past. They live according to a strict regime under the watchful eye of a female caretaker, when the fragile stability of their routine is disrupted by the arrival of a fifth man, a newly disgraced companion, bringing with him the past they thought they had left behind. Lending The Club immediate social point, the five men are priests. ‘I was raised in Catholic schools. Of the priests I met, some have remained honorable, respectable. Some are in jail or have legal issues. And some are lost. This is about the lost ones,’ said Pablo Larraín, adding that The Club was about ‘love, passion, redemption.'”
Sabu’s Ten no chasuke (Chasuke’s Journey). With Ken’ichi Matsuyama, Ito Ohno, Ren Ohsugi, Yusuke Iseya, Hiromasa Taguchi, Tina Tamashiro and Susumu Terajima. Kevin Ma for Film Business Asia: “Set in a world in which people’s fates are determined by screenwriters in Heaven, the film is about Chasuke, a tea server in the afterlife whose inadvertent script suggestions will lead to the tragic death of a woman. To prevent his mistake, Chasuke goes to the human world to save her, only to incur the wrath of Heaven and mysterious assassins from his yakuza past.”
Wim Wenders’s Every Thing Will Be Fine. With James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rachel McAdams, Marie-Josée Croze. Out of Competition. Back in 2013, Beth Hanna posted an official synopsis at Thompson on Hollywood. This’ll be “the story of Tomas (James Franco), a writer who loses control of his life after a car accident. Even though he is not directly at fault, his relationship with his girlfriend breaks down because of this event and his life and work suddenly set off in a completely new direction. The film follows Tomas over a period of 12 years and tells an intimate story of guilt and the search for forgiveness.”
Previously announced Competition titles; click the date to see the descriptions. December 13: Jayro Bustamante’s Ixcanul (Ixcanul Volcano), Andreas Dresen’s Als wir träumten (As We Were Dreaming), Alexey German’s Pod electricheskimi oblakami (Under Electric Clouds), Peter Greenaway‘s Eisenstein in Guanajuato, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years and Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups.
January 14: Bill Condon‘s Mr. Holmes, Di Phan Dang‘s Cha và con và (Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories), Werner Herzog‘s Queen of the Desert, Benoît Jacquot‘s Journal d’une femme de chambre (Diary of a Chambermaid), Jafar Panahi‘s Taxi, Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria, Malgorzata Szumowska‘s Body and Wen Jiang’s Yi bu zhi yao (Gone with the Bullets).