The Forum is the Berlinale program cinephiles tend to gravitate toward and it looks as if the lineup for the 45th edition has plenty of pull to exert. The main program features 43 films; and more Special Screenings are in the offing. Notes in quotes come from the festival.
Abaabi ba boda boda (The Boda Boda Thieves) by Yes! That’s Us, Uganda / South Africa / Kenya / Germany – World premiere (WP).
Al-wadi (The Valley) by Ghassan Salhab, Lebanon / France / Germany.
Balikbayan #1 (Memories of Overdevelopment Redux) by Kidlat Tahimik, The Philippines – WP.
Beira-Mar (Seashore) by Filipe Matzembacher, Marcio Reolon, Brazil – WP. A “young man travels to his family’s seaside house in order to deal with a delicate inheritance matter, accompanied by an old friend. This gentle Brazilian film tells of a long winter weekend, awakening sexuality and new intimacy.”
Ben Zaken by Efrat Corem, Israel – International premiere (IP).
Brasil S/A (Brazilian Dream) by Marcelo Pedroso, Brazil – IP. “Draws on experimental editing techniques of a political bent to channel images both surreal and documentary from the Brazil of the last decades to create an ecstatic cinematic experience.”
Ce gigantesque retournement de la terre (This Gigantic Furrowing of the Ground) by Claire Angelini, France – WP.
Chaiki (The Gulls) by Ella Manzheeva, Russian Federation – WP. “Set in a small town in the Republic of Kalmykia on the shores of the Caspian Sea [and tells] the story of a young woman incapable of escaping her own tiny little world. When her husband, who makes his living from illegal fishing, doesn’t return from a risky boat trip, it offers Elza the opportunity to move beyond familiar territory. In this debut film, the director stages landscapes, living rooms, corridors and streets as points of visual entry into Elza’s inner life.”
Cheol won gi haeng (End of Winter) by Kim Dae-hwan, Republic of Korea – IP.
Counting by Jem Cohen, USA – WP. “Tips its hat to the work of Chris Marker and takes a personal, essayistic stroll through different metropolises of our world in 13 chapters: New York, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Istanbul, Porto, with cats somehow everywhere you look.”
Dari Marusan by Izumi Takahashi, Japan – IP.
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills by Marcin Malaszczak, Germany / Poland / USA – WP.
Le dos rouge (Portrait of the Artist) by Antoine Barraud, France – IP.
Exotica, Erotica, Etc. by Evangelia Kranioti, France – WP.
Flotel Europa by Vladimir Tomic, Denmark / Serbia – WP.
The Forbidden Room by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Canada. “Comes across like an apparently chaotic, yet always significant eroto-claustrophobic nightmare that never seems to want to end. Its countless fantastic plotlines are inspired by real, imaginary and photographic memories of films from the silent era now lost, to which the half-damaged nitrate print aesthetic also pays fabulous homage.”
Freie Zeiten (After Work) by Janina Herhoffer, Germany – WP.
Futaba kara toku hanarete dainibu (Nuclear Nation II) by Atsushi Funahashi, Japan – IP.
Der Geldkomplex (The Money Complex) by Juan Rodrigáñez, Spain – WP.
Il gesto delle mani (Hand Gestures) by Francesco Clerici, Italy – WP.
H. by Rania Attieh, Daniel Garcia, Argentina / USA – IP.
Hedi Schneider steckt fest (Hedi Schneider is Stuck) by Sonja Heiss, Germany / Norway – WP. “Shows particular daring by tackling a serious subject with an unerring grasp of comedy. A model family’s happy world falls to pieces from one day to the next when the carefree Hedi, played by Laura Tonke, suddenly starts suffering panic attacks. Without warning, the happiness the protagonists once took for granted is now tantalisingly out of their reach, rendering their world both fragile and uncertain.”
Histoire de Judas (The Story of Judas) by Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, France – WP. “Doesn’t just remove the wedge others have driven between Jesus and Judas, its sensual, austere account of the last days of Christ also prunes down the story to human size, defying any attempts to create religious divisions.”
Hotline by Silvina Landsmann, Israel / France – WP. “Explores the suffering of African refugees stranded in Israel.”
K by Emyr ap Richard, Darhad Erdenibulag, People’s Republic of China / United Kingdom – WP. “Tries its hand at Kafka’s novel fragment The Castle and transposes the land surveyor’s struggle against opaque bureaucratic structures into the Inner Mongolia of the present.”
Koza by Ivan Ostrochovský, Slovakia / Czech Republic – WP.
Madare ghalb atomi (Atom Heart Mother) by Ali Ahmadzadeh, Iran – WP.
La maldad (Evilness) by Joshua Gil, Mexico – WP. “Tells the story of an old man who still has big plans. His unwavering resolve takes him to the big city, where the demands for political change grow ever louder.”
Mar by Dominga Sotomayor, Chile / Argentina – IP. “Creates a complex picture of society which surfaces only piece by piece from the story of a young couple whose holiday calm is disturbed by an unexpected arrival.”
Mizu no koe o kiku (The Voice of Water) by Masashi Yamamoto, Japan – IP.
La mujer de barro (The Mud Woman) by Sergio Castro San Martín, Chile / Argentina – WP. “Accompanies the taciturn Maria to a previous place of work where she was once the victim of a violent act. When the story threatens to repeat itself, she takes her fate into her own hands.”
Nefesim kesilene kadar (Until I Lose My Breath) by Emine Emel Balcı, Turkey / Germany – WP.
La nuit et l’enfant (The Night and the Kid) by David Yon, France – WP.
Queen of Earth by Alex Ross Perry, USA – WP. Best friends Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) and Virginia (Katherine Waterston) have “reached a turning point. Last year, Virginia wasn’t doing well, while it’s Catherine that’s suffering this time round. The lakeside cabin owned by Virginia’s parents seems the perfect place for a week of mutual wound licking. It won’t be an easy ride.”
Rabo de Peixe (Fish Tail) by Joaquim Pinto, Nuno Leonel, Portugal – WP. “Edited together from unique footage shot between 1999 and 2001 on the Azores, this tender film creates a portrait of the local fishermen there, the work they still do by hand and a life that only still exists in these images. The intoxicating shots of the sea, boats, black beaches and white houses equally allude to states of mind.”
La sirène de Faso Fani (The Siren of Faso Fani) by Michel K. Zongo, Burkina Faso / France / Germany – WP.
Sueñan los androides (Androids Dream) by Ion de Sosa, Spain / Germany – IP.
Superwelt (Superworld) by Karl Markovics, Austria – WP.
Thamaniat wa ushrun laylan wa bayt min al-sheir (Twenty-Eight Nights and A Poem) by Akram Zaatari, Lebanon / France – WP.
Über die Jahre (Over the Years) by Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria – WP.
Viaggio nella dopo-storia (Journey into Post-History) by Vincent Dieutre, France – WP.
Violencia (Violence) by Jorge Forero, Colombia / Mexico – WP. “Consists of three strikingly shot individual episodes. A prisoner chained up in the jungle, a teenager looking for work and a high-ranking officer in a militia: one day, three men, three locations, all connected by the sheer ubiquity of violence in Colombia.”
Zurich by Sacha Polak, The Netherlands / Germany / Belgium – WP. Nina “goes off the rails in the aftermath of a shocking event. The young woman goes to ground in the anonymous world of motorways and service stations, restless and constantly on the move to avoid ever having to look back. The director is so close to her movements that a sense of true intimacy emerges, allowing the viewer to almost take part in the grieving process.”