Films include Shepherds and Butchers with Steve Coogan; Don’t Call Me Son from Anna Muylaert; and a documentary about a director and actress who were kidnapped by Kim Jong-il.
The Berlinale (Feb 11-21) has completed the selection for this year’s Panorama strand, comprising 51 films from 33 countries. A total of 34 fiction features comprise the main programme and Panorama Special while a further 17 titles will screen in Panorama Dokumente.
A total of 33 films are world premieres, nine are international premieres and nine European premieres. The 30th Teddy Award is also being celebrated with an anniversary series of 17 films.
Notable titles include Shepherds and Butchers from South Africa, which is set toward the end of Apartheid and stars Steve Coogan as a hotshot lawyer who faces his biggest test when he agrees to defend a white prison guard who has killed seven black men. What ensues is a charge against the death penalty itself, in a case that changes history. Andrea Riseborough co-stars.
Two other films also revolve around the death penalty: Panorama’s opening film on Feb 11 is the Czech directorial debut I, Olga Hepnarova (Já, Olga Hepnarová) by Tomas Weinreb and Petr Kazda. The film shows how a young woman in the former Czechoslovakia commits a devastating act, for which she faces the death penalty, which was still in effect there until 1989.
The other title is Brazilian documentary Curumim, about an inmate on death row in Indonesia.
Europe, She Loves, a Swiss-German co-production, opens documentary strand Panorama Dokumente. It examines the states of mind of heterosexual couples from Seville, Tallinn and Dublin to Thessaloniki.
A burning issue is introduced into the programme by Rachid Bouchareb’s La route d’Istanbul (Road to Istanbul): a Belgian mother sets out to find and bring home her daughter who has joined the jihad in Syria. Bouchareb has already presented six of his works in Berlin (five fiction features and one short film). He last participated in the 2014 Competition with Two Men in Town.
Following Hayatboyu (Lifelong, Panorama 2013), director Aslı Özge will show her first German-language film, Auf Einmal (All of a Sudden), in which one wrong decision jeopardises a young man’s entire existence.
The Danish-Swedish co-production Shelley, the feature debut of Ali Abbasi, uses genre-specific means to interweave one of this year’s Panorama themes - the desire to have children - with the situation of eastern Europeans migrating for jobs.
Three Films from Brazil, Two Films from Chile
In the Brazilian film Mãe só há uma (Don’t Call Me Son), it’s a matter of blood ties versus conditioning and the discovery of a baby’s earlier abduction: director Anna Muylaert won the Panorama Audience Award in 2015 for A que horas ela volta (The Second Mother). In Antes o tempo não acabava (Time Was Endless), a young man has to deal with the cultural clash between his tribe’s Amazonian Indian rituals and the self-determined urban life which he finds so alluring. Brazilian human rights activist Yvonne Bezerra de Mello was the protagonist of Kriegerin des Lichts (Warrior of Light) 15 years ago. In Zona Norte, filmmaker Monika Treut visits de Mello again to see what has come of her alternative educational methods for working with street kids.
Two films from Chile complete this year’s selection from Latin America: Alejandro Fernández Almendras observes in Aquí no ha pasado nada (Much Ado About Nothing) the consequences of class society and corruption on a group of privileged teenagers. And in Alex Anwandter’s first feature, Nunca vas a estar solo (You’ll Never Be Alone), a father seeks help in vain when his gay son becomes the victim of a hate crime in their neighbourhood.
South Korea and China, Three Films Each
E J-yong, a frequent guest of the Berlinale, depicts in Jug-yeo-ju-neun Yeo-ja (The Bacchus Lady) the story of a gentle heroine: she has devoted her life and now, in old age, her death to men - yet within the workings of patriarchy, she had more say and freedom than her clients’ wives were ever given. The Lovers and the Despot about the dream couple of South Korea’s movie scene who were kidnapped one after the other to North Korea, provides engrossing documentary insights into the lives of Koreans, as does WEEKENDS, which reveals the swift progress and growing pitfalls of the gay emancipation movement.
Shanghai: the dramatic story of a stolen baby in San Fu Tian (Dog Days) takes a modern and intimate look at a new China and its middle class – that vigorously growing segment of society which in the documentary Wu Tu (My Land) squabbles over every square meter owned by vegetable farmers and thus makes gentrification palpable. The baby theme comes up again in Inside the Chinese Closet: marriages of convenience and other societal constructions are invented to satisfy conservative family structures, whether those concerned want them or not.
The situation is similar for the young Israeli in Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?. He flees to London but then HIV makes his relationship with his family even more complicated – a topic hardly pursued in recent years but which is now the focus of several productions in the Panorama 2016: for instance, Strike a Pose about the dancers of Madonna’s legendary Blond Ambition Tour; Brüder der Nacht (Brothers of the Night) and Kiki; as well as some previously announced films: The GDR Complex, Uncle Howard, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, and the fiction feature Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau.
The Panorama Audience Award – for which more than 32,000 votes were cast in 2015 – will be presented for the 18th time together with radioeins to the best fiction and the best documentary features on the last day of the festival (Berlinale Publikumstag), Feb. 21, 2016 at 5.00 pm in CinemaxX 7. The winning films will be screened afterwards.
Conceived to promote German cinematic art, the Heiner Carow Prize will be awarded for the fourth time to a documentary, fiction or essay film from the Panorama section in cooperation with the DEFA Foundation. After the ceremony, which will be held at 5.00 pm on Feb 18, Heiner Carow’s Die Russen kommen (The Russians Are Coming, GDR 1968) will screen at Kino International.
Antes o tempo não acabava (Time Was Endless) – Brazil / Germany
By Sérgio Andrade, Fábio Baldo
With Anderson Tikuna, Rita Carelli, Begê Muniz, Emanuel Aragão
Auf Einmal (All of a Sudden) – Germany / Netherlands / France
By Aslı Özge
With Sebastian Hülk, Julia Jentsch, Hanns Zischler, Sascha Alexander Gerşak
Aquí no ha pasado nada (Much Ado about Nothing) - Chile / USA / France
By Alejandro Fernández Almendras
With Agustín Silva, Paulina García, Alejandro Goic, Luis Gnecco, Daniel Alcaíno
Jug-yeo-ju-neun Yeo-ja (The Bacchus Lady) – Republic of Korea
By E J-yong
With Youn Yuh-jung, Chon Moo-song, Yoon Kye-sang, An A-zu, Choi Hyun-jun
La Route d’Istanbul (Road to Istanbul) – Algeria / France / Belgium
With Rachid Bouchareb
Mit Astrid Whettnall, Pauline Burlet, Patricia Ide, Abel Jafri
Mãe só há uma (Don’t Call me Son) – Brazil
By Anna Muylaert
With Naomi Nero, Dani Nefussi, Matheus Natchergaele, Daniel Botelho, Luciana Paes
Nunca vas a estar solo (You’ll Never Be Alone) – Chile
By Alex Anwandter
With Sergio Hernández, Andrew Bargsted, Jaime Leiva
San Fu Tian (Dog Days) – Hong Kong, China / People’s Republic of China
By Jordan Schiele
With Huang Lu, Tian Mu Chen, Luo Lan Shan
Shelley – Denmark / Sweden
By Ali Abbasi
With Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Cosmina Stratan, Peter Christoffersen
Shepherds and Butchers – South Africa / USA / Germany
By Oliver Schmitz
With Steve Coogan, Andrea Riseborough, Garion Dowds
Brüder der Nacht (Brothers of the Night) - Austria
By Patric Chiha
Curumim - Brazil
By Marcos Prado
Europe, She Loves - Swiss / Germany
By Jan Gassmann
Inside the Chinese Closet - Netherlands
By Sophia Luvarà
Kiki – Sweden / USA
By Sara Jordenö
Strike a Pose - Netherlands
By Ester Gould, Reijer Zwaan
The Lovers and the Despot – United Kingdom
By Rob Cannan, Ross Adam
WEEKENDS – Republic of Korea
By Lee Dong-ha
Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? – Israel / United Kingdom
By Tomer Heymann, Barak Heymann
Wu Tu (My Land) - People’s Republic of China
By Fan Jian
Zona Norte - Germany
By Monika Treut
Previously announced titles
Aloys – Swiss / France, by Tobias Nölle, World premiere
El rey del Once (The Tenth Man)– Argentina, by Daniel Burman – International premiere
Goat – USA, by Andrew Neel - International premiere
Grüße aus Fukushima (Fukushima, mon Amour) – Germany, by Doris Dörrie – World premiere
Indignation – USA, by James Schamus - International premiere – Debut film
Já, Olga Hepnarová (I, Olga Hepnarová) – Czech Republic / Poland / Slowak Republic / France, by Tomas Weinreb, Petr Kazda - World premiere
Jonathan – Germany, by Piotr J. Lewandowski – World premiere – Debut film
Junction 48 – Israel / Germany / USA, by Udi Aloni – World premiere
Kater (Tomcat)– Austria, by Händl Klaus - World premiere
Les premiers, les derniers (The First, the Last) – France / Belgium, by Bouli Lanners - International premiere
La helada negra (The Black Frost) – Argentina, by Maximiliano Schonfeld - World premiere
Lantouri – Iran, by Reza Dormishian - International premiere
Little Men – USA, by Ira Sachs - International premiere (Cross-Section Generation)
Maggie’s Plan – USA, by Rebecca Miller – European premiere
Nakom – Ghana / USA, by Kelly Daniela Norris, TW Pittman - World premiere
Ranenyy Angel (The Wounded Angel) – Kazakhstan / France / Germany, by Emir Baigazin - World premiere
Remainder – United Kingdom / Germany, by Omer Fast - International premiere
S one strane (On the Other Side) - Croatia / Serbia, by Zrinko Ogresta - World premiere
Starve Your Dog – Marocco, by Hicham Lasri – European premiere
Sufat Chol (Sand Storm) – Israel, by Elite Zexer - European premiere – Debut film
Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau (Paris 05:59) – France, by Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau - World premiere
The Ones Below – United Kingdom, by David Farr – European premiere - Debut film
War on Everyone – United Kingdom, by John Michael McDonagh - World premiere
While the Women Are Sleeping – Japan, by Wayne Wang – World premiere
Der Ost-Komplex (The GDR Complex) – Germany, by Jochen Hick - World premiere
Don’t Blink - Robert Frank – USA / France, by Laura Israel - International premiere
Hotel Dallas – Romania / USA, by Livia Ungur, Sherng-Lee Huang - World premiere – Debut film
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures – USA / Germany, by Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato - International premiere
Mariupolis – Lithuania / Germany / France / Ukraine, by Mantas Kvedaravicius - World premiere
Uncle Howard – United Kingdom / USA, by Aaron Brookner – European premiere
1 Berlin Harlem – Germany (Federal Republic), 1974, by Lothar Lambert, Wolfram Zobus
Anders als die Andern - Germany, 1919, by Richard Oswald
Before Stonewall – USA, 1984, by Greta Schiller, Robert Rosenberg
Die Betörung der Blauen Matrosen (The Enchantment of the Blue Sailors) - Germany (Federal Republic), 1975, by Ulrike Ottinger
Die Wiese der Sachen (The Meadow of Things) - Germany (Federal Republic), 1974-1987, by Heinz Emigholz
Gendernauts - Eine Reise durch die Geschlechter (Gendernauts – A Journey Through Shifting Identities) - Germany, 1999, by Monika Treut
Hedwig and the Angry Inch – USA, 2001, by John Cameron Mitchell
Je, tu, il, elle (I, You, He, She) – France / Belgium, 1974, by Chantal Akerman
Looking for Langston – United Kingdom, 1989, by Isaac Julien
Machboim (Hide and Seek) – Israel, 1979, by Dan Wolman
Marble Ass – Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1995, by Želimir Žilnik
Nitrate Kisses – USA, 1992, by Barbara Hammer
Parting Glances – USA, 1986, by Bill Sherwood
The Watermelon Woman – USA, 1996, by Cheryl Dunye
Tongues Untied – USA, 1989, by Marlon Riggs
Toute une nuit (A Whole Night) - France / Belgium, 1982, by Chantal Akerman
Tras el cristal (In a Glass Cage) – Spain, 1987, by Agustí Villaronga