Berlinale: Generation 2018

December 25th, 2017
Author: Meredith Taylor

Generation 2018: On true fairy tales and magical realities

Last year’s Generation strand featured some really hot titles, proving that youth cinema is capable of surprising and entertaining the older generation – not just its key audience. In its 41st edition, Generation reinforces its reputation for presenting ambitious new discoveries in the international contemporary film scene to young people told at eye level.

16 feature-length films have already been selected for the competition programmes Kplus and 14plus. In the diverse cinematic formats characteristic of the section, narratives follow their young protagonists through magical worlds of imagery, creating their very own realities that make the contradictions of the fragile adult world visible in subtle ways. The complete 2018 Generation programme will be publicised in mid-January.

Generation 14plus

303 |  Dir: Hans Weingartner | Germany | World premiere

303 tells the story of two university students, Jule (Mala Emde) and Jan (Anton Spieker) who leave Berlin together in an old camper on a road trip south, but for different reasons. As they philosophise on the world and themselves in passionate discussions, director Hans Weingartner maintains a natural closeness to the two young people against breathtaking backgrounds. After his contribution for the episodic film Germany 09, 13 Short Films About The State Of The Nation (Competition 2009), Weingartner, who was also a GWFF Best First Feature Award jury member in 2006, presents his second film at the Berlinale.

Cobain | Dir: Nanouk Leopold | Netherlands / Belgium / Germany | World premiere

After Wolfsbergen (Forum 2007), Brownian Movement (Forum 2011) and Boven is Het Still (Panorama 2013), Dutch director Nanouk Leopold will be represented at the 2018 festival in the Generation 14plus competition. In her characteristic style of quiet radicalism, her newest film follows 15-year-old Cobain as he wanders through the city in search of his self-destructive mother. On his way he runs into her old friends, social workers and the methadone clinic. In his feature film debut, Bas Keizer gently and stirringly embodies the young man who must grow up far before his time.

Danmark | Dir:  Kasper Rune Larsen | International premiere

When 16-year-old Josephine finds out she’s pregnant, she sleeps with laconic Norge and tells him he’s the father. What follows is a wary approach in which questions on responsibility and commitment become increasingly important for the two young people. In his feature film debut, in attentively registered gestures and looks, and keenly observed bodies, faces and things the two protagonists say or don’t say, Kasper Rune Larsen paints a perceptive portrait of young people with deep respect for their wishes and fears, their mistakes and desires.

Güvercin (The Pigeon) | Dir: Banu Sıvacı | Turkey | World premiere

Only on the roof of his parents’ house, above the alleys of a slum in Adana, with his beloved pigeons, can Yusuf find peace, and himself. Finding a foothold in the dystopian world outside is more difficult. Banu Sıvacı’s feature film debut – which she also wrote and produced – follows Yusuf in sharply composed imagery through difficult times. His expressions and the twists and turns of his body open up his very own inner world that has lots to tell about the outside one.

Les faux tatouages (Tattoos) Dir: Pascal Plante | Canada  | International premiere

In Les faux tatouages (Tattoos), Pascal Plante tells the story of young love – tenderly, but without drifting into pathos. Misfit Theo, played by Anthony Therrien (lead in Corbo, Generation 14plus 2015), meets Mag on his 18th birthday, and she invites him to spend the night with her. Music is the language they have in common: Framed by wild punk rhythms and filled with youthful passion, a relationship unfolds whose intensity is only increased by its unavoidably approaching end. With great candour and precision, Plante captures the hopes and dreams of young people on their path into an uncertain future.

Para Aduma (Red Cow) | Dir: Tsivia Barkai | Israel |  World premiere

Director, Berlinale Talents alumna and Jerusalem native Tsivia Barkai was already a guest of Generation in the 2006 14plus competition with her first short film Vika. In her feature film debut, she tells the story of patriarchic order, and youthful desire and rebellion. Benny, a young woman, lives in East Jerusalem and sees her father’s religious, utopian nationalism with increasing scepticism – unlike the secret embraces of her girlfriend Yael. A story told in pictures as powerful as the stormy yearnings of its heroine.

Unicórnio (Unicorn) | Dir: Eduardo Nunes | Brazil  | International premiere

The mysterious drama by Brazilian director Eduardo Nunes develops the story of 13-year-old Maria, who lives alone with her mother in rural isolation. When a young man moves into the neighborhood with his herd of goats, their lives are thrown off balance. Using intoxicatingly immersive images, Nunes transmits the radical language and magical realism of author Hilda Hilst into a mystical, fairy-tale world in an imposing widescreen format.

Virus Tropical | Columbia / France | Dir: Santiago Caicedo | European premiere

Paola is growing up in Quito, Ecuador, as the youngest of three sisters. Dreams burst, companies fail, love grows and withers. In his feature film debut, director Santiago Caicedos translates the autobiographical story of the Ecuadorian comic illustrator Powerpaola into fast-paced, graphically daring, animated images. Emancipatory protest and a declaration of love combine to form an ironic perspective on contemporary Latin America.

Generation Kplus

Allons enfants (Cléo & Paul | DIR: Stéphane Demoustier | France | World premiere

Three-and-a-half-year-old Cléo is the reigning hide-and-seek champion. But then one day she forgets which path she took in the park. Suddenly the world is full of strangers staring at their smartphones. Cléo sets out on her own in the hustle-bustle of Paris in search of her brother Paul, who is only slightly older – and lost as well. In tender proximity to its tiny protagonists, this laconic cinematic fairy tale by Stéphane Demoustier turns the daily urban doldrums into a marvelous cosmos of wonderful things, places and encounters.

The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear | Dir:  Philip Einstein Lipski, Amalie Næsby Fick, Jørgen Lerdam | International premiere

Mitcho and Sebastian are quite surprised when they fish a message in a bottle out of the water one day. Inside is a letter from the mayor J.B., who vanished without a trace, and a seed that grows into a giant pear overnight. The pear turns into a sailboat and suddenly the anxious Sebastian and the hydrophobic Mitcho find themselves in the middle of the ocean with a mad professor. Based on the picture book by Jakob Martin Strid, this fast-paced, magical animation by a trio of directors tells the story of an adventurous journey to the mysterious island where Mayor J.B. is now believed to be located.

My Giraffe | Dir: Barbara Bredero  | Netherlands / Belgium / Germany | International premiere

Patterson’s best friend has a long neck and soft, brightly-spotted fur. His name is Raf, he was born the same day as Patterson, and he is: a talking giraffe. Now the two of them are turning four, and soon it’ll be their first day of school. Only animals aren’t allowed at school. Inspired by the classic Dutch children’s song and poem by Annie M.G. Schmidt, and told with a wink, this film is an imaginative story on value and flux in an unusual friendship.

El día que resistía | Dir: Alessia Chiesa | Arg/France | World premiere

They play hide-and-seek, read to each other, roughhouse and tumble with their dog Coco: At first glance, the siblings Fan (8), Tino (6) and Claa (4) lead an unburdened childhood life. But they are completely alone, and the forest is just outside, and wasn’t there something about a big bad wolf? With ample sensuality, Berlinale Talents alumna and Argentina native Alessia Chiesa’s feature-length debut unfolds into a dreamy but increasingly gloomy world.

Gordon och Paddy (Gordon and Paddy) | Dir”: Linda Hambäck | Sweden | International premiere

Told in wildly popular Scandinavian whodunit style, frog police chief Gordon, voiced by Stellan Skarsgård, and his assistant Paddy (Melinda Kinnaman) uphold the law of the forest, track down nut thieves and protect forest residents from the fox. Courteousness is legal and dirty tricks are illegal. But that’s always a question of perspective, as this absorbing animation shows using oodles of charm and attention to detail, by filmmaker Linda Hambäck, born in South Korea.

Les rois mongols (Cross My Heart) | Dir: Luc Picard | Canada  | European premiere

Montreal, October 1970. Twelve-year-old Manon’s poverty-stricken family breaks apart: His father has cancer and his mother is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. When Manon and her little brother are to be taken to a foster family, she makes a daredevil plan. Featuring stirring actors and skillfully linked to the real-life upheavals, this film manages to create a moving portrayal of those times, simultaneously exposing the lies and lack of understanding in the grown-up world in tragic and humorous ways.

Sekala Niskala (The Seen and Unseen) | Dir: Kamila Andini | Neth / Austral / Qatar | Euro prem

In Sekala Niskala (The Seen and Unseen), Indonesian director Kamila Andini, who presented her debut film The Mirror Never Lies at the Berlinale (Generation 2012) searches for answers to the question of how to say goodbye to a beloved person. Shaped by the Balinese understanding of Sekala – the seen, and Niskala – the unseen, Andini gives the world experience of a ten-year-old girl and her very ill twin brother an imagery of remarkable expressive power.

Supa Modo Germany | Dir: Likarion Wainaina |  Kenya | World premiere

This drama by Kenyan director Likarion Wainaina, co-produced by Tom Tykwer, tells the inspiring story of nine-year-old Jo. In her acting debut, Stycie Waweru embodies with touching earnestness the terminally ill girl who dreams of being a superhero. Against all odds and battling the time left her, a whole village takes it upon themselves to make Jo’s last wish a reality: to make a film and star in it. Wainaina succeeds in creating a deeply moving observation of the comforting value of imagination in the face of the finiteness of a still young life.


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