Posts Tagged ‘Berlinale 2021’

Petite Maman (2021) Berlinale Competition 2021

Dir: Celine Sciamma | Cast: Nina Meurisse, Margot Abascal, Josephine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Stephane Varupenne | Drama France, 72′

Petite Maman shows France’s Celine Sciamma at the height of her powers with an enchanting ghost story contemplating loss and longing through young eyes.

In competition at this year’s Berlinale, the French auteuse once again evokes the subtle sensibilities of human dynamics through her cast of child performers capturing naiveté but also resilience in the wake of a family bereavement.

The director showed a keen appreciation of childhood dynamics in her 2011 film Tomboy. Here the focus is little Nelly and how she copes in the aftermath of her grandma’s death as the family clears out the home so familiar and comforting in the first years of her life.

Avoiding sentimentality Sciamma maintains a pensive ambiguity for most of this almost spellbound drama that sees solemn 8-year-old Nelly (Josephine Sanz) wondering into the nearby woods where she meets  Marion (played by identical twin sister Gabrielle), the two striking up a tentative friendship as they build a tree house. These two are so po-faced they almost resemble the couple in Kubrick’s The Shining with their chilly demeanour, but we are far removed from any horror story here in a style that is best described at fantastical realism.

Mature beyond her years Nelly views her bereft mother with detatchment although she cares for her in the days after her own mother’s death, doing chores around the house with her father (Varupenne) who she regards with scepticism chiding him over his chain-smoking smoking. Sciamma gradually abandons enigma in the second half but also keeps us guessing as the story gradually unfolds in an eerie and suspended moment in time.

Building a gentle but detached camaraderie throughout the Sanz sisters give captivating debut performances that evoke confidence but also vulnerability. Meurisse is full of sensitivity as Nelly’s mother carrying her grief with a doleful dignity. MT

BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL 2021 |

 

 

Ted K (2021) Berlinale Panorama 2021

Dir: Tony Stone | Cast: Sharlto Copley, Drew Powell, Amber Rose Mason, Travis Bruyer, Megan Folsom, Andrew Senn | USA 2021 121′

We’ve all felt stressed out by noise and leaf blowers or that Tesco doesn’t stock our favourite break anymore but terrorist Ted Kaczynski took things a stage further killing three people and injuring 23 in his attempt to bring about “a revolution against the industrial system”.

“Yesterday was quite good, the only disruptive sounds were nine evil jets.” wrote Ted, a Harvard Maths professor, in his diary of 25,000 pages penned in the seclusion of a wood cabin in deepest Montana and his sanctuary after dropping out of a society he had grown to hate with a vengeance, Ted is the infamous Unabomber.

Tony Stone’s study of mental disintegration is a slick and engaging procedural drama that moves tensely through its paces to show how a brilliant albeit emotionally disconnected son and brother become a domestic terrorist, prompting the largest manhunt in FBI history. The film focuses on the final seven years from the late 1980s to his capture in 1996 and is screening in Berlin’s Panorama section at this year’s festival.

But Ted K never uncovers what drove Kaczynski  into isolation in the first place although we certainly get a glimpse of his family background, through fraught conversations, particularly with his mother who had possibly played her part in his complex personality disorder, and he rails at her in one phone booth conversation, blaming her for his dysfunctional relationship with the opposite sex, claiming to have never touched a woman despite being, by now, well into his forties.

Sharlto Copley makes a formidable lead as the geekishly sinister ‘Basil Fawly’ type character. An unknowable action man who vehemently competes against the elements in the stunningly photographed landscapes of the Big Sky Country on the borders of Canada. There’s a distinct retro feel to the small-town locations where Ted arrives on his easy rider bike to research his victims in computer shops, where one assistant shows him how to correct a sentence on a new-fangled word processor. You can feel the anger coiled like spring beneath his well-formed physique – Christian Bale could have been another contender for the part – although Copley has a meaner look to his craggy features and although irritated by noise and machinery, we see him carefully blow-drying his hair in the mirror after hitting himself on the nose with a brick. And there’s a fascination to watching him go about his daily tasks, often swearing under his breath in terse exchanges, especially when confronted by women.

Stone clearly speculates about Ted – clearly he’s no charmer in the style of Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dharmer who were more intimately concerned with killing their victims. Ted K is all about reclusiveness but he still talks of the tremendous relief at ‘getting his own back’ after after sending mail bombs to his imagined adversaries. Ted’s concern is a more ‘noble’ one aimed at those he blames for destroying nature and allowing technology to take over society’s wellbeing. Rather than intellectually engaging with those causing the damage, he strikes back like a wounded animal, killing them.

Stone makes atmospheric use of an electronic score by Blanck Mass that alternates with soothing classical vibes from Schubert’s No 2, Op 100 (that Kubrick memorably used in Barry Lyndon) But Copley makes no attempt to embroider or dress up the banal evil of his character playing him as a straightforward Mr Angry from Montana whose dour prickly introspection does lighten up a touch when a pleasant woman smiles at him in a shop. Stone’s portrait is more fascinating than thrilling but he doesn’t attempt to fashion it into an arthouse extravaganza – in the style of The True History of the Kelly Gang, and in some ways this is to film’s credit in portraying Kaczynski’s ordinariness and social dislocation. He is a deeply wounded man crying out for attention and rehabilitation. Or at least that’s what comes across in this watchable study of loneliness and desperation. MT

BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL 2021

 

The Mauritanian (2021) Amazon Prime 2021

Dir: Kevin Macdonald | Cast: Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Levi, Saamer Usmani, Baya Belal | US Thriller 129′

Tahar Rahim plays a longtime Guantánamo Bay detainee accused of masterminding 9/11, in Kevin Mcdonald’s worthy biopic, based on the memoirs of one Mohamedou Ould Slahi – aka The Mauritanian.

The film’s opening scenes unfold in an exotic North African desert location where a tented wedding ceremony is reaching its climax. But not for the white-robed Slahi (Rahim) who is whisked away and later brutally tortured in scenes of extreme violence, after his incarceration. Next we meet ‘no nonsense’ lawyer Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) tasked with batting for Slahi in his habeas corpus case, after he fails to be charged or given a trial. Her opponent in the ensuing courtroom potboiler is prosecutor Stuart Couch (Cumberbatch rocking a Louisiana accent is the highpoint of the film) and they make a formidable pair investigating what really happened to Slahi in the infamous prison. Denis Menochet, Shailene Woodley and Zachery Levi offer strong support but feel sadly underused in the scheme of things.

There’s incendiary dramatic potential here, and considerable humanitarian clout – not to mention a fabulous cast – and some swanky locations: New York, Cape Town and Mauritania itself – but somehow Macdonald delivers and underwhelming thriller whose finger-wagging script is so focused on the parlous state of US Democracy it starts to feel preachy rather than powerful in convincing us to care about those affected, particularly Slahi himself. And he comes across – mostly in flashback – as rather a glib character which is disappointing considering his stunning track record in a variety of roles. MT

PREMIERS ON PRIME VIDEO 1 APRIL 2021 IN THE UK | Premiered at Berlin Film Festival 2021

BERLINALE SPECIALS 

 

 

 

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (2021)

Dir: Radu Jude | Drama, Romania, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Croatia 2021 | 106 min| Romanian | Cast: Katia Pescaru, Claudia Ieremia, Olimpia Malai, Nicoldim Ungureanu

The moral of Radu Jude’s latest film is simple: don’t put anything incriminating on film. But Bad Luck Banging addresses far wider concerns that its title suggests: hypocrisy, misogyny, tyranny, racism and of course sex are the elements of this intoxicating, indigestible cocktail – you may even feel sick by the end. If not, you’ll be left with a real mouthful to chew over. This thematically thorny Golden Bear winner is not for the timid, and unfolds in three distinct parts.

Known for his unbridled dramas, snide social satires and several sombre documentaries, the Romanian provocateur delivers a mordant social satire laced with his usual brand of dark and irreverent humour and set in a crumbling Bucharest. Jude describes his treatise as a sketchbook, a work in progress, an unedited collage of ideas. It’s demanding, aggressive and visually stimulating – and opens, appropriately, with a bout of raunchy sex, between school teacher Emi and her partner Eugen.

Emi, (Katia Pescariu, who ironically last played a nun in Beyond the Hills), finds her career at stake when a video of her carnal encounter, shared on an adult only porn site, ends up on the general Internet. Discovering her flirty faux-pas Emi flees through the streets of Bucharest. And this febrile odyssey fuels the film’s extensive second part which starts as an enlightening architectural tour of the centre, its crumbling facades and landmarks such as the Roman Orthodox cathedral and Nicolae Ceausescu’s Palace, but soon widens into an opportunity for the director to air his outspoken views on the state of the nation in a piquant pot-pourri of archive footage that reeks of subversion with its salacious snapshots and facts from the capital’s colourful past. These include Jewish and Roma atrocities, Orthodox Christian ceremonies, folklore and fables. As images flash before us – a row of pigs heads and a woman performing fellatio contrast with icons and ancient texts – and more or less anything the director could lay his hands on to back up his view that society as a whole is hypocritical, pornographic and deeply misanthropic.

The third act takes us back to Emi who must now face the music in a socially distanced kangaroo court of teachers, religious officials, random citizens, and a man in an unfeasibly large teacosy, who all watch the tape – some quite attentively (especially the males) before holding forth with their vehement views in raucous and melodramatic debate on the rights and wrongs of Emi’s behaviour, working up to the film’s over-excited finale. This is an exhausting film to watch, but one that presents Romanian society as intelligent, fervent in its beliefs and proud to stand by them. And although we never really get to know – or even like – Emi as a woman, she serves the narrative as a fearless self-determining female of the future who refuses to take things lying down. MT

NOW ON RELEASE | WINNER GOLDEN BEAR 2021

 

 

Natural Light | Termeszetes feny (2021) Silver Bear | Best Director | Berlinale 2021

Dir: Dénes Nagy | Cast: Ferenc Szabó, Tamás Garbacz, László Bajkó, Gyula Franczia, Ernő Stuhl, Gyula Szilágyi, Mareks Lapeskis, Krisztián Kozó, Csaba Nánási, Zsolt Fodor | Hu/Latvia /France/Ger | War drama Hungarian, Russian | 103’

“My subject is War and the pity of War. The poetry is in the pity’ Wilfred Owen.

Natural Pine is an unusual name for a Second World War film but refers here to the vast snowbound forests of deepest Russia during the long winter of 1943 where Hungarian director Denes Nagy takes us for his powerfully evocative debut feature, screening in competition at this year’s Berlinale.

If ever there was a film to be enjoyed on the big screen it is this one, its inhospitable landscapes, incandescent skylines and sombrely lit scenes of grim human endurance install a feeling of unsettling gloom from the outset as we are plunged into a Russian heart of darkness. The story is simple, the emotional toll is the main focus. Hungarian farmer turned infantryman István Semetka (Ferenc Szabo) is part of a Hungarian task force sent out on a gruelling eight month stint in the snowy wastelands, looking for partisans. This is no action movie but a thoughtful and cinematic contemplation of the moral dilemmas he faces along with his comrades face, and the emotional and physical repercussions that follow. It’s a unique war film. And one that commands respect.

While heading towards a remote village, the company falls under enemy fire and their commander is killed. So as the highest ranking officer, Semetka must take over, guiding his men through a swamp to an occupied village where they regroup and begin to question the locals. In time Sergeant Major Koleszar (Bajko) arrives to take over, his story of a bear attack is restrained and moving. Several villagers escape and, at his own risk, the courageous Koleszar stays on with the weapons and seven of the men, sending Semetka back to base with those injured. At a solemn meeting with his commander in chief, he is ordered to take two weeks leave with his family before returning to his ordeal.

This meticulous film takes its sober subject seriously in portentous, slow-burn sequences that convey the pity of war in the faces of the characters. There is a intimate reportage quality to the way Tamas Dobos’ camera reflects and lingers on the human face of the conflict, alighting on details: an insect on a civilian’s ear, a baby bawling in its mother’s arms, a woman begging for food – echoing the style of Don McCullin or Robert Capa. Each frame brims with restrained feeling. A picture conveys a thousand words. And it’s these painterly frames that carry most weight in Sbabo’s impressionistic first feature. MT

BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL | BEST DIRECTOR | Denes Nagy

The Girl and the Spider (2021) Best Director Ex-aequo | Berlinale Encounters 20201

Dir: Ramon Zürcher, Silvan Zürcher | Cast: Henriette Confurius, Liliane Amuat, Ursina Lardi, Flurin Giger, André M. Hennicke, Ivan Georgiev, Dagna Litzenberger Vinet, Lea Draeger, Sabine Timoteo, Birte Schnöink | Switzerland 2021German 98’

The Girl and the Spider is an ambiguous puzzle of a film exploring the anatomy of a messy break-up. Dreams and anecdotes keep us entertained, while pets – a cat and a dog – steal the limelight.

This second feature from Swiss twins Ramon and Silvain Züricher (Das merkwürdige Kätzchen) sees Lisa (Amuat) leaving Mara (Confurius) to stay in their polyamorous flatshare. Chaos reigns throughout, Lisa’s mum (Ladri) flirts with removal man Jurek  (Hennicke) while overseeing the move. Mara swears “Fuck you!”, with Lisa answering “Later, first I move out”. suggesting that all may not be lost.

Clearly though the relationship has hit rock-bottom when Lisa insists on taking the dishwasher, telling Mara “you will never leave this dump, you’ll kick the bucket here”. To complicate matters Jan (Geiger) and Kerstin (Litzenberger-Vinet) also share this female centric ‘love-in’. Jan seems to be keen on Mara. Then there is Nora (Draeger), who spends a great deal of her time in bed asleep.

A young boy and a girl, possibly neighbours, add to the mayhem. And  Mrs. Arnold (Schoch), who stole the neighbour’s cat (who is now biting through cables), but has since returned it. The piano will stay in the flat as it belongs to the chambermaid (Schnöink), who once owned the place and is now working as a cleaning supervisor on a cruise ship – not that her short story makes anything clearer.

DoP Alexander Haßkerl conveys the general claustrophobia of this polyamorous set-up that takes place entirely within the confines of the cramped scenario, an obvious nod to the pandemic age, its residents and relationships in continual flux. The titular Spider story creates a constant formal tension in an aesthetically convincing, jumbled mayhem, but the lack of a satisfying narrative arc leaves us wanting more. AS

BERLINALE | SILVER BEAR | Best Director Ex aequo | ENCOUNTERS

 

 

Brother’s Keeper (2021) Berlinale Panorama 2021

Dir: Ferit Karahan | Cast: Samet Yıldız, Ekin Koç, Mahir İpek, Melih Selçuk, Cansu Fırıncı, Nurullah Alaca | Turkey / Romania 2021 | Turkish, Kurdish | 85’

Ferit Karahan’s stunningly captured second feature takes place in a draconian boarding school deep in the snowbound mountains of Anatolia. Bringing back memories of many British public schools where caning and freezing cold showers were commonplace, this study of cold-hearted repression serves as an artful metaphor for the ongoing conflict between Turks and their Kurdish underclass whose cultural identity has been repressed since the 1980 coup.

In this chilly hellhole – and the cold here is palpable – Turkish teachers subject the poor but gifted Kurdish pupils to regular beatings in spartan conditions where internet connection is random. Once a week, the boys are allowed to shower, and on one such occasion twelve year-old Memo catches a chill in the freezing dorm and by the morning is very ill indeed. His friend Yusuf tries to alert the masters to the boy’s plight but they carry on their collective neglect of Memo’s condition – so desperate are they to keep up the macho facade – until the boy becomes unresponsive, along with the mobile connection to the emergency services.

The tension is spiked by moments of hilarious situational humour – one involving a repetitive slipping sequence, another sees a puppy repeatedly trying to suckle its recalcitrant mother – Karahan – himself a Kurd – uses his largely non-pro cast to impressive effect. Elegantly framed and bitingly relevant this tightly packed drama unfolds in 85 enjoyable minutes. My Brother’s Keeper is an intelligent piece of film-making that makes impressive use of a low budget to create a memorable gem. At the heart of the story is Samet Yildiz’s haunting performance as Memo’s friend Yusuf, a boy whose knowing expression and sad eyes seem to speak volumes for the continuing plight of the Kurdish people. MT

BROTHER’S KEEPER won the FIPRESCI prize at Berlinale 2021 |

BEST SCRIPT, BEST FILM, ANTALYA FILM FESTIVAL 2021

 

Herr Bachmann and his Class (2021) Jury Prize Berlinale 2021

Dir: Maria Speth | with Dieter Bachmann, Aynur Bal, Önder Cavdar, Schüler*innen der Klasse 6 b, Schüler*innen der Klasse 6f | Germany, Doc 217’

A teacher nearing retirement decides to do his bit for international entente cordiale in Maria Speth’s immersive look at contemporary schoolroom dynamics. In Stadtallendorf, a German city with a complex history of both excluding and integrating foreigners, genial teacher Dieter Bachmann believes that social integration starts at grass roots level, offfering his ethnically diverse pupils a welcome entree into modern Germany

Aged between twelve and fourteen, these pupils come from twelve different nations; some have not quite mastered the German language, so Bachmann adopts a kindly approach to confidence-building, eager to inspire them with a sense of curiosity for a wide range of crafts, subjects, cultures and opinions.

Teaching is not just about loving your subject – it’s about being able to convey information clearly and engagingly. And Dieter Bachmann certainly has the emotional intelligence and patience to inspire his kids helping them to understand that discussion and dialogue is the way forward when dealing with others. His vision of utopia sensitively conveyed here in by Maria Speth and her cinematographer Reinhold Vorschneider, is a testament to something quite ordinary and yet so vital for children everywhere. MT

BERLINALE | COMPETITON 2021

Courage (2021) Berlinale Competition 2021

Dir.: Aliaksei Paluyan; documentary with Maryna Yakubovich, Pavel Haradnizky, Dzianis Tarasenka; BR Deutschland, 89 min.

A spirited and heartfelt documentary debut from Belarusian director Aliaksei Paluyan who explores the aftermath of last year’s presidential election that saw the country’s authoritarian incumbent Alexander Lukashenko (their first and only elected president since 1994) simply staying in office despite mounting mass demonstrations on the grounds of vote rigging. Paluyan anchors his story in the experiences of three actors three from the Free Theatre of Minsk, who left the State Theatre 15 years ago to combine art and politics.

Maryna lives with Dzianis and their baby – the father resentful at having to work as a car mechanic: “I have betrayed art and I am aware of it. Three years ago I left, because the play was only on for eight days before it was censored for Satanism.” Pavel, the third of the actor’s trio, lives with Nadya, the two discussing a way out of the situation: “Everyone in the Free Theatre is blacklisted by the Secret Police”.

During the mass demonstration after the August election, the theatre has to plan their protests carefully: “Not every member of the theatre can demonstrate, leaving only one person in charge of care parcels and lawyers”. The only way they can all show their disdain for the Lukashenko is by building up mountains of lavatory paper in front of the Presidential Palace. Meanwhile the President is safely ensconced behind the walls guarded by the OMON, a Special Police Force inside the Militsya.

A demonstrator shows off his “gentleman’s travel bag”: toothpaste, toothbrush and 3 changes of underwear”. The OMON throws stun grenades at the crowd, who shout back “Join us, for Belarus!” The few who put their shields down are hugged by demonstrators. Maryna and Dzianis discuss breaking headlines that accuse OMON of using live munition in Brest (on the border with Poland) where one man was killed. Obviously their priority is the baby. Dzianis discusses the news with his father, a former OMON member. It’s very much a case of the load being passed down to the next generation. But naturally Dzianis does not want his child to carry the baggage he leaves.

The only route to freedom is through Poland and Lithuania, who accept political prisoners from Belarus, so the actors discuss an escape plan. Meanwhile we join rehearsals in the Free Theatre where the play’s director – Nikolay Khalezin, watched up with the production on Skype from London – one tense scene features an interrogator officiously demanding a confession from a demonstrator. When asked ‘why’ by the defendant, the secret policeman answers: “Because my job is necessary, yours is not.”

These fraught scenes are juxtaposed with more mellow ones – Pavel and Nadya trying to let a wasp out of the window of their pokey flat: in Belarus even insects want to be set free. Every weekend there are mass demonstrations all over the country, OMON answering with charges, huge military vehicles and water cannons. And finally, we see Maryna on stage in “Discover Love”, the story of Iryna Krasaouskaya whose husband was one of the first who “disappeared” and was found murdered in 1999. The number of forced disappearances in authoritarian states all over the world are read out: a staggering figure runs that into millions.

DoPs Tanja Hanrylchik and Jesse Mazuch follow the action with their handheld cameras, taking us to the heart of the crisis with febrile footage desperately conveying these troubled and tumultuous times. AS

BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL | COMPETITION

 

What Do We See When We Look at the Sky (2021) Berlinale Competition 2021

Dir/Wri: Alexandre Koberidze | Cast: Giorgi Bochorishvili, Vakhtang Panchulidze, Ani Karseladze, Oliko Bakradze and Giorgi Ambroladze | Georgia, drama 126′

Everyone hopes for love at first sight. And this serendipitous human miracle lights up everyday life in a Georgian city in the whimsical sophomore feature of Georgia’s Alexandre Koberidze, in completion at this year’s Berlinale.

The lovers in question Lisa and Giorgi meet quite by chance in their home town of Kutaisi (north west of Tbilisi) agreeing to see each other the next day without exchanging details. But a stranger has cast the evil eye on their happiness making them look completely different during the night and in the morning they desperately try to recapture the magic of their first flirtatious flight of fantasy.

Emerging brain-washed from their respective abodes these two are now played by different actors but still remember the passionate feelings of the day before. The tone is light-hearted, Koberidze making use of magic realism to show how they both fall into news jobs in a local cafe (owned by Vakhtang Panchulidze).

Meanwhile, Koberidze offers a glimpse of other lives in this city on the banks of the Rioni Rivier where everyone is going about their daily activities. Colourful disconnected vignettes spin out one after the other, in a city looking forward to the World Cup, even the local dogs. All the while people are singing and enjoying themselves in the leisurely atmosphere viewed up close and on the widescreen, there’s a magical feeling of camaraderie and a quiet contemplative glow but also a hint of wistfulness in the air giving the film a gently poetic feel. We never get to know the protagonists and so they remain distant, locked in this modern fairy tale.

Intoxicated by its own joie de vivre the gently tragic docudrama rather overstays its welcome at well over two hours but  DoP Faraz Fesharaki does his best to keep us entertained and enthralled with glowing images, using a static camera to enhance the film’s dialogue light often sorrowful final sequences. In a world with so much tragedy, conflict and seriousness, Koberidze shows us there is still room for dreams and serendipity.

The last film Georgian film in Berlin’s main competition was Temur Babluani’s 1993 Silver Bear winner The Sun of the Sleepless which garnered ‘outstanding artistic achievement at the event in 1993.

BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL | COMPETITION. 

 

Social Hygiene | Hygene Sociale | Best Director | Berlinale Encounters 2021

Dir: Denis Cote | Maxim Gaudette, Eve Duranceau, Eleonore Loiselle, Larissa Corriveau, Kathleen Fortin, Evelyne Rompre | Drama, Canada,

Singular, original and always refreshing Canadian auteur Denis Cote continues to push cinematic boundaries with a body of work that avoids convention in its freedom of expression.

His latest film – screening in this year’s Berlinale Encounters section – is another curio that defies categorisation, it is certainly highly individual it its style. In a bid to fly in the face of Covid restrictions the film is appropriately set in the wide sweeping landscapes of Cote’s verdant homeland of Canada, this beautiful bucolic setting very much playing a leading role of its own.

Dressed up as a filmed play, the characters pronounce their lines at the top of their voices competing with ambient birdsong in the forest setting, and the dialogue itself is delivered like a piece of 17th century French theatre – in the sonorous style of Racine or Molière – it could almost be Le Misanthrope (with Antonin being the philander Philinte), its characters each representing a distinct point of view. Some members of the cast wear period costume, but not always. Essentially a series of long shots like scenes in a play are broken by an interlude where a young man walks aimlessness across the screen, ‘the play’ then continues its story about a hapless loser Antonin (Gaudette) who looks to his female friends and consorts for guidance and savvy advice.

His sister Solveig (Corriveau) wears modern dress most of the time, whereas Antonin’s ex-wife Eglantine (Rompre) is dressed in period garb. And although the play is delivered in a 17th – or even early 18th – century style the content is very much contempo with its social media allusions and references to the present day.

Eglantine, it turns out, is now involved with another man, but flirts with Antonin suggesting she is opens to rekindling their relationship, on condition that he mends his ways. Meanwhile Antonin still carries a candle for another love, in the shape of Cassiopee (Duranceau), although she has apparently moved on to pastures new. Various other characters highlight Antonin’s crimes and misdemeanours: Rose (Fortin) claims he has not paid his taxes and Aurore (Loiselle), that he has stolen from her car.

Social Hygiene will certainly be remembered as a film made during the time of Covid. But what this comedy of manners is satirising is open for interpretation. MT

BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL 2021| Best Director Ex-AEQUO with The Girl and the Spider.

Tabija – The White Fortress | (2021)

Dir.: Igor Drljaca; Cast: Pavle Cemerikic, Sumeja Dardagan, Jasmin Geljo, Kerim Cuyana, Bilal Halilovic, Irena Mulamuhic, Farah Hadzic, Ermin Bravo; Canada/Bosnia and Herzegovina, 85 min.

Writer/director Igor Drljaca follows his 2018 feature The Stone Speakers with another from his native Bosnia-Herzegovina, an alluring and bitter-sweet teenage love story showcasing the elegiac beauty of Sarajevo in lush widescreen images. The White Fortress is an intensive character study, the social background playing a major role.

Teenage Faruk (Cemerikic has the same soulful fragility as Christopher Walken), scratches a living collecting scrap metal with his uncle Mirsad (Geljo). At night he works with his neighbour Almir (Kerim Cutura) ferrying sex workers around for the big boss Cedo (Bravo), who fancies himself as a star gangster, making the two boys bark like dogs in a cafe, to bolster his ego.

Sharing a home with his grandmother (Mulamuhic) who spends her days in bed, revisiting recordings of Faruk’s mother, a concert pianist with the Sarajevo Philharmonic. She died when he was very young, and having never known his father, the young man is at a loss, sleeping with different girls to try and make up for the emotional deficit and hiding his vulnerability with bombastic behaviour.

When he meets Mona (Dardagan) in a shopping mall, it seems like another casual encounter, but the slightly older Mona falls for Faruk. After one of Cedo’s girls (Minela/Hadzic) dies of an overdose after he drove her to a gig, Faruk decides he’s done with the overbearing boss. Mona too is getting tired of her parents, both work as ‘bureaucrats for hire’ for any party who wants them. Mona moans her parents only live together for professional reasons, shouting at her Mum, “you don’t even know where he spends the nights.” Later Mona tells Faruk that her parents have formed a sort of company, where they exchange favours for feelings they do not have at all

Meanwhile the ongoing election campaign echoes along in the background seemingly making no impact on the locals. The reason for Mona’s anger is her parents’ intention to make her move to live with relatives in Toronto. This plan for next year has been forwarded, and deep down Mona knows that she will go. Faruk, whose Hawaii posters on his bedroom wall signal his romantic wanderlust, is also a romantic and both wander around the countryside, on bright sunny days, Mona expressing a desire to live deep in the woods where Faruk will hunt for her with a pack of wild dogs .The romantic leanings of the couple seem to crash with the social reality in a crumbling Sarajevo caught between crass materialism and poverty. But Faruk’s own future looks likely to be dismal, inheriting his uncle’s van, and taking over his business. Meanwhile the pragmatic Vreco wants Faruk to continue pimping for Cedo ,

Backlit nightscapes create a dreamy poetic setting in a Sarajevo that echoes and glows in perpetual twilight, the long poetic panning shots in the streets of the city unfurl like a love letter to a wartorn victim, on its last legs, but with so much still to tell. One can only hope one day the Sarajevans can rediscover laughter and happiness, like in The Book of Fairytales the young lovers are drawn to. Scored by delicate occasional piano music often by Schumann, this elegiac, languid love story, filmed with a fine eye for detail and a magical finale is a gleaming gem.

BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL 2021|

 

The World After Us | Le Monde Après Nous | Berlinale Panorama 2021

Dir.: Louda Ben Salah-Cazanas; Cast: Aurelien Gabrielli, Louise Chevilotte, Sadia Bentaïeb, Jacques Nolot, Leon Cunha Da Costa, Mikhaël Chirinian, Noémie Schmidt, Hyacinthe Blanc; France 2021, 84 min.

Louda Ben Salah-Cazanas’ first feature is best described as ‘Truffaut for the 21st century’. The struggling main protagonist, a young writer, suffers all sorts of setbacks and a strained parental relationship but it will all come together (rather too) neatly in the end. Well acted and photographed by Amine Berrada in realistic images of the two main cities of France, this is a surprisingly tame debut.

Young Labidi (Gabrielli) has written a successful short story and his much older friend Vincent (Chirinian) drags him to off to a publisher, who signs an option for the forthcoming novel after reading the two first chapters. But Labidi, who spends much time in the cafe run by his parents (Bentaïeb/Molot) falls spontaneous in love with another cafe habitué in the shape of student Elisa (Chevilotte).

Love at first sight is a challenge for Labidi, forced to share his living space with the obese but caring Aleksei (Da Costa), so he decides to  an expensive flat for some privacy with his new love, although his work for Deliveroo doesn’t even cover the rent, and the writing slips to the back burner in a frantic search for new income streams.

After pulling off a successful insurance fraud, he gets work at an optician where his superior Suzanne (Schmidt) tests his knowledge on customer service. Elisa then go back to live with her mother, and his father dies leaving him with a huge guilt complex: he’s lived off the bank of Mum & Dad for most of his life.

Aleksei turns out to be a really good friend after Labidi suffers more bad luck, Vincent accidentally viewing Labidi’s autobiographical sob story – rather than the putative novel. Vincent is particularly infuriated by the title of the outpouring  – which happens to be the film’s title: “This is a title for a bloody French independent film!” While Labidi makes a last ditch attempt to get Elisa back, Aleksei complains about his girlfriend Hyacinthe (Blanc) never giving him a ring. Asked by Labidi “When did you speak to her last”, Aleksei responds “Two hours ago, but I think of her more than she thinks about me”.

The witty dialogue is very amusing but there’s something missing here – and it’s a general lack of social context and thematic monotony. The characters live in a bubble with Labidi’s need for money being the only source of tension; no mention is made of wider-ranging themes. Nowadays a feature debut where the narrative is so disengaged from the general zeitgeist is unusual, particularly in a world where there is so much dramatic potential to be mined and where gender stereotypes are seen as unfashionable. AS

BERLINALE | PANORAMA STRAND.

 

From the Wild Sea (2021) | Berlinale Generation 2021

Dir: Robin Petré | Doc, 77′

Weather conditions are becoming much more extreme. Marine animals are needing emergency care due to injuries caused by the effects of climate change on tides and changing oceanography.

The caring efforts of marine conservationists are at the heart of this cinematic nature doc From the Wild Sea from Danish documentarian Robin Petré known for her unconventional short nature films (Pulse, Stream and Distant Water) that push the borders beyond the norm. Along similar lines to Leviathan and Bird Island (2019) this deeply sensory film shows how vets in coastal regions are building up a strong support system of rescue centres to rehabilitate mammals and sea birds.

The sheer power of an image is all that’s needed to convey the tragedy of our changing climate which has given rise to powerful storms raging into Europe from the Atlantic, bringing with them injured and confused animals such as seals, dolphins, whales and seabirds. The film is swift to point out that untrained human interference in nature – however well-intentioned – is not helpful. Moving injured animals that have been washed up on the shore should be avoided at all costs. The changing tides have had a deleterious effect on seal mammals who rely on echolocation to get their bearings and forage of food: One such seal recently lost its its sense of direction and headed to Morocco, wildly off course. After rehabilitation in Cornwall it made its way back north, then took a wrong turn at the Continental Shelf and headed South again only to be re-homed in the Cornish sanctuary. The release of these healthy seals into back into the wild is the film’s highpoint.

copyright Tanya Haurylchyk

Although the work being done in animal rehabilitation is an admirable labour of love, this is a really upsetting film to watch: we see seals in great distress – some of them uttering almost human cries as they struggle to breathe – their airways caught up with plastic or infection – as the trained staff work to help them recover. We watch another seal gradually losing its fight for life, flippers twitching as it cries out in pain, it’s mottled fur coat is a thing of exquisite beauty, its soulful eyes speak volumes of the tragic marine odyssey that has led to its death.

Many animals are suffering the effects of starvation. One seal enjoys a basinful of fish, while another waits patiently for attention by the side of a ceramic bath. It’s extraordinary to imagine that an animal that spends most of its time under the sea can demonstrate so much awareness of a human setting on dry earth. But it’s also worth bearing in mind that thousands of years ago we too came from out of the sea. Whales fare particularly badly: we watch as 19-metre-long whale lies beached like a massive, punctured tyre, off the coast of Cornwall. The team rushes to help but it’s already too late. The animal will not just die from its bleeding injuries but because its sheer weight will crush its organs, unless the tide favours its transport back into the sea. Many whales die due to head-butting from a boat, or multiple injuries from propellers. An autopsy takes place on the beach itself, it must be one of the few times the pathologist actually gets inside a body to do his work. We also witness a fascinating autopsy of a small 4-5 year-old dolphin who has been terribly badly scarred by marine craft and survived and healed, before finally dying of other injuries.

Birds are particularly difficult to handle, and a white swan hisses savagely when it is given a bubble bath to wash off black marine diesel in the clinic, and here the camera offers intense close-ups of the meticulous cleaning process, including a blow-dry to return the bird to its snow white beauty before release. Frequently the camera pulls out to pan the coast in widescreen images of waves crashing down on the raging ocean. Nicholas (de) Montsarrat was not wrong when he called his 1951 war novel: “The Cruel Sea”.

Robin Petre maintains a respectful distance from her subject matter avoiding anthropomorphism at all times while filming with a deeply humane perspective.  A really immersive film for those interested in animal welfare and suitable for all the family (except for the very young). MT

FROM THE WILD SEA | BERLINALE GENERATION

Any Day Now | Ensilumi (2021) Berlinale Generation 2021

Dir: Hamy Ramezan | Cast: Lumi Barrois, Laura Birn, Shabnam Ghorbani, Muhammed Cangore, Pezlman Escandari | Drama 82;

Iranian first time director Hamy Ramezan recalls his own start in a new country with this touching drama that sees an Iranian family waiting to make their new home in Finland.

Ramezan has persuaded Asghar Farhadi regular Shahab Hosseini (The Salesman) to add firepower to this upbeat project but the star turn is his onscreen son Ramin (Aran-sina Keshvari in debut) the only Finnish speaking member of his family who must be responsible to the authorities while also enjoying his first Finnish fling on the school dancefloor.

Any Day Now feels very much a passion project for Ramezan and a way of thanking the Finns for their kindness and hospitality, the family befriending an elderly couple played by veterans Kristina Halkola and Eero Melasniemi who act as mentors when they first arrive.

What stands out here is the way the locals readily accept the new family into their midst (providing stylish accommodation in the detention centre where Alvar Aalto’s legendary cane chairs grace the family dining table). The family adapt well to their new environment and make great efforts to socialise with the rest of the detainees, although it’s not all plain sailing and Ramezan and his co-writer Antti Rautava shows their anxiety and disappointment in a scene where their bid for asylum is rejected. But drama wise there little tension here Any Day Now playing out as more of a cinema verite piece than a real drama,  Arsen Sarkisiants creates a lush sense of place both in the rural summer setting and approaching winter when the family experience their first snowfall. This is a lovely positive first feature suitable for all the family. MT

BERLINALE | GENERATION 2021

Azor (2021) Berlinale | Encounters Berlinale 2021

Dir: Andreas Fontana | Cast: Fabrizio Rongione, Stephanie Cleau, Gilles Privat, Elli Medeiros, Carmen Iriondo, Pablo Torre Nilson, Ignazio Vila, Juan Trench, Juan Pablo Geretto| Argentina, Switzerland, 99′

Another sophisticated Argentine thriller along the lines of Rojo set during the ‘Dirty Wars’ and this time seen through the eyes of a Swiss banker who arrives in Buenos Aires to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his partner only to discovers intrigue and subterfuge amongst the elite.

In 1976 a military junta seized power from Eva Peron’s government resulting in the deaths of over 30,000 people. Swiss born filmmaker Andreas Fontana transports us back to these uncertain times with high society characters who feel real in their glamorous settings, manicured poolsides, lush estancias, exclusive polo parties where Fabrizio Rongione strikes just the right tone of cool circumspection and biddability in his role as the trustworthy banker with a listening ear (a million miles away from the shoddy service we’ve come to expect from our own banks).

Cleau adds allure as Ines, his chain-smoking wife and confidente, oiling the wheels of their social encounters – where smoking is ‘de rigueur’ -with her unthreatening, savvy charm. Other characters who stand out here are Carmen Iriondo, a society hostess, and the Monsignor, who strikes fear into the proceedings with his chilly glare. These are people you may not trust to post a letter but as the gatekeepers of Argentina’s shady upper echelons of power, they must be respected.

In their car from the airport Yvan and Ines witness two men being held up at gunpoint, Yvan suavely fails to bat an eyelid, and once in their comfort of their exclusive hotel, Buenos Aires stretches before them just like any other international capital city, although the tinkling harpsichord score warns of trouble ahead, in the style of those Claude Chabrol thrillers. The couple get a rude awakening from the rather glib thickly-accented lawyer Dekerman (Geretto), who welcomes them to BA on behalf of ‘the client’, before rudely ordering his own whiskey before offering Ines a drink (and failing to light her cigarette), preparing her for the macho set up that will follow.

Business here is not just about talent but also moving in the right circles and keeping quiet at the right time (the code word ‘Azor’ means to ‘keep shtum’, rather like the Sicilian ‘omertà’). As a private banker from a monied background Yvan De Wiel settles graciously into the hushed scenes of high society in this enjoyably taught first feature from Swiss director Fontana who writes and directs with considerable flair, capturing the zeitgeist of these dangerous times with a florid eye for local detail.

A De Wiel sashays discretely and suavely in soigné villas, lush lounges and amongst the polo ponies, he swiftly gains the trust of the movers and shakers repositioning his bank’s interests with the junta when it dawns on him that his partner Rene Keys had possibly pulled the wool over his eyes bringing his firm into question. But he has another string to his bow, that of deal-making (aka laundering blood money) using his utmost caution. it’s a restrained performance and one of subtlety.

From the outset Fontana creates a real sense of danger here, a feeling that anything could go wrong as De Wiel’s investigation leads him deeper and deeper into the exotic hinterland of Argentina’s pampas where the Junta’s sinister types hang out in the film’s seething finale.

There is more that a whiff of colonialism here. Silence and an evocative ambient soundscape prove to be Fontana’s best weapon in ramping up tension in the final stages of his restrained thriller, a slick seventies score of musak playing out during discrete cocktail parties where these smooth operators mingle under swaying palms, waiters plying them with drinks as they plot and plan how to deal with the trappings of colonialism. MT

BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL | Encounters 2021

 

La Mif (2021)

Dir.: Fred Baillif; Cast: Claudia Grob, Anais Uldry, Kassia Da costa, Esther Ndayisenga, Charlie Areddy, Amélie Tonsi, Amandie Golay, Sara Tulu, Amadou Sylla; Switzerland 2021, 110 min.

Swiss director/writer Fred Baillif (Tapis Rouge) explores a few weeks in the life of a temporary children’s home, where the most vulnerable receive special care.

Part fiction, part documentary, the stories told by the children aged 10 to 16, belie the home’s statement that this is their ‘new family’. This staff are certainly overwhelmed and overworked so the centre’s manageress Lora becomes the focus of this startling expose. Bailiff sometimes cuts a scene, only to repeat it later with a proper ending. This technique serves to make the audience pay greater attention to the sometimes confusing non-linear narrative, and helps to set up a proper dramatic arc.

We start with a chaotic scene where police arrive at the home in response to an alarm call that one of the residents Audrey (Uldry) had slept with a minor boy, an offence of statutory rape. Lora (Grob) has too justify the incident in front of a panel of panel of superiors. She is defensive, but agrees that going forward, the policy of co-education will cease and the home will only accommodate girls. But she insists: “A children’s home is not a prison”. Novinha (Da costa) is enraged, shouting at the staff: “You are all manipulative bastards. You call the police when something serious happens.”

Audrey is left clearly aggrieved at being reprimanded for sleeping with a more only three months younger than the legal limit, claiming “my pelvis examination has been like a rape too”. There are grievances all round. New arrival Precieuse (Ndayisenga), who has also apparently been raped, by her father. Another girl Justine (Areddy) complains about her childhood memories and resists going back home, after her stay even though both her parents want her back. Later Justine will admit to another girl: “I had a younger sister, Magali, and when my parents went out one evening, I had to look after her. I run a bath for her, put her in the bath tube and went down to make supper, Then I went back upstairs…” Tamra(Tulu) has had her third appeal against deportation refused. Lora more or less asks Tamra to run away and stay with friends. Alison, (Tonsi), and Caroline (Golay), whose father has just died, go out and get drunk and are brought back by the police.

Later, Caroline threatens to commit suicide, knife at the ready. Fortunately Oumar, a staff member talks her out of it. Caroline will be looked after in a psychiatric ward, she has been flirting with male members of staff. Audrey loses her placement job, because she overslept.

But we always return to Lora, who is been told by other members of staff, that “she has come back too early”. Finally her backstory is fleshed out by her own moving confession: her daughter had committed suicide in her late thirties, and naturally this admission will be used against her by the children: “You said, you want to protect us, but you could not even protect your own daughter”. Precieuse’s mother comes to see her daughter, but Lora denies her access, the mother making an insulting, ageist remark to Lora, who slaps her. Not a good move since Lora is White and the mother Black.

Lora then faces another ‘trial’ by her superiors, Precieuse confesses her father never raped her, but that she was sick of doing all the chores, her being too lazy to do any housework. The staff don’t know what to make of this, and an open fight breaks out – not unlike the one witnessed involving the children. Finally, Lora’s whole story unfolds, round the campfire, the kids looking on.,

La Mif makes for very uneasy viewing, it’s a brutal portrait of an institution, and an alarming revelation of a system intended to help the victims of child abuse. But the “helpers” themselves are often from troubled or dysfunctional backgrounds. The result is chaos, and feeds into the children’s own trauma: their carers have too much of their own psychological baggage to be effective in providing a stable environment. DoP Joseph Arreddy’s often handheld camera captures the febrile setting where continuous psychological warfare unfolds between staff and kids in a cauldron of dysfunction. Honest, raw and disturbing Baillif delivers a shocker. AS

LA MIF is released in UK & Irish cinemas on 25 February 2022 

Berlinale Specials 2021

Best Sellers – Canada / United Kingdom
by Lina Roessler
with Michael Caine, Aubrey Plaza
*World premiere / Debut film

Courage – Germany
by Aliaksei Paluyan
with Maryna Yakubovich, Pavel Haradnizky, Denis Tarasenka
*World premiere / Documentary form / Debut film

French Exit – Canada / Ireland
by Azazel Jacobs
with Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, Valerie Mahaffey, Imogen Poots

Je suis Karl – Germany / Czech Republic
by Christian Schwochow
with Luna Wedler, Jannis Niewöhner, Milan Peschel *World premiere

Language Lessons – USA
by Natalie Morales
with Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass, Desean Terry
*World premiere / Debut film

Limbo – Hong Kong, China / People’s Republic of China
by Cheang Soi
with Lam Ka Tung, Liu Cya, Lee Mason, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi
*World premiere

The Mauritanian – United Kingdom
by Kevin Macdonald
with Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch

Per Lucio (For Lucio) – Italy
by Pietro Marcello
*World premiere / Documentary form

Tides – Germany / Switzerland
by Tim Fehlbaum
with Nora Arnezedar, Iain Glen, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina
*World premiere

Tina – USA
by Dan Lindsay, T. J. Martin
with Tina Turner, Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey, Katori Hall
*World premiere / Documentary form

Wer wir waren (Who We Were) – Germany
by Marc Bauder
with Alexander Gerst, Sylvia Erle, Dennis Snower, Matthieu Ricard
*World premiere / Documentary form

WORLD PREMIERES

 

Berlinale Competition – Golden Bear contenders 2021

The Berlin International Film Festival announced a line-up with a distinctly European arthouse flavour for its 71st online edition, taking place during an industry market event from 1-5 March 2021, later that its usual February slot.

Festival regulars Dominik Graf, Hong Sangsoo and Radu Jude will bring their films to Berlin this Spring, and they are joined by French director Celine Sciamma’s latest feature Petite Maman, and newcomers from Georgia, Hungary, Iran and Mexico – as well as homegrown talent from Germany.

From June 9 to 20, 2021 the Berlinale will launch a “Summer Special” for the public with indoor and outdoor cinema screenings all over the German capital whose much awaited new airport will welcome guests flying in.

The competition also features the usual sidebar sections such as Berlinale Special and Berlinale Series, Encounters, Berlinale Shorts, Panorama, Forum & Forum Expanded, Generation, Perspektive Deutsches Kino. The Retrospective showcasing films of Mae West will screen during the summer edition.

GOLDEN BEAR COMPETITION 2021

 

Albatros (Drift Away)
France
by Xavier Beauvois, with Jeremie Renier (pictured)

 

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (Babardeală cu buclucsau porno balamuc) 
Romania/Luxemburg/Croatia/Czech Republic
by Radu Jude

 

Fabian – Going to the Dogs (Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde)
Germany
by Dominik Graf

 

Ballad of a White Cow (Ghasideyeh gave sefid)
Iran/France
by Behtash Sanaeeha, Maryam Moghaddam

 

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (Guzen to sozo)
Japan
by Ryusuke Hamaguchi

 

Mr Bachmann and His Class (Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse)
Germany
by Maria Speth

 

I’m Your Man (Ich bin dein Mensch)
Germany
by Maria Schrader

 

Introduction 
Republic of Korea
by Hong Sangsoo

 

Memory Box
France/Lebanon/Canada/Qatar
by Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige

 

Next Door (Nebenan) 
Germany
by Daniel Brühl

 

Petite Maman
France
by Céline Sciamma

 

What Do We See When We Look at the Sky (Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt?)
Germany/Georgia
by Alexandre Koberidze

 

Forest – I See you Everywhere  (Rengeteg – mindenhol látla)
Hungary
by Bence Fliegauf

 

Natural Light (Természetes fény)
Hungary/Latvia/France/Germany
by Dénes Nagy

 

A Cop Movie (Una Película de Policías)
Mexico
by Alonso Ruizpalacios

BERLINALE | PART ONE 1-5 MARCH 2021

Berlinale Forum 2021

Work, love, friendship, cinema: today, all these things have to be managed very differently than a year ago. The certainties we were still able to rely on in autumn 2019 have become porous. In other parts of the world where such uncertainties are part of everyday life, people may well be more practised in dealing with them. In a Western Europe geared to planning and feasibility, we still need to get used to a situation reminiscent of an agility workshop on a permanent loop. Whoever manages to shoot and finish a film under these conditions deserves great respect.

The 17-film selection that makes up the 51st Berlinale Forum focuses on works that deal with uncertainties in the world outside by embracing unpredictability in their plots and structures. It gives preference to the fragile over the proven, with more space dedicated to filmmakers at the start of their careers than their more established colleagues. Many films take narrative detours, slaloming between fiction and documentary like Manque La Banca’s debut Esquí (Ski) and dipping into archives to link findings from the past with the present. Jean-Luc Godard’s La chinoise is, for example, subjected to two separate revisions in Ephraim Asili’s The Inheritance and Vincent Meessen’s Juste un movement (Just A Movement) respectively. In her feature-length debut Sichuan hao nuren (The Good Woman of Sichuan), Sabrina Zhao transforms one of Brecht’s learning-plays into an opaque cinematic space. Uldus Bakhtiozina’s debut Doch rybaka (Tzarevna Scaling) tells a straightforward fairy tale on the one hand, while filling her fiction with dizzying culture historical pirouettes on the other. Her characters even have the shiniest diamond-encrusted teeth.

It goes without saying that more established filmmakers also form a part of the selection. With The First 54 Years – An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation, Israeli documentarian Avi Mograbi adds to his rich oeuvre with a bitter breakdown of the meaning of occupation. Berlin directors Chris Wright and Stefan Kolbe sound out the possibilities of documentary filmmaking in their usual unflinching manner in Anmaßung (Anamnesis). And Thai director Anocha Suwichakornpong’s Jai jumlong (Come Here) is a confident continuation of what has already marked her previous work (including 2009’s Mundane History): a blend of narrative subtlety with a view of history that cuts deep.

At a time when withdrawing into one’s own country, city, neighbourhood, flat or family is what’s being suggested, there’s a considerable risk that our realms of perception will shrink accordingly. The films of the 51st Berlinale Forum thus act as a significant help in allowing our thoughts and imaginations to stay open to the outside world.

Films of the 51st Berlinale Forum
*World premiere is used to indicate that these films have not been shown to an audience yet. Since they will be available in online screenings to a professional audience (industry and press) only, they will keep their status World premiere until they will be presented publicly in cinemas or at festivals.

*International premiere is used to indicate that these films have not been shown outside their country of origin yet. Since they will be available in online screenings to a professional audience (industry and press) only, they will keep their status International premiere until they will be presented publicly in cinemas or at festivals.

À pas aveugles (From Where They Stood)
France / Germany
by Christophe Cognet
with Christophe Cognet
*World premiere

Anmaßung (Anamnesis)
Germany
by Chris Wright, Stefan Kolbe
with Nadia Ihjelj, Josephine Hock
*World premiere

Doch rybaka (Tzarevna Scaling)
Russian Federation
by Uldus Bakhtiozina
with Alina Korol, Viktoria Lisovskaya, Valentina Yasen
*International premiere / Debut film

Esquí (Ski)
Argentina / Brazil
by Manque La Banca
with José Alejandro Colin, Segundo Botti, Shaman Herrera
*World premiere / Debut film

The First 54 Years – An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation
France / Finland / Israel / Germany
by Avi Mograbi
with Avi Mograbi
*World premiere

Garderie nocturne (Night Nursery)
Burkina Faso / France / Germany
by Moumouni Sanou
*World premiere / Debut film

The Inheritance
USA
by Ephraim Asili
with Eric Lockley, Nozipho McClean, Chris Jarrell
Debut film

Jai jumlong (Come Here)
Thailand
by Anocha Suwichakornpong
with Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Waywiree Ittianunkul, Sirat Intarachote
*World premiere

Juste un mouvement (Just A Movement)
Belgium / France
by Vincent Meessen
with Dialo Blondin Diop, Ousman Blondin Diop, Marie-Thérèse Diedhiou
*World premiere

Mbah Jhiwo (Mbah Jhiwo / Ancient Soul)
Spain
by Alvaro Gurrea
with Yono Aris Munandar, Sayu Kholif, Musaena’h
*World premiere / Debut film

No táxi do Jack (Jack’s Ride)
Portugal
by Susana Nobre
with Amindo Martins Rato, Maria Carvalho, Joaquim Verissimo
*World premiere

Qué será del verano (What Will Summer Bring)
Argentina
by Ignacio Ceroi
with Ignacio Ceroi, Mariana Martinelli, Charles Louvet
*World premiere

A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces
USA
by Shengze Zhu
*World premiere

Sichuan hao nuren (The Good Woman of Sichuan)
Canada
by Sabrina Zhao
with Weihang He, Ruobing Zhao
*World premiere / Debut film

Ste. Anne
Canada
by Rhayne Vermette
with Isabelle d’Eschambault, Jack Theis, Valerie Marion
*World premiere / Debut film

Taming the Garden
Switzerland / Germany / Georgia
by Salomé Jashi

La veduta luminosa (The Luminous View)
Italy / Spain
by Fabrizio Ferraro
with Alessandro Carlini, Catarina Wallenstein, Freddy Paul Grunert
*World premiere

THE 51st BERLINALE FORUM | MARCH 2021

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