Panorama Dokumente of the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival will open with the world premiere of Une jeunesse allemande (A German Youth) by Jean-Gabriel Périot.
Using archive material, the film traces without bias or commentary the developments leading up to the “German Autumn” in late 1977. The gradual radicalisation of leaders of the Red Army Faction (RAF) is made palpable in excerpts from, e.g., Holger Mein’s film Freiheit für Teufel (Freedom for Teufel) and Ulrike Meinhof’s Bambule (Rampage). The film examines the expulsion of a large number of undergraduate students from the German Film and Television Academy (dffb) for their radicalism, as well as the independent student workers’ cinema, ROSTA Kino, and the directors’ revolt at the “EXPRMTL (Knokke Experimental Film Festival)” in Belgium.
Tell Spring Not to Come This Year by Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy addresses the fatal situation in Afghanistan now that all international troops have left the country. And Censored Voices by Mor Loushy traces the bitter taste of triumph. Young Israeli soldiers return home after the Six-Day War and immediately talk on tape about their experiences: the country is in a flush of victory. Now the director shows these same men listening to what they once said.
A statement by Katrin Seybold, who died in 2012, opens her final work: “The films I make need to be made. When people are dead, then they’re dead, and all we have left are Gestapo reports, the reports of the perpetrators.” Die Widerständigen „also machen wir das weiter …” (The Resistors “their spirit prevails …”) consists of interviews about the resistance movement against the Nazis. The film was finished by Seybold’s friend and colleague Ula Stöckl, whose legendary 1968 film, Neun Leben hat die Katze (The Cat Has Nine Lives), is screening in this year’s Berlinale Classics.
Music films and special artist portraits have a tradition in the Panorama. Nina Simone went from being a talented jazz and classical pianist to a highly political human rights activist. In the film What Happened, Miss Simone?, Liz Garbus weaves together film documents, interviews and, of course, the music of this inimitable singer to create an atmospheric portrait. Brett Morgen also includes a great deal of music in Cobain: Montage of Heck, an intimate glimpse into the life and work of the founder of the grunge band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain.
Inuk Silis Høegh’s Sume – Mumisitsinerup Nipaa (Sumé – The Sound of a Revolution) shows how the rock musicians of this band from Greenland devoted themselves in the mid 1970s to opposing Danish colonisers and brought about the revival of Greenlandic, their native tongue. And, as already announced (Press Release from December 16, 2014), in around 1980 one of the most creative musical chapters in West Berlin took place, as documented in B-Movie: Lust and Sound in West-Berlin by Jörg A. Hoppe, Klaus Maeck and Heiko Lange.
Two extraordinary artists, both filmmakers whose world careers began in Berlin, are Jia Zhang-ke and Walter Salles: the latter is presenting an affectionate portrait of his colleague Jia Zhang-ke, Um homem de Fenyang (Jia Zhang-ke, a Guy from Fenyang), which includes many excerpts from his films that make recent upheavals in Chinese society more tangible. Besides the previously announced portrait ofFassbinder – Lieben ohne zu fordern (Fassbinder – To Love without Demands) by Danish filmmaker Christian Braad Thomsen, the Panorama is presenting two rediscoveries: one about Yvonne Rainer, the incredibly inspirational but also, by nature, modest dancer, choreographer and filmmaker, whose filmMURDER and murder won the TEDDY Award in 1997 (Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer by Jack Walsh). The other is about Annemarie Schwarzenbach, whose modern European attitudes, writings on travelling the world, and stunning, highly androgynous look in the 1920s are still fascinating today not only to the queer and gender community (Je suis Annemarie Schwarzenbach / My Name is Annemarie Schwarzenbach by Véronique Aubouy).
Two more works have joined the line-up of films that focus on self-determination and sexuality: Danish director Jannik Splidsboel’s Misfits shows how there are several thousand churches in the Bible Belt of the USA but only one gay-lesbian youth centre. For many it is the only safe haven from a socialisation based on religious fundamentalism. Splidsboel presented How Are You about the artists Elmgreen&Dragset in the Panorama 2011. In Haftanlage 4614 (Prison System 4614), Jan Soldat, who showed his short film Zucht und Ordnung (Law and Order) in the Panorama 2012, explores the longings and desires revealed by “prison fetishists”: these inmates are voluntarily behind bars.
The following titles complete the list of Panorama films.
Censored Voices – Israel / Germany
By Mor Loushy
Cobain: Montage of Heck – USA
By Brett Morgen
Die Widerständigen „also machen wir das weiter …” (The Resistors “their spirit prevails …”) – Germany
By Ula Stöckl, Katrin Seybold
Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer – USA
By Jack Walsh
Haftanlage 4614 (Prison System 4614) – Germany
By Jan Soldat
Je suis Annemarie Schwarzenbach (My Name is Annemarie Schwarzenbach) – France
By Véronique Aubouy
Jia Zhang-ke, um homem de Fenyang (Jia Zhang-ke, a Guy from Fenyang) – Brazil
By Walter Salles
Misfits – Denmark / Sweden
By Jannik Splidsboel
Sume – Mumisitsinerup Nipaa (Sumé – The Sound of a Revolution) – Greenland / Denmark / Norway
By Inuk Silis Høegh
Tell Spring Not to Come This Year – Great Britain
By Saeed Taji Farouky, Michael McEvoy
Une jeunesse allemande (A German Youth) – France / Switzerland / Germany
By Jean-Gabriel Périot
What Happened, Miss Simone? – USA
By Liz Garbus
Previously announced Panorama Dokumente films:
B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin by Jörg A. Hoppe, Klaus Maeck, Heiko Lange, Germany (WP)
Danielův Svět (Daniel’s World) by Veronika Lišková, Czech Republic (IP)
El hombre nuevo (The New Man) by Aldo Garay, Uruguay / Chile (WP)
Fassbinder – Lieben ohne zu fordern (Fassbinder – To Love without Demands) by Christian Braad Thomsen, Denmark (WP)
Iraqi Odyssey by Samir, Switzerland / Germany / Iraq / United Arab Emirates (EP)
The Yes Men Are Revolting by Laura Nix, Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno, USA (EP)
(WP= World premiere, IP= International premiere, EP = European premiere)