Selected from considerably more than 2,000 submissions, this year a total of 65 full-length and short films have been invited to compete in the Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus competitions at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival. Highly contemporary, the selection reflects on both cinematic developments as well as current socio-political situations. The diversity in content and format relentlessly reflects a complex and frequently inconsistent world while at the same time leaving room for interpretation. In the zone between reality and imagination, the filmmakers open doors for alternative options – not only for the young protagonists – and simultaneously reframe a young generations’ yearning for commitment.
“Every single selection is an invitation to the audience to experience life from the perspective of youth. They are films with young people, as opposed to about them. An impressive characteristic throughout the program is not only the deep respect with which the filmmakers paint portraits of their protagonists, but also the immediacy and intimacy with which they approach these very individual world views,” says section head Maryanne Redpath about this year’s program.
The Generation 14plus competition will open at Haus der Kulturen der Welt with the road movie 303, with director Hans Weingartner (White Noise and The Edukators, among others) and cast attending. The Generation Kplus competition will open with an adventurous journey of an altogether different nature: the fast-paced Danish animation Den utrolige historie om den kæmpestore pære (The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear) by Philip Einstein Lipski, Amalie Næsby Fick and Jørgen Lerdam.
Germany / Iceland / USA
by Maria Solrun
After her debut film Jargo (Generation 14plus 2004), Icelandic director Maria Solrun presents a feature film for the second time in Generation. The aurally handicapped young protagonist Adam and his mother, a techno musician, have always lived in different worlds. At the same time, they are symbiotically connected: he feels her music directly with his body. When his mother is diagnosed with irreversible brain damage caused by alcohol, Adam suddenly has to look after himself. He faces his mother’s eager death wish in his very own laconic way, and the director gives him his voice, as well as plenty of space to develop.
by Pooya Badkoobeh
Motivated primarily by boredom rather than greed, Golsa and her friends rob a corner shop. But while evaluating the booty, they are dismayed to realise that they forgot to take the security camera footage. One of them must return to the crime scene and retrieve it. The vote falls on Golsa, who bravely completes the mission. Her friends’ behaviour makes her think, and she hides the hard drive somewhere secret. But her accomplices and their well-to-do families put more and more pressure on Golsa, worried about their social standing. Director Pooya Badkoobeh radically staged story about control, blackmail and the power of money holds an uncompromising mirror up to Iranian society.
Switzerland / Belgium
by Germinal Roaux
Amidst the snow-covered mountains of the Swiss Simplon Pass, 14-year-old Fortuna clasps her hands in prayer. She hasn’t seen her parents since their traumatic crossing of the Mediterranean. Like many other refugees, the young girl from the Ethiopia/Eritrea border area has found refuge in an Augustinian monastery. The feelings of loneliness and yearning for love that tear at Fortuna are weighed against a secret that she can’t even tell the head friar – insightfully played by Bruno Ganz. Director Germinal Roaux fathoms the depths of Christian charity in expressive black-and-white imagery.
Hendi & Hormoz
Iran / Czech Republic
by Abbas Amini
After Valderama (Generation 2016), Iranian director Abbas Amini presents his second feature film in Generation 14plus. Hendi & Hormoz takes place on Iran’s Hormuz Island in the Persian Gulf, where hematite deposits in the soil turn the ocean waves blood-red. 16-year-old Hormoz is married to Hendi, three years his junior, after he promises that he can work as a miner. But the young man, stirringly played by Hamed Alipour (Valderama), finds closed doors instead of a job. When Hendi becomes pregnant unexpectedly, Hormoz is forced to make an ill-advised pact with a smuggler. Director Amini portrays the existential struggle of two young people who must abandon their carefree youth in a harsh world.
by Jenna Bass
After The Tunnel (Berlinale Shorts 2010), Berlinale Talents alumna and London native Jenna Bass now presents a film in Generation 14plus. Filmed by the four protagonists exclusively on smartphones in the wide expanses of the South African veldt, Bass’s second feature film High Fantasy brings a common vision to life: being inside the body of another person. When Lexi and her friends experience exactly that during a camping trip, a suspense-laden dynamic ensues between the three women and Thami, the only man with them, but also between Lexi, who is white and Xoli, who is black. A smart and biting essay on the unrelenting politics of the human body – and still highly relevant even decades after the alleged end of Apartheid.
Ireland / United Kingdom
by Aoife McArdle
Candice, 17, has a vivid imagination. In the glaring and graphic realms she experiences during her epileptic seizures, a man appears with whom she falls in love. Soon after, she meets him in the real world. But that’s just one bit of trouble in the Irish town where the young people see a pony as a status symbol on par with a car. One boy is missing and a violent clique of youths is terrorising the village inhabitants. Candice’s father, a police officer who longs for the “good old days” of “the Troubles”, is on the case. In her debut film, director Aoife McArdle stages highly aesthetic chaos against the harsh backdrop of a coastal Irish village. The director’s ample experience making music videos is clearly visible throughout.
Peru / Germany / Norway
by Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio L.
14-year-old Segundo lives with his parents in a village high in the magnificent mountains of Peru. His father Noé is a respected artist and Segundo’s role model. Noé hand-crafts altarpieces, decorated shrines for church and home, and is teaching Segundo the necessary skills to carry on in his footsteps. But cracks have developed in their close relationship because Noé is keeping a dark secret. With brutal honesty and saturated colours, the film peeks behind the facade of a seemingly intact village community where homophobic attidtudes enforced by patriarchal laws are carried out with remorseless violence. It sketches a visually powerful panorama of a world in which a young artist is searching for his niche.
What Walaa Wants
Canada / Denmark
by Christy Garland
The Palestinian girl Walaa – whose mother was incarcerated in an Israeli prison for eight years for allegedly aiding an assassination – shows little interest in school. She’d rather join the Palestinian National Authority – the provisional governmental body that governs the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza – as soon as possible, were it not for her distrust of any kind of authority. Director Christy Garland’s documentary follows the obstreperous young woman over the course of five years, from age 15 to 20. Always maintaining a level playing field with her young protagonist, Christy Garland gives an intimate look at the rebellious girl fighting at times uncontrollably but tenaciously for her dream.
303, Germany, Hans Weingartner — WP
Cobain, Netherlands / Belgium / Germany, Nanouk Leopold — WP
Danmark (Denmark), Denmark, Kaspar Rune Larsen — IP
Güvercin (The Pigeon), Turkey, Banu Sıvacı — WP
Les faux tatouages (Fake Tattoos), Canada, Pascal Plante — EP
Para Aduma (Red Cow), Israel, Tsivia Barkai Jacov — WP
Unicórnio (Unicorn), Brazil, Eduardo Nunes — IP
Virus Tropical, Colombia, Santiago Caicedo — EP
Short films in Generation 14plus
Fry-Up, United Kingdom, Charlotte Regan — EP
Follower, Germany, Jonathan B. Behr — WP
Je fais où tu me dis (Dressed for Pleasure), Switzerland, Marie de Maricourt — IP
Juck, Sweden, Olivia Kastebring, Julia Gumpert, Ulrika Bandeira — IP
Kiem Holijanda, Netherlands, Sarah Veltmeyer — IP
Na zdrowie! (Bless You!), Poland, Paulina Ziólkowska — WP
Neputovanja (Untravel), Serbia / Slovakian Republic, Ana Nedeljković, Nikola Majdak Jr. — WP
Nuuca, USA / Canada, Michelle Latimer — EP
Playa (Beach), Mexico, Francisco Borrajo — EP
Pop Rox, USA, Nate Trinrud — EP
Premier amour (First Love), Switzerland, Jules Carrin — IP
Sinfonía de un mar triste (Symphony of a Sad Sea), Mexico, Carlos Morales — EP
Tangles and Knots, Australia, Renée Marie Petropoulos — EP
Three Centimetres, United Kingdom, Lara Zeidan — WP
Vermine (Vermin), Denmark, Jeremie Becquer — WP
Voltage, Austria, Samira Ghahremani — IP
Blue Wind Blows
by Tetsuya Tomina
In his poetic full-length film debut, director Tetsuya Tomina follows shy Ao, who lives with his mother and younger sister Kii on the Japanese island of Sado. Their father recently disappeared without a trace, but nobody talks much about that. Ao and Kii wander around the island and vent their incomprehension to the expanses of the sea. Then Ao finds a soulmate in the secretive Sayoko. These two daydreamers need only a few words and feel immediately connected to one another. Against the impressive backdrop of an industrial coastal village, Tomina (who also wrote the screenplay) tells a touching story about hope, loss and letting go.
Belgium / Netherlands
by Janet van den Brand
In her full-length documentary debut, Dutch director Janet van den Brand accompanies her four young protagonists as they go about their daily agricultural business. Piglets are born, as well as calves, lambs and chicks. Sowing, planting and harvesting. Butchering. No matter what, the camera is close by, along with Koen, Daan, Sven and Jeanine. They help with the farm work from a young age, learning to take responsibility, and to say farewell. Will they run their parents’ farms one day? Using documental imagery, Van den Brand presents a realistic picture of life and work in agriculture – one without idealism, and yet full of poetry.
Cirkeline, Coco og det vilde næsehorn (Circleen, Coco and the Wild Rhinoceros)
by Jannik Hastrup
The works of Danish director Jannik Hastrup, seasoned master of animation film, have competed in the Generation programmes since 1985. This year he presents the fourth screen adventure of the matchbook-sized elf Cirkeline. Travel is once again on the agenda, this time with Princess Coco and a moody baby rhinoceros, who both want to return to their home in Africa. Cirkeline and her mouse friends spontaneously decide to go along. A musical story told in episodes and lively, colorful images, Hastrup’s film once again illustrates how travel can open our eyes, and that not everything is the way it seems at first glance.
Norway / Sweden
by Christian Lo
Best friends Axel and Grim finally want to perform at this year’s Norwegian rock championship with their band, Los Bando Immortale. Nine-year-old runaway and cellist Thilda, and underage rally driver Martin complete the troupe, and the quartet sets off on a turbulent road trip to the wild north. With the police and crazy relatives on their tail, and confronted with harsh truths in life and love, the four friends continue toward their dream, unperturbed. After Bestevenner (2010), Norwegian director Christian Lo presents his second feature film in Generation Kplus.
Mochila de plomo (Packing Heavy)
by Darío Mascambroni
12-year-old Tomás tolerated it for far too long – being put off by the grownups, who built a labyrinth of silence, excuses and contradictions all around him. But today is the day of truth. Today, the man who killed his father will be released from prison. And Tomás is ready. In his rucksack is a loaded gun. Restless and determined to liberate himself from the half-truths of the adults, Tomás takes a trip through his hometown. Following his debut Primero enero (Generation Kplus 2017), director Darío Mascambroni once again demonstrates his talent for the attentively observed father-son narrative, told in atmospheric images and in close proximity to his protagonists.
Wang Zha de yuxue (Wangdrak’s Rain Boots)
People’s Republic of China
by Lhapal Gyal
After heavy rains, puddles and mud cover the streets of the Tibetan mountain village. It’s good for the crops, but bad for young Wangdrak, the only boy in the village without rubber boots. While his father is busy with other worries, Wangdrak’s mother fulfills her son’s wish. But new shoes bring new problems. For Wangdrak, a battle against the blue sky and for the rain begins, fought alongside his loyal friend Lhamo. Nestled in the inimitable mountain landscape, director Lhapal Gyal uses vivid imagery to show us a culture steeped in ancient traditions, paying special attention to the young protagonist’s dreams.
Allons enfants (Cléo & Paul), France, Stéphane Demoustier — WP
Den utrolige historie om den kæmpestore pære (The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear), Denmark, Philip Einstein Lipski, Amalie Næsby Fick, Jørgen Lerdam — IP
Dikkertje Dap (My Giraffe), Netherlands / Belgium / Germany, Barbara Bredero — IP
El día que resistía (The Endless Day), Argentina / France, by Alessia Chiesa — WP
Gordon och Paddy (Gordon and Paddy), Sweden, Linda Hambäck — IP
Les rois mongols (Cross My Heart), Canada, Luc Picard — EP
Sekala Niskala (The Seen and Unseen), Indonesia / Netherlands / Australia / Qatar, Kamila Andini — EP
Supa Modo, Germany / Kenya, Likarion Wainaina — WP
Short films in Generation Kplus
A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl, Australia, Tilda Cobham-Hervey — IP
L’après-midi de Clémence (The Afternoon of Clémence), France, Lénaïg Le Moigne — WP
Vdol´ i poperyok (Between the Lines), Russian Federation, Maria Koneva — WP
Brottas (Tweener), Sweden, Julia Thelin — IP
Cena d’aragoste (Lobster Dinner), USA / Italy, Gregorio Franchetti — IP
De Natura, Romania, Lucile Hadžihalilović — IP
Fisketur (Out Fishing), Sweden, Uzi Geffenblad — IP
Fire in Cardboard City, New Zealand, Phil Brough — EP
Hvalagapet, Norway, Liss-Anett Steinskog — IP
Jaalgedi (A Curious Girl), Nepal, Rajesh Prasad Khatri — EP
Lost & Found, Australia, Bradley Slabe — WP
Neko no Hi (Cat Days), Germany, Jon Frickey — WP
Paper Crane, Australia, Takumi Kawakami — WP
Pinguin (Penguin), Germany, Julia Ocker — WP
Snijeg za Vodu (Snow for Water), Bosnia and Herzegovina / United Kingdom, Christopher Villiers — IP
Toda mi alegría (All My Joy), Argentina, Micaela Gonzalo — IP
Tråder (Threads), Norway / Canada, Torill Kove — EP
Trois rêves de ma jeunesse (Three Dreams of My Childhood), Romania, Valérie Mréjen, Bertrand Schefer — IP
Yover, Colombia, Edison Sánchez — WP