The Panorama program lineup of the 69th Berlin International Film Festival is complete, and will feature a total of 45 controversial, political and challenging films from 38 countries. 34 films celebrate their world premiere and 19 of the films are debut works. Among the 45 films are 29 feature films and 16 documentary films.
These are times of breaking free – or so this year’s Panorama program seems to be telling us. In a remarkable number of films, we can observe people trying to leave behind systems of heteronomy and oppression – with varying degrees of success. It might be the family, a homophobic religious group, or a capitalist system that people are trying to escape from, but the goal is always a life of self-determination – a life with more freedom and more autonomy. The hardest feat is often breaking out of your own community, the one you feel closest to. This year’s program also features exceptional cinematic (self-)discoveries and portraits of remarkable artists.
In the opening film Flatland by Jenna Bass, two young women dare the outbreak of socially required images of women. A bride and an expectant mother flee across South Africa in this fast-paced road movie. In Temblores by Jayro Bustamante, a family man in Guatemala breaks the silence about his true sexuality – and experiences with dramatic consequences all the harshness of his strictly evangelical community. In the virtuoso drama A Dog Barking at the Moon (R: Xiang Zi) , Chinese society demands adaptation to the family system. When a woman gets her husband with another, she seeks refuge in the teachings of a sect. In Syllas Tzoumerkas ‘wild genre bastard To thávma tis thálassas ton Sargassón (The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea) are two women in the center. While one plans the secret escape from the province, the other sinks deeper and deeper into the criminal swamp of a small town. In response to his own fear of death, in Xaver Böhm’s whimsical debut O Beautiful Night, Death himself suddenly appears in front of the door of young man Yuri. It follows a breakout into the night. How difficult it is to free oneself from the ghosts of the past is shown by Edward Berger’s epic family drama All My Loving. Three siblings are searching for the eruption into the present in very different ways. Young people break in Kislota (Acid), the directorial debut of Russian actor Alexander Gorchilin, drastic way with family and religious traditions and structures. In 37 Seconds (R: HIKARI) it is a gifted manga artist who sits in a wheelchair and tries to escape from invisibility into a sexual self-determination. Neo-Nazi Bryon Widner flees from his own ultra-right-wing community and literally wants to get out of his own skin in Guy Nattiv’s Thriller Skin. In Šavovi (Stitches) (R:Miroslav Terzic)A mother breaks a cartel of silence in search of her dead son and exposes a scandal of recent Serbian history. The liberating outburst from the shackles of a turbo capitalist world order shows in very different ways two films about modern slavery. The 16-year-old Cambodian boy Chakra is enslaved in Buoyancy (R: Rodd Rathjen)on a fishing boat. The only way out seems to be the revolt. In the documentary Estou Me Guardando Para Quando O Carnaval Chegar ( Waiting For The Carnival ) (R: Marcelo Gomes) we observe a whole Brazilian city in the non-stop work for the jeans-processing industry. The only outbreak: the annual carnival.
The medium of film plays a central role in many films as a means of self-exploration, as a reality filter or as a memory archive. Hassan Fazili’s family take-overs from Afghanistan are evidence of survival in Midnight Traveler. The camera as a companion on the Balkan route here is the chronicler of a worldwide increasingly rigid foreclosure policy. In Western Arabs, filming one’s own family is a therapeutic self-experiment: after his early escape from Palestine, his father’s wounds do not want to heal. Danish-born director Omar Shargawi filters his own experiences here for rapprochement with a patriarch. In selfie (R:Agostino Ferrente) are given to young people in Naples cameras to take the direction of the pictures of their lives in their own hands. The result is self-portraits between hopelessness and carefree youth, between criminal everyday life and the intimate snapshots of her childhood. In a mixture of conscious staging and documentary everyday observations, Pia Hellenthal combines Searching Eva different cinematic forms in search of their protagonist. Between Italy and Berlin, withdrawal and new drugs and the comments of family and social media followers unfolds the cinematic idiosyncratic portrait of a strong and at the same time vulnerable sex worker, feminist and rebel. Whether it’s the VHS footage of a troubled youth in Jonah Hill’s Mid90s directorial debut, the camcorder-turned tourist reports of a Senegalese hotel employee in Staff Only (R: Neus Ballús) or the 16mm footage of a young film student seeking to explore the outside world and the Personality serve in Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir: The cinematic moment and moments of film play a special role as topics in this year’s program.
Finally, another focus this year will be on outstanding cinematic portraits of exceptional artists. Joanna Reposi mounted in Lemebel from a variety of archival footage and home videos a hypnotic flow of images to her portrait of the late 2015 Chilean author, activist and performance artist Pedro Lemebel. La fiera y la fiesta(Holy Beasts) (R: Laura Amelia Guzmán, Israel Cárdenas) reminiscent of the murdered Dominican filmmaker Jean-Louis Jorge in the form of a dream-moving feature film. Far removed from the conventional portrait film is also A Dog Called Money by photographer Seamus Murphy. The focus is on his travels with musician PJ Harvey to Afghanistan, Washington DC and Kosovo. At the same time we see live how PJ Harvey turns her travel impressions into music in the specially built recording studio in London. In Serendipity, sculptor and multimedia artist Prune Nourry condenses images of her art and personal reflections on femininity and her illness into an intimate self-portrait. In Système K (System K) of Renaud Barret introduces us to the breathtaking street art scene of Kinshasa, while in Talking About Trees with four directors from Sudan we search for a Sudanese cinema that has been forced to a standstill, and the three men are persistently working to revive it. In Shooting the Mafia, Kim Longinotto portrays the legendary photographer and chronicler of Mafia legend Letizia Battaglia, while Annekatrin Hendel in beauty and transience lets the East Berlin photographers Sven Marquardt and Robert Paris and survivalist Dominique Hollenstein talk about their good old days in front of their camera. In What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael(R: Rob Garver), finally, the film criticism itself declared art and with the help of an impressive selection of film clips and interview sequences reminiscent of the controversial and controversial critic Pauline Kael.
Other films in the program:
La Arrancada (On the Starting Line) – France / Cuba / Brazil
from Aldemar Matias
Aldemar Matias delivers a fine, sensitively filmed family portrait from Cuba. Like her country, the life of competitive athlete Jenniffer is about to change. Not only in the 100-meter run, she seems to be in the starting blocks.
The breath – Germany
by Uli M. Schueppel
26 people talk about love and need, hope and bitterness, about fear and happiness. In addition analogue pictures of the Berlin night. A symphony of life, a magical cosmos. Third part of Schueppel’s “Gesänge” trilogy about space, time and body.
Breve historia del planeta verde (Letter Story from the Green Planet) Argentina / Germany / Brazil / Spain
by Santiago Loza
Tania learns that her grandmother spent the last years of her life in the loving company of an alien. Together with two friends, the trans woman travels through rural Argentina to bring the creature back to its place of origin.
Divino Cupid (Divine Love)
Brazil / Uruguay / Chile / Denmark / Norway / Sweden
by Gabriel Mascaro
In Brazil in 2027, Joana, a member of the evangelical sect Divino Amor, is treating couples who want to separate by ritualized sexual acts with her and her husband. Joana’s relationship and her belief, however, suffer from her unfulfilled desire to have a baby.
Flesh out – Italy / France
by Michela Occhipinti
Three months left, then Verida should marry. According to a Mauritanian tradition, she is supposed to grow up to please her husband. The more Verida increases, the more she suffers. She begins to reflect on herself.
Light of My Life – USA
by Casey Affleck
Post-apocalyptic family drama by and with Casey Affleck about a father who wants to protect his daughter at any cost. In a society without women gender roles need to be renegotiated.
Normal – Italy
by Adele Tulli
Adele Tulli’s formally straightforward and aesthetically convincing film document deals with rigid gender roles and the uncritical subjection of many people to the dictates of (hetero) normativity.
The Shadow Play – People’s Republic of China
by Lou Ye
After a demonstration against the demolition of old buildings, the director of the municipal building commission is found dead. In the guise of a film noir is told of corruption and building scandals and of people who want to enrich ruthlessly.
Woo Sang (Idol) – Republic of Korea
from Su-jin Lee
Politician Koo Myung-hui finds his wife in the garage. She is cleaning her son’s bloodstained car, which has just run over a man. A rainy, political thriller with neo-noir elements.
Film List: Panorama 2019
37 Seconds from HIKARI with Mei Kayama, Misuzu Kanno, Makiko Watanabe, Shunsuke Daito, Yuka Itaya. Japan – debut film, world premiere
All My Loving by Edward Berger with Lars Eidinger, Nele Mueller-Stöfen, Hans Löw. Germany – world premiere
La Arrancada (On the Starting Line) by Aldemar Matias. France / Cuba / Brazil – debut film, Panorama documentary, world premiere
The breath of Uli M Schueppel. Germany – world premiere
Breve historia del planeta verde (Letter Story from the Green Planet) by Santiago Loza with Romina Escobar, Paula Grinszpan, Luis Soda. Argentina / Germany / Brazil / Spain – world premiere
Buoyancy by Rodd Rathjen with Sarm Heng, Thanawut Kasro, Mony Ros. Australia – debut film, world premiere
Dafne by Federico Bondi with Carolina Raspanti, Antonio Piovanelli, Stefania Casini. Italy – world premiere
The Day After I’m Gone ;by Nimrod Eldar with Menashe Noy, Zohar Meidan. Israel – debut film, world premiere
Divino Amor (Divine Love) by Gabriel Mascaro with Dira Paes, Julio Machado. Brazil / Uruguay / Chile / Denmark / Norway / Sweden – European premiere
A Dog Barking at the Moon by Xiang Zi Ji Nan, Naren Hua, Zhang Xinyue. People’s Republic of China / Spain – debut film, world premiere
A Dog Called Money by Seamus Murphy with PJ Harvey. Ireland / Great Britain – Debut film, Panorama documentary, world premiere
Estou Me Guardando Para Quando O Carnaval Chegar (Waiting for the Carnival) by Marcelo Gomes. Brazil – Panorama documentary, world premiere
Eynayim Sheli (Chained) by Yaron Shani with Eran Naim, Stav Almagor, Stav Patai. Israel / Germany – world premiere
La fiera y la fiesta (Holy Beasts) by Laura Amelia Guzmán, Israel Cárdenas with Geraldine Chaplin, Udo Kier, Luis Ospina, Jaime Piña, Jackie Ludueña. Dominican Republic / Argentina / Mexico – World Premiere
Flatland by Jenna Bass with Faith Baloyi, Nicole Fortuin, Izel Bezuidenhout. South Africa / Luxembourg / Germany – world premiere
Flesh Out by Michela Occhipinti with Beitta Ahmed Dykes, Amal Saad Bouh Oumar, Aichetou Abdallahi Najim, Sidi Mohamed Chighaly. Italy – debut film, world premiere
Greta by Armando Praça with Marco Nanini, Denise Weinberg, Demick Lopes, Gretta Sttar. Brazil- debut film, world premiere
Hellhole by Bas Devos with Willy Thomas, Alba Rohrwacher, Lubna Azabal, Hamza Belarbi. Belgium / Netherlands -world premiere
Jessica Forever by Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel with Aomi Muyock, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Augustin Raguenet, Lukas Ionesco, Eddy Suiveng, Paul Hamy, Maya Coline. France – debut film, European premiere
Kislota (Acid) by Alexander Gorchilin with Filipp Avdeev, Alexander Kuznetsov, Arina Shevtsova, Alexandra Rebenok, Savva Saveliev. Russian Federation – Debut Film, International Premiere
Lemebel by Joanna Reposi Garibaldi. Chile / Colombia – Panorama documentary, world premiere
Light of My Life by Casey Affleck with Anna Pniowsky, Casey Affleck, Elisabeth Moss. USA – debut film, world premiere
Mid90s by Jonah Hill with Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges, Katherine Waterston, Na-Kel Smith, Olan Prenatt. USA – Debut film, European premiere
Midnight Traveler by Hassan Fazili and Emelie Mahdavian. USA / UK / Qatar / Canada – Debut film, Panorama documentary, International Premiere
Los miembros de la familia (Family Members) by Mateo Bendesky with Tomás Wicz, Laila Maltz, Alejandro Russek. Argentina – world premiere
Monos by Alejandro Landes with Julianne Nicholson, Moisés Arias, Sofia Buenaventura, Julián Giraldo, Karen Quintero. Colombia / Argentina / Netherlands / Denmark / Sweden / Germany / Uruguay / USA – European premiere
Normal by Adele Tulli. Italy / Sweden – debut film, Panorama documentary, world premiere
O Beautiful Night by Xaver Böhm with Noah Saavedra, Marko Mandić, Vanessa Loibl. Germany – debut film, world premiere
Šavovi (Stitches) of MiroslavTerzić with Snežana Bogdanović, Marko Baćović, Jovana Stojiljković. Serbia / Slovenia / Croatia / Bosnia and Herzegovina – world premiere
Beauty & Transience of Annekatrin Hendel. Germany – Panorama documentary, world premiere
Searching Eva by Pia Hellenthal. Germany- debut film, panorama documentary, world premiere
Selfie by Agostino Ferrente. France / Italy – Panorama documentary, world premiere
Serendipity of Prune Nourry. USA- Debut film – Panorama documentary, world premiere
The Shadow Play by Lou Ye with Jing Boran, Song Jia, Qin Hao, Ma Sichun. People’s Republic of China – European premiere
Shooting the Mafia by Kim Longinotto. Ireland / USA – Panorama documentary, European premiere
Skin by Guy Nattiv with Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, Vera Farmiga, Bill Camp, Mike Colter, USA – European premiere
The Souvenir by Joanna Hogg with Honor Swinton Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton. Great Britain – European premiere
Staff Only of Neus Ballús with Sergi López, Elena Andrada, Ian Samsó, Diomaye A. Ngom, Madeleine C. Ndong. Spain / France – world premiere
Système K (System K) by Renaud Barret. France – Panorama documentary, world premiere
Talking About Trees by Suhaib Gasmelbari. France / Sudan / Germany / Chad / Qatar – debut film, panorama documentary, world premiere
Temblores (Tremors) by Jayro Bustamante with Juan Pablo Olyslager, Mauricio Armas Zebadúa, Diane Bathen, María Telón. Guatemala / France / Luxembourg – world premiere
To thávma tis thálassas ton Sargassón (The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea) by Syllas Tzoumerkas with Angeliki Papoulia, Youla Boudali, Christos Passalis, Argyris Xafis, Thanasis Dovris. Greece / Germany / Netherlands / Sweden – world premiere
Western Arabs by Omar Shargawi. Denmark / Netherlands – Panorama documentary, world premiere
What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael by Rob Garver with Sarah Jessica Parker, Quentin Tarantino, Alec Baldwin, David O. Russell, Paul Schrader. USA – Debut Film, Panorama documentary, International Premiere
Woo Sang (idol) by Lee Su-jin with Han Seok-kyu, Seol Kyung-gu, Chun Woo-hee. Republic of Korea – world premiere