Cidade Pássaro (Shine Your Eyes) directed by Matias Mariani
Cidade Pássaro (Shine Your Eyes) directed by Matias Mariani

The 70th Berlin Film Festival is fast approaching and sections – Perspektive Deutsches Kino, Panorama, Generation, Forum Expanded announced the first films and projects.

Carlo Chatrian, the new Artistic Director of the Berlinale: “Announcing the first films, it is important to note that the program is more than just the sum of the selected films. It is the result of a collaborative working process and is intended to provide a picture that highlights cinema as a narrative form, which speaks of people and their world.”

Berlinale Special

Italy / United Kingdom / France
by Matteo Garrone
with Roberto Benigni
International Premiere

Perspektive Deutsches Kino

Four films have been selected for the Perspektive Deutsches Kino program; which will open on Friday, February 21, 2020 with the feature-length film Kids Run by Barbara Ott, who previously gained recognition in 2013 with her 30-minute graduation film Sunny and won the FIRST STEPS award.

Ein Fisch, der auf dem Rücken schwimmt (A Fish Swimming Upside Down)
by Eliza Petkova
with Nina Schwabe, Theo Trebs, Henning Kober, Anna Manolova, Márton Nagy, Leon Ullrich
World premiere

Andrea, a woman without a past, is the object of both Philipp’s and his son’s desire. A love triangle filled with expectations, longing and fears leaves open the speculation of who knows what about whom.

Garagenvolk (Garage People)
by Natalija Yefimkina
World premiere / Documentary form / Debut film

In Russia’s unwelcoming north, garages stretch out into endlessness. Behind rusty doors everything can be found, except cars. They are the refuge of the Russian man, the vanishing point out of bleak daily life and a signal of hope for big dreams.

Kids Run
by Barbara Ott
with Jannis Niewöhner, Lena Tronina, Eline Doenst, Giuseppe Bonvissuto, Carol Schuler, Sascha Geršak, Oliver Konietzny
World premiere / Opening film / Debut film

Andi’s life is a constant battle for his home, his three children and the woman he still loves. He only has two weeks to pay her back the borrowed 5,000 €. When he loses his job, an amateur boxing tournament looks like the only solution.

Walchensee Forever
by Janna Ji Wonders
World premiere / Documentary form / Debut film

If there is such a thing as a family memory that carries forward over the course of history, then it determines the actions of every generation. The director tells the story of the women in her family, set amongst Walchensee, hippie dreams and the commune surrounding Rainer Langhans.

Panorama: (Un) common grounds

The Assistant
by Kitty Green
with Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Kristine Froseth, Makenzie Leigh
International premiere

Jane has started her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. Her day is much like any other assistant’s, but she is soon confronted with an abusive daily routine, only to discover the true depth of the system into which she has entered.

Aufzeichnungen aus der Unterwelt (Notes from the Underworld)
by Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel
with Kurt Girk, Alois Schmutzer
World premiere / Panorama Dokumente

A love letter to Vienna in the 1960s, and simultaneously a genre film of Austrian postwar history. Viennese folk song singer Kurt Girk and his friend Alois Schmutzer talk about their lives in the Viennese underworld – for which they endured long jail sentences.

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
by Bill Ross, Turner Ross
International premiere

A final binge in a closing bar on the edge of Las Vegas. With clear-sighted observation, the film allows us to share the familiarity between the regulars, creating the impression that we are sitting amongst them.

Cidade Pássaro (Shine Your Eyes)
Brazil / France
by Matias Mariani
with O. C. Ukeje, Chukwudi Iwuji, Indira Nascimento, Paulo Andre, Ike Barry
World premiere

Because he has not heard anything from his older brother Ikenna, musician Amadi travels from Nigeria to the metropolis of São Paulo. But Ikenna remains missing. Cidade Pássaro (Shine Your Eyes) is an enigmatic exploration on multiple levels.

Greece / France
by Georgis Grigorakis
with Vangelis Mourikis, Argyris Pantazaras
World premiere / Debut film

When Jonny visits his father Nikitas in his cabin in the woods after 20 years, the hermit ignores him. But to prevent the muddy ground from being pulled out from under their feet for reasons of profit, father and son must dig deep into it…

Eeb Allay Ooo!
by Prateek Vats
with Shardul Bhardwaj, Shashi Bhushan, Mahender Nath, Naina Sareen, Nitin Goel, Nutan Sinha
Debut film

Monkey repellers such as Anjani have an exceedingly tricky job in downtown New Delhi. The film depicts the harsh life of a migrant and subtly mirrors the social realities of today with the sensitivity of a documentary and an Indian sense of humour.

Exil (Exile)
Germany / Belgium / Kosovo
by Visar Morina
with Mišel Matičević, Sandra Hüller, Rainer Bock, Thomas Mraz

The signs that Kosovo native and pharmacologist Xhafer is being hazed at work are increasing – or is it just his imagination? Exile portrays a person in the stress field of integration and loss of identity.

Futur Drei (No Hard Feelings)
by Faraz Shariat
with Benjamin Radjaipour, Banafshe Hourmazdi, Eidin Jalali
World premiere / Debut film

German-Iranian Parvis’s life revolves around pop culture, Grindr dates and raves. Through the refugee siblings Banafshe and Amon, Parvis rediscovers his past. A sensitive film about first love and the life as a migrant in Germany.

Håp (Hope)
Norway / Sweden
by Maria Sødahl
with Andrea Bræin Hovig, Stellan Skarsgård

When Anja is diagnosed with a brain tumour, the everyday life of her patchwork family implodes and the cooling relationship between her and her partner Tomas is confronted with the new reality.

Jetzt oder morgen (Running on Empty)
by Lisa Weber
World premiere / Panorama Dokumente

Lisa Weber’s portrait of Claudia, who had a son when she was 15 and now lives together with him, her mother and her brother in Vienna, is an affectionate and gentle film about the passing of time and about what happens when seemingly nothing is happening.

Kød & Blod (Wildland)
by Jeanette Nordahl
with Sandra Guldberg Kampp, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Joachim Fjelstrup, Elliott Crosset Hove, Besir Zeciri
World premiere / Debut film

Ida moves in with her aunt and cousins following her mother’s death. All is full of love but it soon becomes clear that the clan engages in criminal activities. A female-driven exploration of family conflict fuelled by affections and cut throat ethics.

Las Mil y Una (One in a Thousand)
Argentina / Germany
by Clarisa Navas
with Sofia Cabrera, Ana Carolina Garcia, Mauricio Vila, Luis Molina
World premiere

Set in a community of project houses, Iris, a young woman with a tough past, meets Renata and feels immediately attracted to her. A tender coming of age story about friendship and first love in a hostile environment.

Greece / France / Netherlands / Bulgaria
by Siamak Etemadi
with Melika Foroutan, Shahbaz Noshir, Sofia Kokkali, Argyris Padazaras, Lena Kitsopoulou
World premiere / Debut film

Iranian mother Pari’s search for her missing son in Athens will force her on a journey to the dark corners of the city, as well as into the hidden depths of her own self.

Petite fille (Little Girl)
by Sébastien Lifshitz
World premiere / Panorama Dokumente

The touching portrait of eight-year-old Sasha, who questions her gender and in doing so, evokes the sometimes disturbing reactions of a society that is still invested in a biological boy-girl way of thinking.

Schwarze Milch (Black Milk)
Germany / Mongolia
by Uisenma Borchu
with Gunsmaa Tsogzol, Uisenma Borchu, Terbish Demberel, Franz Rogowski
World premiere

In Uisenma Borchu’s second semi-biographical film, a young woman is searching for her roots and discovers an idiosyncratic, radical sensuality that not only transgresses Mongolian conventions but also those of the supposedly more liberal West.

Si c’était de l’amour (If It Were Love)
by Patric Chiha
World premiere / Panorama Dokumente

The creation and performance of Gisèle Vienne’s dance piece “Crowd” is exceptionally translated into cinematic language in this documentary of sensual tendencies. An exhilarating neon light fresco of a young party crowd to the beat of loud electronic music.

Suk Suk
Hong Kong, China
by Ray Yeung
with Tai Bo, Ben Yuen, Patra Au Ga Man, Lo Chun Yip, Lam Yiu Sing

In Hong Kong, Pak and Hoi meet by chance. Grandfathers today, they lived married lives, providing for their families. A passionate and delicate film about love later in life.

Welcome to Chechnya
by David France
International premiere / Panorama Dokumente

The first documentary about the activists who join forces to save other people’s and their own lives in the face of the systematic persecution of the LGBTQI* community carried out by the Chechen authorities. A tour-de-force charged with resilience and courage.

Generation: Should I Stay or Should I Go – Young People on the Move

Generation 14plus

Black Sheep Boy
by James Molle
World premiere / Short film / Animation

In a world which resembles a computer game from bygone times, an unloved boy embarks upon a search for answers to the essential questions: How does one become happy in life? Is there a “real me”, or do we just play some character?

by Halima Ouardiri
International premiere / Short film / Documentary form

For the 750 dogs that live in a Moroccan shelter, the daily routine consists of eating, resting, a bit of fighting and eating again. Could they possibly expect more from life? A pointed, cinematic commentary on mass confinement.

The Flame
by Nick Waterman
World premiere / Short film / Documentary form

Fire, wind and smoke have been the fundamental elements for Aboriginal people for thousands of years. Their knowledge of the original power of fire is passed on from one generation to the next. A creative development of oral storytelling in audio-visual form.

Goodbye Golovin
by Mathieu Grimard
International premiere / Short film

For Ian, his father’s death is an emancipation. He is determined to leave behind the echo of those emotionally charged words, the desolate high-rise estate and his old home and start over again.

by Leonie Krippendorff
World premiere

In the shimmering midsummer days, there are many first times for young Nora from Kreuzberg: menstruating, smoking marijuana, discovering sexual desires. And then there’s Romy as well. The two young women, impressively played by Lena Urzendowsky and Jella Haase, gently approach each other.

Meu nome é Bagdá (My Name is Baghdad)
by Caru Alves de Souza
World premiere

A film from the skater world of São Paulo, where it is women who call the shots. Bagdá is surrounded by self-confident role models in her family. However, outside on the streets, in the venues and clubs, the old machismo continues to dominate. Bagdá and her fellow comrades-in-arms confront it defiantly.

Något att minnas (Something to Remember)
by Niki Lindroth von Bahr
Short film / Animation

An animated puppet film as a melancholy ballad: In deserted conference rooms, bed stores, experimental laboratories, medical offices, petrol stations and scientific centres, animals strike up the swan song to a world that may never be what it once was.

Notre-Dame du Nil (Our Lady of the Nile)
by Atiq Rahimi

In the microcosm of an elite Catholic school in Rwanda, the contrasts and hostilities between Hutu and Tutsi that are already deeply rooted in society are mirrored by a group of teenage girls. A literary film adaptation, inspired by the real events that forewarn the genocide of the Rwandan Civil War in 1994.

Paradise Drifters
by Mees Peijnenburg
International premiere / Debut film

On the edge of Europe’s affluent society, in the middle of the concrete jungle, the paths of Yousef, Chloe and Lorenzo intersect. Three homeless young people who combine their silent longing for security with their loud cry for independence.

Belgium / France / Canada
by Anna Falguères, John Shank

Swaggering with the coolness of James Dean, the members of a youthful gang exist in a world virtually without adults. Following their own rules, they search in the middle of nowhere for the artefacts of a lost civilization, until the appearance of a young woman changes everything. A powerful story of liberation reminiscent of “Lord of the Flies”.

White Riot
United Kingdom
by Rubika Shah
International premiere / Debut film / Documentary form

What kind of democratic resistance can young people offer in times of burgeoning racism? The filmmaker, who herself was faced with racism as a young woman, pursues the forces of the “Rock against Racism” movement in London in the mid-1970s. A movement embodied by the music of The Clash, Steel Pulse and X-Ray Spex.

Generation Kplus

Death of Nintendo
Philippines / USA
by Raya Martin
World premiere

Only something truly earthshaking can keep four 13-year-olds away from their computer games: the eruption of a volcano, the first feelings of falling in love, the dreaded initiation into manhood. Filipino director Raya Martin (Independencia, 2009 WCF and La Última Película, 2014 Forum Expanded) plunges into a dazzling world of the pop culture of the 1990s.

Un diable dans la poche
by Antoine Bonnet, Mathilde Loubes
World premiere / Short film / Animation

As children play hide and seek, they witness a crime. Only Auguste, the youngest amongst them, no longer wants to carry the burden of keeping the grave secret. A poetically crafted miniature about guilt, betrayal and loyalty.

A Fool God
by Hiwot Admasu Getaneh
Short film

Can God ever be wrong? Are older people always right? And is it fair to forever condemn a person who has once done wrong and subsequently repented? Smart and self-confident, the young Mesi questions the rituals and stories of her Ethiopian family.

H is for Happiness
by John Sheedy
International premiere / Debut film

With a smile on her freckled face, and accompanied by her seemingly unshakable optimism, Candice Phee faces the big problems of life: from A to Z. A fast-paced coming-of-age comedy based on Barry Jonsberg’s hit novel “My Life as an Alphabet”.

Los lobos
by Samuel Kishi Leopo

Their land of dreams is “Disneyland”. Together with their mother, the brothers Max and Leo have just crossed the border from Mexico into the United States, and it’s not easy for them to gain a foothold in their new home country. The director draws upon his own childhood experiences and tells an emigration story of current explosiveness.

Mignonnes (Cuties)
by Maïmouna Doucouré
Debut film

Looking good is the most important thing for the girls at Amy’s new school. But only those who have the really cool moves can belong to the “Cuties”. Torn between the traditional image of women within her Senegalese community and the new look of her dance crew, Amy is seeking to develop her own self-concept.

by Lin Sternal
World premiere / Debut film / Documentary form

Perro and his grandmother fear for their homeland in southern Nicaragua, an area which is threatened by the planned construction of the 300-km-long “El Gran Canal”. The documentary accompanies the silent and nature-loving boy amidst the inevitable farewell to his old life in the jungle and his new beginnings in the city.

Sweet Thing
by Alexandre Rockwell
World premiere

A dysfunctional family is portrayed in all shades of black-and-white: For the siblings Billie and Nico, living together with their father means enduring an emotional roller coaster ride instead of enjoying a peaceful coexistence. The adults are constantly getting out of control and overstepping their bounds. In an act of liberation, the children set off on their own adventure.

Veins of the World (Die Adern der Welt)
Germany / Mongolia
by Byambasuren Davaa
World premiere

Amra is growing up in the Mongolian steppe between herds of goats and YouTube videos. His hopes and dreams revolve around someday performing onstage in “Mongolia’s Got Talent”. However, the fight against the exploitation by gold mining companies and the campaign for a viable environment soon challenge the boy’s eclectic talents.

Forum Expanded

by Anton Vidokle, Adam Khalil, Bayley Sweitzer
World premiere

Al-Houbut (The Landing)
Lebanon / United Arab Emirates
by Akram Zaatari
International premiere

Brazil / France / Netherlands
by Ana Vaz
International premiere

Citizens of the Cosmos
USA / Japan / Ukraine
by Anton Vidokle
International premiere

by Margaret Honda
World premiere

Half Blue
USA / Lebanon
by Joe Namy
International premiere

Harvard Peabody Expedition to Netherland New Guinea 1961
by Ernst Karel, Veronika Kusumaryati
World premiere


United Kingdom / United Arab Emirates / Belgium
by The Otolith Group
International premiere

The Phantom Menace
United Kingdom
by Graeme Arnfield
World premiere

Purple Sea
by Amel Alzakout, Khaled Abdulwahed
World premiere

Quantum Creole
Germany / France / Portugal / Spain
by Filipa César
International premiere

by Kevin Jerome Everson
World premiere

Shipwreck at the Threshold of Europe, Lesvos, Aegean Sea: 28 October 2015
United Kingdom
by Forensic Architecture
World premiere

The Sun
by Kika Thorne
International premiere

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