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"The Mauritanian" starring Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch
“The Mauritanian” starring Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch

Berlin International Film Festival 2021 announced the 15 films, two of which are first features, which will compete for the Golden Bear and the Silver Bears. Productions from 16 countries are represented in the Competition.

“If the Competition offers a picture of the cinema as it is and as it will be, we can say that the disruption brought on by the events of 2020 has led filmmakers to make the most of this situation and create deeply personal films. This Competition is less rich in numbers but very dense in content and style,” comments Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian on the selection.

This year’s program of Berlinale Special comprises eleven titles from ten countries, among them are three first features.

The 2021 selection includes films that are currently running successful campaigns for awards (French Exit and The Mauritanian), new (female) voices in the North American indie scene (Best Sellers and Language Lessons), a gripping and hard-boiled detective movie in the best Hong Kong tradition (Limbo), as well as two big and adrenaline-fueled German productions (Je suis Karl and Tides). A group of original documentaries – two of them focusing on world-renowned singers (Tina and Per Lucio) and the other two on current topics (ecological in Who We Were and political in Courage) – complete the selection of Berlinale Special.

Tina Turner, Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges, Michael Caine and Aubrey Plaza, Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tahar Rahim and Shailene Woodley, Mark Duplass and Natalie Morales are some of the stars in the films.

“Even in this year’s reduced edition, Berlinale Special delves into the extremes of the cinematic spectrum. Whether the films are the result of one filmmaker with a recognisable voice or a more cooperative work including stars we all admire, they offer the pleasure of engaging stories, current topics and personal journeys,” says Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian.

Films in Competition

Albatros (Drift Away)
France
by Xavier Beauvois
with Jérémie Renier, Marie-Julie Maille, Victor Belmondo
*World premiere

Babardeală cu bucluc sau porno balamuc (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn)
Romania / Luxemburg / Croatia / Czech Republic
by Radu Jude
with Katia Pascariu, Claudia Ieremia, Olimpia Mălai
*World premiere

Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde (Fabian – Going to the Dogs)
Germany
by Dominik Graf
with Tom Schilling, Saskia Rosendahl, Albrecht Schuch
*World premiere

Ghasideyeh gave sefid (Ballad of a White Cow)
Iran / France
by Behtash Sanaeeha, Maryam Moghaddam
with Maryam Moghaddam, Alireza Sanifar
*World premiere

Guzen to sozo (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy)
Japan
by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
with Kotone Furukawa, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Fusako Urabe
*World premiere

Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse (Mr Bachmann and His Class)
Germany
by Maria Speth
with Dieter Bachmann and pupils of class 6b
*World premiere / Documentary form

Ich bin dein Mensch (I’m Your Man)
Germany
by Maria Schrader
with Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller
*World premiere

Inteurodeoksyeon (Introduction)
Republic of Korea
by Hong Sangsoo
with Shin Seokho, Park Miso, Kim Minhee
*World premiere

Memory Box
France / Lebanon / Canada / Qatar
by Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige
with Rim Turki, Manal Issa, Paloma Vauthier
*World premiere

Nebenan (Next Door)
Germany
by Daniel Brühl
with Daniel Brühl, Peter Kurth
*World premiere / Debut film

Petite Maman
France
by Céline Sciamma
with Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Nina Meurisse
*World premiere

Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt? (What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?)
Germany / Georgia
by Alexandre Koberidze
with Ani Karseladze, Giorgi Bochorishvili, Vakhtang Fanchulidze
*World premiere

Rengeteg – mindenhol látlak (Forest – I See You Everywhere)
Hungary
by Bence Fliegauf
with Laura Podlovics, István Lénárt, Lilla Kizlinger, Zsolt Végh, László Cziffer, Juli Jakab, Ági Gubík
*World premiere

Természetes fény (Natural Light)
Hungary / Latvia / France / Germany
by Dénes Nagy
with Ferenc Szabó, Tamás Garbacz, László Bajkó
*World premiere / Debut film

Una Película de Policías (A Cop Movie)
Mexico
by Alonso Ruizpalacios
with Mónica Del Carmen, Raúl Briones
*World premiere / Documentary form

Films of Berlinale Special

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

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