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Yana Ugrekhelidze (Instructions for Survival)
Yana Ugrekhelidze (Instructions for Survival) © Daniel Seiffert / Berlinale 2021

Yana Ugrekhelidze’s Instructions for Survival (Germany) was awarded the Compass-Perspektive-Award at Berlin Film Festival Summer Special. The award is presented to the best film from the Perspektive Deutsches Kino programof the Berlinale Summer Special tonight.

In its statement, the jury commented, “Instructions for Survival shakes the viewer’s foundations from the get-go. First depicting physical, then structural violence against LGBTQI people, it increases our awareness of the kind of degrading situation the protagonists find themselves in. Alexander and Mari live in Tiflis, Georgia, in secrecy and constant uncertainty: Since Alexander’s trans identity isn’t recognised by law, and he’s been rejected by his family, the couple has decided to emigrate. To raise the money they need, Mari agrees to a surrogate pregnancy. Yana Ugrekhelidze’s documentary film reveals its protagonists’ secret little by little. It approaches their situation without intruding, and shares their closeness during the most intimate moments, without exploiting them. This careful observation of the love between the protagonists who have to give up their homeland to live out their identities illustrates some of Europe’s dramatic deficiencies. We were touched by the story of their flight.”

The jury also selected a fiction film for special mention, which was awarded to Wood and Water (Germany / France) by Jonas Bak

The Jury commented, “In Wood and Water, a retired woman from the Black Forest travels to Hong Kong in search of her lost son. Through magical images, a precisely observed meditation on aging is created, as well as an atmospheric and decelerating cinema experience.”

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