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The Bride by Myriam Birara
Daniel Gaga, Sandra Umulisa in The Bride by Myriam Birara | © Bora Shingiro

As the 53rd edition of Berlin Film Festival approaches, the festival revealed more titles in the Forum, Forum Expanded, Berlinale Series, Berlinale Series Market and Co-Pro Series sections.

Powerful documentaries stand alongside highly personal essay films and feature films in the 28 films that make up the Forum main program.

A total of 34 works from 20 countries are being presented at the Forum Expanded cinemas; and in its ninth edition, Berlinale Series presents eight world and international premieres. For the first time, series from India, China, Italy and Romania are included in the selection.

Forum

Allensworth
by James Benning
USA 2022
Forum | International premiere | Documentary Form
In 1908, Allensworth became the first self-administered African-American municipality in California. In lengthy shots, Benning surveys the buildings (school, church, library) of the now-abandoned town and looks for the traces of a Black cultural history.

Anqa
by Helin Çelik
Austria / Spain 2023
Forum | World premiere | Documentary Form
“I am not the remains. I exist.” Three Jordanian women barely survived the violence inflicted on them by men. Çelik films them from as up close as possible in their flats, which they barely leave, listening to them speak with the opaque logic of trauma.

Arturo a los treinta (About Thirty)
by Martin Shanly | with Martin Shanly, Camila Dougall, Paul Dougall, Esmeralds Escalante, Maria Soldi
Argentina 2023
Forum | World premiere
This comedy of errors revolves around a hapless 30-year-old named Arturo. His penchant for indiscretions is as impossible to overlook as the finesse with which the film glides from March 2020 to the preceding decade and back again.

Being in a Place – A Portrait of Margaret Tait
by Luke Fowler | with Margaret Tait
United Kingdom 2022
Forum | International premiere | Documentary Form
Luke Fowler’s portrait of Scottish poet and filmmaker Margaret Tait takes its inspiration from her unrealised project about her home region of Orkney, drawing and riffing on her notes and footage to produce a blissful union of two artistic sensibilities.

The Bride
by Myriam U. Birara | with Sandra Umulisa, Aline Amike, Daniel Gaga, Fabiola Mukasekuru, Beatrice Mukandayishimiye
Rwanda 2023
Forum | World premiere | Debut film
Three years after the Rwandan genocide, Eva is kidnapped by a stranger and raped. Her aunts agree to a forced marriage to the perpetrator. When Eva finds a confidant in the form of the man’s cousin, she discovers the Tutsi family’s traumatic past.

Cidade Rabat
by Susana Nobre | with Raquel Castro, Paula Bárcia, Paula Só, Sara de Castro, Laura Afonso
Portugal / France 2023
Forum | World premiere
When her mother dies, 40-year-old Helena now has time for herself after years of taking care of her family. She works at a film production company, dances boisterously, gets drunk. A quiet film about letting go morphs into a coming of middle age story.

De Facto
by Selma Doborac | with Christoph Bach, Cornelius Obonya
Austria / Germany 2023
Forum | World premiere | Documentary Form
How can cinema engage with complicity in crimes against humanity, extreme violence and state terror without conniving in it? De Facto finds answers to this question via two actors, a precisely compiled collage of texts and a deliberately reduced setting.

O estranho (The Intrusion)
by Flora Dias, Juruna Mallon | with Larissa Siqueira, Antônia Franco, Rômulo Braga, Patrícia Saravy, Thiago Calixto
Brazil / France 2023
Forum | World premiere
The name of Brazil’s biggest airport, Guarulhos, references the fact that it was built on indigenous territory. In a blend of realistic and stylised scenes, the film follows a member of the ground staff as she seeks her roots beneath the runway.

Le Gang des Bois du Temple (The Temple Woods Gang)
by Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche | with Régis Laroche, Philippe Petit, Marie Loustalot, Kenji Meunier, Salim Ameur-Zaïmeche
France 2022
Forum | International premiere
Two neighbours, each as overwhelmed as the other: an ex-soldier grieves for his mother alone, while a family father leads his criminal gang into a heist with fatal consequences. French genre cinema in the desaturated colours of a banlieue façade.

Gehen und Bleiben (Leaving and Staying)
by Volker Koepp | with Judith Zander, Peter Kurth, Heinz Lehmbäcker, Hanna Lehmbäcker, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg
Germany 2023
Forum | World premiere | Documentary Form
Meetings with readers, acquaintances and contemporaries of writer Uwe Johnson at the places where he lived. Volker Koepp, who is also from Pomerania, looks for Johnson’s sophisticated literary voice in the landscapes of the region they both stem from.

Între revoluții (Between Revolutions / Intre revolutii)
by Vlad Petri | with Victoria Stoiciu, Ilinca Harnut
Romania / Croatia / Qatar / Iran 2023
Forum | World premiere | Documentary Form
A semi-fictional correspondence between two women: one goes to Iran in 1979 to topple the Shah; the other experiences the onerous years of Ceaușescu’s Romania. Their biographies run in parallel via images of everyday life and videograms of revolution.

Ishi ga aru (There Is a Stone)
by Tatsunari Ota | with An Ogawa, Tsuchi Kanou
Japan 2022
Forum | International premiere
A young woman spends a day in some non-place between town and countryside, has random encounters and watches stones skip over the surface of the river. Tatsunari Ota’s film explores a world without productivity and finds joy in idle time and playfulness.

Jaii keh khoda nist (Where God Is Not)
by Mehran Tamadon
France / Switzerland 2023
Forum | World premiere | Documentary Form
A prison cell is set up in an empty room on the edge of Paris. Three former political prisoners from Iran re-enact how they were once interrogated and tortured. With quiet scepticism, the film asks whether their experiences can be accessed in this way.

Notre corps (Our Body)
by Claire Simon
France 2023
Forum | World premiere | Documentary Form
First observational and later hugely personal, Claire Simon’s film is an example of the sheer power of documentary cinema. With a gaze full of tenderness, she explores a gynaecological clinic in Paris to ascertain what it means to live in a female body.

Or de vie (A Golden Life)
by Boubacar Sangaré
Burkina Faso / Benin / France 2023
Forum | World premiere | Documentary Form
In Burkina Faso, young men look under the earth for gold – and a better future. As a result, 16-year-old Rasmané barely seems like a teenager any more. This mainly observational film follows him into the 100-metre abyss of small-scale mining.

El rostro de la medusa (The Face of the Jellyfish)
by Melisa Liebenthal | with Rocío Stellato, Irene Bosch, Vladimir Durán, Federico Sack, Alicia Labraga
Argentina 2022
Forum | International premiere
One day, Marina no longer recognises herself. Is she ill, a different person, prettier? Those around her take it in their stride, her doctor is puzzled, the authorities block her ID card. A gentle comedy that poses serious questions about the human face.

Subete no Yoru wo Omoidasu (Remembering Every Night)
by Yui Kiyohara | with Kumi Hyodo, Minami Ohba, Ai Mikami, Guama Uchida, Tadashi Okuno
Japan 2022
Forum | International premiere
A visit to the employment office, practicing dance steps, making music with friends: several women’s everyday lives are captured in long shots and with a superb sense of place. A film like a summer’s day, bright, friendly, with the occasional chill.

Unutma Biçimleri (Forms of Forgetting)
by Burak Çevik | with Nesrin Ucarlar, Erdem Senocak
Turkey 2023
Forum | World premiere
Nesrin and Erdem talk about their relationship, which they don’t remember in exactly the same way. Çevik’s visually stunning essay uses their conversations to forge a pensive treatise on what it means to forget, where word and image play an equal role.

Uriwa sanggwaneopsi (Regardless of Us)
by Yoo Heong-jun | with Cho Hyunjin, Cho Soyeon, Kwak Minkyu, Kim Misook, Choi Sungwon
South Korea 2023
Forum | World premiere | Debut film
After suffering a stroke, actress Hwaryeong is visited in hospital by her colleagues. With its garrulous film people and disparate relationships, this formally sparse film in elegant black and white comes across like a Hong Sang-soo fever dream.

W Ukrainie (In Ukraine)
by Piotr Pawlus, Tomasz Wolski
Poland 2023
Forum | World premiere | Documentary Form
Bombed-out streets, destroyed Russian tanks, evening meals in an Underground repurposed into a shelter. Image by image, the directors push beyond easily reproducible images of war to enter the reality the country has experienced since February 24, 2022.

Forum Expanded

Opening dates:
silent green Betonhalle & SAVVY Contemporary: Wednesday, February 15
Marshall McLuhan Salon – Embassy of Canada: Thursday, February 16

A árvore (The Tree)
by Ana Vaz
Spain / Brazil 2022
Forum Expanded | World premiere
A meditation-film in 30-second sequences about the artist’s father that links geographies, times, the living, and the dead with a metal sword—the montage. A film shot alongside Bruce Baillie.

Achala
by Tenzin Phuntsog
USA 2022
Forum Expanded Exhibition | International premiere
Achala contains a personal message between the artist’s mother and her sister in Tibet. They discuss keeping in touch through pictures, which represents a safe form of exchange for their monitored communications.

AI: African Intelligence
by Manthia Diawara
Portugal / Senegal / Belgium 2022
Forum Expanded | International premiere
This essay film explores the contact zones between African rituals of possession within traditional fishing villages of the Atlantic coast of Senegal and the emergence of new technological frontiers known as Artificial Intelligence.

Black Strangers
by Dan Guthrie | with Dan Guthrie
United Kingdom 2022
Forum Expanded | International premiere
After seeing him mentioned on a Bishop’s Transcript held in Gloucestershire Archives, Dan goes for a walk in the woods in search of Daniel, a man buried in Nympsfield on December 31, 1719 and described on the document as “a black stranger”.

Borrowing a Family Album
by Tamer El Said
Egypt 2023
Forum Expanded Exhibition | World premiere
Tamer El Said appropriates another family’s amateur footage to reclaim a memory of a lost sibling. The installation invites visitors to look for their own recollections in the same footage, creating an act of collective remembrance in the process.

Dancing Boy
by Tenzin Phuntsog
USA 2022
Forum Expanded Exhibition | International premiere
A joyful moment of a child dancing to a contemporary Tibetan song in a Tibetan dwelling. The boy, all the while making lively dance moves, looks straight at the camera—for which he is seemingly performing—humorously and charmingly.

Desert Dreaming
by Abdul Halik Azeez
Sri Lanka 2022
Forum Expanded | European premiere
A collage film about Sri Lankan labor migration to the Middle East, using popular culture and anecdotal, intimate recollections by the filmmaker’s relatives to challenge monolithic narratives of personal history and middle-class Muslim upbringing.

Dreams
by Tenzin Phuntsog | with Nawang Phuntsog, Tsekyi Dolma Phuntsog
USA 2022
Forum Expanded Exhibition | International premiere
The artist’s parents are seen sleeping on a single mattress on the floor, akin to the one they used when they first immigrated to the West from Tibet. Despite the uncertainty of the time, this remains one of the artist’s fondest childhood memories.

The early rain which washes away the chaff before spring rains (Der frühe Regen wäscht die Spreu weg vor dem
Frühlingsregen)
by Heiko-Thandeka Ncube
Germany 2023
Forum Expanded | World premiere
The title of this film translates to the Shona word “Gukurahundi,” a cynical euphemism which refers to a series of massacres, executed in wake of Zimbabwe’s liberation. The work unfolds as a mosaic, evoking ghosts in the shape of nationhood and ancestry.

Exhibition
by Mary Helena Clark | with Audrey Wollen
USA 2022
Forum Expanded | International premiere
Pivoting between two stories of women and their relationships with objects—one marries the Berlin Wall, the other stabs a Velásquez painting—Exhibition is a meditation on the assertion and refusal of subjecthood.

Home Invasion
by Graeme Arnfield
United Kingdom 2023
Forum Expanded | World premiere
A nightmarish essay film on the history of the doorbell, tracing its invention and constant reinventions through 19th century labor struggles, the nascent years of narrative cinema, and contemporary surveillance cultures.

If You Don’t Watch the Way You Move
by Kevin Jerome Everson | with Derek “Dripp” Whitfeld Jr., Taymond “ChoSkii” Hughes
USA 2023
Forum Expanded | World premiere
A short film about Dripp and ChoSkii of the Columbus, Mississippi group BmE composing and recording their latest composition, “Shiesty,” only to be interrupted by a John Cage score.

Mangosteen
by Tulapop Saenjaroen | with Saksit Khunkitti, Prae Pupityastaporn, Deunchai Yomphakdi, Saowalak Praboonpeng, Prakarn
Rattanachamnong
Thailand 2022
Forum Expanded | International premiere
A story about storytelling: After returning to his hometown to work in his sister’s fruit processing factory, Earth slowly but surely pulls out of the family business to dedicate himself to writing an abstract, gory novel.

The Man Who Envied Women
by Yvonne Rainer | with Jackie Raynal, Anne Friedberg, Larry Loonin
USA 1985
Forum Expanded | No premiere
Around a familiar theme—the breakup of a marriage—Yvonne Rainer constructs an honest, graceful, and wickedly funny account of a self-satisfied womanizer, Jack Deller, the man “who almost knows too much about women.” Restored version of the 1985 film.

Pala Amala (Father Mother / Vater Mutter)
by Tenzin Phuntsog | with Nawang Phuntsog, Tsekyi Dolma Phuntsog
USA 2022
Forum Expanded Exhibition | International premiere
A 2-channel-video on feelings around familial expressions of care, language, identity, and memories of and longing for a lost homeland, which are expressed unspoken. Featuring the artist’s parents, who fled Tibet as children in the early 1960s.

Revolver
by Crystal Z Campbell | with Angela Bates
USA 2022
Forum Expanded Exhibition | International premiere
A descendant of Exodusters—African Americans who founded settlements in the American Midwest in the late 19th century—recounts memories, dreams, and visions of her ancestor’s memories.

Sahnehaye Estekhraj (Scenes of Extraction)
by Sanaz Sohrabi
Canada 2023
Forum Expanded | World premiere
Sanaz Sohrabi creates an archival constellation from the still and moving images of the British Petroleum Archives, documenting the expansive colonial network behind the British geophysical expeditions that spanned across Iran in the early 20th century.

Sahnehaye Estekhraj (Scenes of Extraction)
by Sanaz Sohrabi
Canada 2023
Forum Expanded | World premiere
Sanaz Sohrabi creates an archival constellation from the still and moving images of the British Petroleum Archives, documenting the expansive colonial network behind the British geophysical expeditions that spanned across Iran in the early 20th century.

Summer Grass
by Tenzin Phuntsog
USA 2022
Forum Expanded Exhibition | International premiere
A Yak herder shares a series of clips during their typical day on the sunny grasslands of Tibet, offering a rare glimpse of daily life shared between two family members that have been separated for over 40 years.

Tartupaluk (Prototype)
by Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory | with Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Jaqqa Petersen
Canada / Denmark 2023
Forum Expanded Exhibition | World premiere
At the Marshall McLuhan Salon, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory’s VR-Video Tartupaluk (Prototype) invites the viewers to the eponymous island state in the Arctic north between Canada and Greenland.

The Time That Separates Us
by Parastoo Anoushahpour | with Bayan Kiwan, Haneen Dajani, Dina Mimi, Firas Hamdan
Canada 2022
Forum Expanded | European premiere
Shot in Jordan and Palestine, Parastoo Anoushahpour’s essay film takes inspiration from the Sodom and Gomorrah tale of Lot to examine questions of family, geography, and the fraught ownership of narratives.

Time Tunnel: Takahiko Iimura at Kino Arsenal, 18. April 1973
by Takahiko Iimura
Japan / USA 1973
Forum Expanded Exhibition
As a preview of the 60th founding anniversary of the Freunde der deutschen Kinemathek (today: Arsenal), the installation of videos by the Japanese avant-garde pioneer, who died in July 2022, commemorates a screening at the Arsenal cinema on Welserstraße.

Trip After
by Ukrit Sa-nguanhai
New Zealand 2023
Forum Expanded | World premiere
Trip After is a 2022 travel vlog inspired by the reports of the 1960s United States Information Service mobile film units’ field trips for anti-communist psychological operations in Northeast Thailand.

Tsumikh
by Taus Makhacheva | with Taus Makhacheva
Russian Federation 2023
Forum Expanded Exhibition | World premiere
Цlумихъ (Tsumikh) unpacks the ways in which Rasul Gamzatov, who was a prominent figure in Soviet Russia and Makhacheva’s grandfather, is remembered—by a little girl who is now an adult, by people that were both close to him and distant, and by the state.

Yugantar Film Collective
by Yugantar
2023
Forum Expanded Exhibition
The exhibition at SAVVY Contemporary is dedicated to the Yugantar Film Collective.

Zwischenwelt (In-between Worlds)
by Cana Bilir-Meier | with Aulic Anamika, Saboura Naqshband, Basira Beutel-Biyik, Kirat Sarkaria
Germany 2023
Forum Expanded | World premiere
Stories of migrants and their descendants in Germany: a monument for a Pakistani poet in Munich, the payslips of a Turkish Gastarbeiter in Kiel, three sisters turning a decolonial gaze on Bavarian history.

Berlinale Series

Agent
by Nikolaj Lie Kaas (Creator), Nikolaj Lie Kaas (Director) | with Esben Smed, Selma Sol í Dali Pape, Julie Agnete Vang, Nikolaj CosterWaldau, Ulrich Thomsen
Denmark 2023
Berlinale Series | World premiere | Broadcaster: TV2 | 2/8 episodes
As an agent for some of the top names in music and film, Johan’s job is to solve his clients’ private and professional problems. Chronically overstretched, but never short of ideas, he teeters breathlessly between ingenious plans and absolute chaos.

Arkitekten (The Architect)
by Kerren Lumer-Klabbers (Director) | with Eili Harboe, Fredrik Stenberg D-S, Ingrid Unnur Giæver, Alexandra Gjerpen, Petronella
Barker
Norway 2023
Berlinale Series | World premiere | Debut film | Broadcaster: Viaplay Group | 4/4 episodes
When a project to build a thousand flats in Oslo is put out to tender, architect Julie has an idea: why not convert empty underground car parks into residential buildings? A pitch-black, keenly observed satire about an all-too-near future.

Bad Behaviour
by Corrie Chen (Director) | with Jana McKinnon, Markella Kavenagh, Yerin Ha, Erana James, Melissa Kahraman
Australia 2023
Berlinale Series | International premiere | Broadcaster: Stan | 2/4 episodes
At the Silver Creek boarding school for girls in the Australian outback, students are largely left to their own devices in their spare time. This series tells the gripping and unsparing story of how the desire to belong sets in motion a cruel dynamic.

Dahaad (Roar)
by Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar (Creator), Reema Kagti (Showrunner), Reema Kagti, Ruchika Oberoi (Directors) | with Sonakshi Sinha,
Vijay Varma, Gulshan Devaiah, Sohum Shah
India 2023
Berlinale Series | World premiere | 2/8 episodes
Women are disappearing without a trace in Rajasthan and nobody seems surprised. But police officer Anjali Bhaati notices a similarity in the cases: long nightly phone calls and a boyfriend that no one in the neighbourhood has ever seen.

The Good Mothers
by Julian Jarrold, Elisa Amoruso (Directors) | with Gaia Girace, Valentina Bellè, Barbara Chichiarelli, Simona Distefano, Micaela
Ramazzotti
United Kingdom / Italy 2023
Berlinale Series | World premiere | Broadcaster: Disney+ | 2/6 episodes
Denise’s mother disappears without a trace, quite literally before her eyes. Years ago, she had testified against her mafia boss husband Carlo Costo. Denise herself becomes a key ally of a prosecutor determined to overthrow this brutal system from within.

Spy/Master
by Adina Sădeanu, Kirsten Peters (Creator), Christopher Smith (Director) | with Alec Secăreanu, Parker Sawyers, Svenja Jung, Ana
Ularu, Laurențiu Bănescu
Romania / Germany 2023
Berlinale Series | World premiere | Broadcaster: HBO Max, Warner TV Serie | 2/6 episodes
In 1978, a high-ranking spy from the Eastern Bloc defected to the West. Creators Adina Sădeanu and Kirsten Peters use this as a starting point for a game of spy poker between the CIA, Securitate, KGB and Stasi in which no one puts their cards on the table.

Why Try to Change Me Now
by Yu Gong (Creator), Xiaohui Wang (Showrunner), Dalei Zhang (Director) | with Zijian Dong, Qing Hai, Tian Qiu, Baoshi Dong, Chen
Zhang
People’s Republic of China 2023
Berlinale Series | International premiere | Broadcaster: iQIYI, Inc | 2/6 episodes
In the 1990s, a series of murders rocks a run-down industrial city in north-eastern China. Dalei Zhang, winner of a Silver Bear in 2021, adapts the award-winning novel “Moses on the Plain” by Xuetao Shuang with precision and poetry.

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