Big announcement today from the Berlin International Film Festival, whose sixty-eighth edition runs from February 15 through 25. Following the first round of titles slated for the Competition and Berlinale Special revealed last month, the Berlinale’s now added another thirteen.
3 Tage in Quiberon (3 Days in Quiberon), directed by Emily Atef (Molly’s Way, The Stranger in Me). With Marie Bäumer, Birgit Minichmayr, Charly Hübner, Robert Gwisdek, and Denis Lavant. World premiere. From Departures Film: “In a rehab clinic Romy gives her last interview to two journalists. Three days, driven by romantic desire, professional ambition and the urge for living (Inspired by three days in the life of Romy Schneider.)”
Black 47, Lance Daly (Kisses, The Good Doctor). With Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddie Fox, Barry Keoghan, Moe Dunford, Sarah Greene, and Jim Broadbent. World premiere. Out of competition. From Altitude: “It’s 1847 and Ireland is in the grip of the Great Famine that has ravaged the country for two long years. Feeney, a hardened Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, abandons his post to return home and re-unite with his estranged family. He’s seen more than his share of horrors but nothing prepares him for the famine’s hopeless destruction of his homeland that has brutalized his people and where there seems to be no law and order. He discovers his mother starved to death and his brother hanged by the brutal hand of the English. With little else to live for, he sets out on a destructive path to avenge his family, systematically working his way up the political and social hierarchy of Ireland.”
Damsel, David and Nathan Zellner (Kid-Thing, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter). With Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Robert Forster, and Joe Billingiere. International premiere. From Sundance: “It’s a classic tale of the Old West: Samuel Alabaster is a man searching for his true love. Parson Henry is another, much drunker man, searching for a new start. Penelope is a woman who has found her own path. And Rufus Cornell is just a mean bastard with a taste for buckskin. There’s rotgut, rawhide, rootin’, tootin’, and hootin’. Plus, a little tiny horse.”
Eldorado, a documentary by Markus Imhoof (The Boat Is Full, More Than Honey). World premiere. Out of competition. From Swiss Films: “Drawing inspiration from his personal encounter with the Italian refugee child Giovanna during World War II, Markus Imhoof tells how refugees and migrants are treated today: on the Mediterranean Sea, in Lebanon, in Italy, in Germany and in Switzerland.”
Las herederas (The Heiresses), Marcelo Martinessi. With Ana Brun, Margarita Irún, Ana Ivanova. World premiere. First Feature. From La Babosa Cine: “Asuncion, Paraguay. 2012. The Heiresses is the story of a woman of prosperous social background. She had inherited enough money to live comfortably. But at sixty years old she realizes that her inherited money is gone. This new reality alters the balance in which she has been living and forces her to transform a world that until then had seemed motionless.”
Khook (Pig), Mani Haghighi (Modest Reception, A Dragon Arrives!). With Hasan Majuni, Leila Hatami, Leili Rashidi, Parinaz Izadyar, and Ali Bagheri. World premiere. At the moment, all I can find is its classification as a comedy at the IMDb. More soon.
La prière (The Prayer), Cédric Kahn (Red Lights, Wild Life). With Anthony Bajon, Damien Chapelle, Alex Brendemühl, Louise Grinberg, and Hanna Schygulla. World premiere. From Le Pacte: “Thomas, 22, is a drug addict. In an effort to put an end to his habit, he joins a community of former addicts who live isolated in the mountains and use prayer as a way to cure themselves. At first reluctant, Thomas gradually accepts to submit himself to a Spartan life of discipline, abstinence, hard work and frequent prayer. He discovers faith, but also love. And a new kind of torment.”
Toppen av ingenting (The Real Estate), Måns Månsson (The Yard, Mr. Governor) and Axel Petersén (Avalon). With Léonore Ekstrand, Christer Levin, Christian Saldert, Olof Rhodin, Carl Johan Merner, and Don Bennechi. World premiere. From Axel Petersén: “After a life of decadence and monthly allowances, sixty-eight-year-old Nojet inherits an apartment building in downtown Stockholm. However, the building turns on her and what appeared to be a cash cow is in fact a curse . . .”
Touch Me Not, Adina Pintilie (Don’t Get Me Wrong). With Laura Benson, Tómas Lemarquis, Christian Bayerlein, Grit Uhlemann, Hanna Hofmann, Seani Love, and Irmena Chichikova. World premiere. First Feature. Rohfilm tells us that it “follows the emotional journeys of three people in their search for intimacy. Laura works for years in the same mannequin factory. She peeps at other people’s intimate life, while hers doesn’t seem to function. She pays to be touched, hiring young boys to create an illusion of intimacy. Tudor is an actor who earns his living as a masseur. He wants a woman who rejects his attempts at making contact. He stalks her, finding a compensatory way to touch her through objects, places she’s touched. Paul is an actor too, caught in a dysfunctional relationship.”
Transit (image above), Christian Petzold (Yella, Barbara, Phoenix). With Franz Rogowski, Paula Beer, Godehard Giese, Lilien Batman, Maryam Zaree, Barbara Auer, Matthias Brandt, Sebastian Hülk, Emilie de Preissac, and Antoine Oppenheim. World premiere. Following Phoenix (2014), “Petzold returns to WWII identity horrors,” writes Nicholas Bell at Ioncinema. “When a young man flees France after the Nazi invasion, he assumes the identity of a dead author, whose papers he possesses. Stuck in Marseilles, he happens to meet a young woman desperate to find her missing husband—they very man who he’s impersonating. To complicate matters, he begins to fall in love with her.”
Berlinale Special Gala at the Friedrichstadt-Palast
Monster Hunt 2, Raman Hui (Monster Hunt). With Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Baihe Bai, and Boran Jing. European premiere. It is, of course, “a sequel to the hybrid live action and animation fantasy film that became the highest grossing film of all time in China in summer 2015,” as Patrick Frater notes in Variety.
Berlinale Special at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele
Gurrumul, a documentary by Paul Williams. International premiere. Debut film. In Cooperation with NATIVe. “An aboriginal musician from a remote community in the north east of Australia, Gurrumul has received great critical acclaim for his work while also largely eschewing the media,” writes Todd Brown at ScreenAnarchy. “Blind and speaking minimal English, Gurrumul rarely grants interviews and so this film provides a rare look into the life and culture of a man who very clearly is possessed of a simply massive artistic gift.”
Viaje a los Pueblos Fumigados, a documentary by Fernando Solanas (The Hour of the Furnaces, Tangos, The Exile of Gardel, Memoria del saqueo - A Social Genocide). World premiere. It focuses on the contamination of food and air in Argentina caused by pesticides. More (in Spanish) from ElDía.
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