Berlinale 2018 Lineup, Round 1

Following the announcement that Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs will be opening the sixty-eighth Berlin International Film Festival (February 15 through 25), the Berlinale now presents the first eleven titles lined up for its Panorama section, including new work from Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Tokyo Sonata), Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch), and Göran Hugo Olsson (The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, Concerning Violence).

Karim Aïnouz’s Zentralflughafen THF (Central Airport THF). The festival notes that the film documents “the everyday lives of refugees in the hangars of the defunct Berlin airport Tempelhof.”

Timur Bekmambetov’s Profile. A “British journalist goes undercover and infiltrates the digital propaganda channels of the so-called Islamic State, which has been mobilizing ever greater numbers of young women from Europe. Her daily internet contacts with ISIS recruiters gradually pull her in and push the limits of her investigation.”

Luiz Bolognesi’s Ex Pajé (Ex Shaman) “shows the imminent ethnocide of the indigenous Paiter Suruí who live in the Amazon basin. A former Christianized shaman turns to the spirits he had abandoned in order to preserve their cultural identity.”

Evangelia Kranioti’s Obscuro Barroco “focuses on a transgender Brazilian personality: Luana Muniz (1961–2017), icon of queer subculture, drifts through the world of Rio de Janeiro, a city of extremes, with its political conflicts, carnival masquerades, and novel bodies whose transformations no longer acknowledge clear gender lines.”

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Yocho (Yocho (Foreboding)). So this is interesting. Kurosawa’s Before We Vanish, which premiered this year in Cannes, is based on Tomohiro Maekawa’s play Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha. So, too, is Yocho, which, according to AsianWiki, is an edited version of a five-part series that premiered on the Japanese network WOWOW. At any rate, “aliens take over human emotions. Their uncanny system of subjugation kindles a paranoia that turns individual initiative into obedience.”

Santiago Loza’s Malambo, el hombre bueno (Malambo, the Good Man). “Mesmerizing black-and-white images tell the story of a malambo dancer whose body becomes his adversary. The ‘malambistas’ train a lifetime for competitions—and when a dancer finally wins he has to retire.”

Katharina Mückstein’s L'Animale. An eighteen-year-old high school graduate “and her motocross clique are the source of unease in the neighborhood. Her need to belong, her experience of male dominance and the ardent devotion to her clique arouse conflicting emotions in her.”

Göran Hugo Olsson’s That Summer (image above) “brings back the eccentric universe of the symbiotic mother-daughter duo from the documentary classic Grey Gardens. That Summer presents what was believed to have been lost: footage from the summer of 1972, filmed by Peter Beard and Lee Radziwill, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's sister. Additional material—shot by Andy Warhol, Jonas Mekas, Albert Maysles, and Vincent Fremont—provides insight into the dynamics of the former artist community in the Hamptons.” In the Hollywood Reporter, Sheri Linden assures us that “you've never seen the mother-daughter duo quite as they're revealed in That Summer.

Claudia Priscilla and Kiko Goifman’s Bixa Travesty (Tranny Fag). “The female trans*body becomes a political means of expression in both public and private space. The black, transgender singer Linn da Quebrada deconstructs how alpha males conceive of themselves.”

Sebastián Schjaer’s La omisión (The Omission) “intimately depicts a transient worker. Wrapped in thick winter clothing, she defies the cold of Tierra del Fuego and the expectations put on her as a young mother.”

Isao Yukisada’s River's Edge. Based on the manga by Kyoko Okazaki. “In the 1990s, shortly after the collapse of the economic boom in Japan, a group of young people struggle to reconnect with their feelings. Anger and frustration unleash a frenzy of sex and turmoil.”

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