Young at Heart in Berlin

Sandrine Bonnaire in Agnès Varda’s Vagabond (1987)

Having directors, actors, and screenwriters select films for Young at Heart: Coming of Age at the Movies, this year’s Berlinale Retrospective, is a marvelous idea. Alice Diop, who won the festival’s Encounters Award for We in 2021 and a Silver Lion and the Lion of the Future in Venice for Saint Omer last September, has chosen Maurice Pialat’s À nos amours (1983). Filmmaker Russell Harbaugh (Love After Love) calls À nos amours “a shrapnel-soft portrait of a teenager (Sandrine Bonnaire, in her film debut) whose sexual awakening coincides with her father leaving the home.”

Bonnaire was only fifteen when the film was made, and just two years later, she played an aimless drifter in Agnès Varda’s Vagabond (1987), the selection from Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann). When Nina Menkes included Vagabond in her Criterion Top 10, she noted that “Bonnaire’s performance is so real, and everything about how the film is constructed—the way it seamlessly melds documentary and narrative elements—leaves us feeling as though we’ve witnessed the actual life and death of this woman.”

Twenty-three films are lined up for the retrospective, and among those who have submitted titles are Martin Scorsese (Bernardo Bertolucci’s Before the Revolution, 1964), Wes Anderson (Ray Ashley, Morris Engel, and Ruth Orkin’s Little Fugitive, 1953), Pedro Almodóvar (Elia Kazan’s Splendor in the Grass, 1961), Wim Wenders (Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause, 1955), Ava DuVernay (Euzhan Palcy’s Sugar Cane Alley, 1983), Tilda Swinton (Mohammad-Ali Talebi’s Bag of Rice, 1996), Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Shinji Somai’s Typhoon Club, 1985), Abderrahmane Sissako (Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki bouki, 1973), Mohammad Rasoulof (Werner Herzog’s The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, 1974), and Jasmila Žbanić (Věra Chytilová’s Daisies, 1966).

Retrospective head programmer and Deutsche Kinemathek artistic director Rainer Rother and his team have also lined up premieres of eight new restorations in the Berlinale Classics program. One highlight will surely be the hundredth anniversary screening of Charlie Chaplin’s dramatic silent feature A Woman of Paris. Chaplin himself appears only briefly as a porter in a train station in this story of a woman torn between the man she loves and the man who keeps her in fine clothes and jewelry—but he did compose the score.

The program will open with Naked Lunch, David Cronenberg’s 1991 adaptation of William S. Burroughs’s 1959 novel. The writer’s influence on the director “was like a neurological connection,” wrote Chris Rodley in 2013. “Beyond its startling language and literary form, beyond its ‘forbidden’ subject matter and obsessions (and sympathetic reaction to the repressive era in which it was written), the work spoke most immediately to Cronenberg’s viscera. More an infection than an influence.”

Other Berlinale Classics titles include Kozaburo Yoshimura’s Undercurrent (1956), Nanni Moretti’s Sweet Dreams (1981), and Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), starring Sidney Poitier. The Berlinale has also announced the lineup for Perspektive Deutsches Kino, the festival’s showcase of up-and-coming German talent. The seventy-third edition will run from February 16 through 26.

In the meantime, Sundance 2023 is just a little over a week away now, opening on January 19 and running through the 29th. Last week, the festival added nine films to its lineup, five of them world premieres and four of them awardwinners from previous editions. Eve Hewson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in Flora and Son from John Carney (Once, Sing Street), and Peter Nicks’s Stephen Curry: Underrated, a documentary on the four-time NBA champion player, is produced by Ryan Coogler. Among the speakers the festival has lined up for live talks are Barry Jenkins, Sophie Barthes, Dakota Johnson, Marlee Matlin, Jonathan Majors, and Adrian Tomine.

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