The Greek film I aionia epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeua (The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas) by Elina Psykou employs the grotesque as a stylistic device to tell of downfalls and uncertainty. A television presenter who senses that his star is on the wane fakes his own abduction and holes up in an abandoned luxury hotel. His surreal fate becomes a commentary on the current state of the country. The two other Greek films in this year’s programme draw on strikingly different stylistic devices to explore the same theme: I kóri (The Daughter) by Thanos Anastopoulos tells the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who resorts to drastic measures to help her father out of a financial bind. And Sto lyko (To the Wolf) by Christina Koutsospyrou and Aran Hughes is a hybrid of fiction and documentary, which makes use of allegorical images to grapple with the bitter poverty spreading throughout Europe’s core.
The Spanish film La plaga (The Plague) by Neus Ballús also lies somewhere between documentary and fiction. Ballús’ directorial debut observes five people of different origins on the outskirts of the metropolis of Barcelona, all of whom are struggling desperately for their survival.
The Forum programme includes four German films this year, each of them fresh, unusual, and original examples of an extremely diverse filmmaking scene. Ramon Zürcher’s debut Das merkwürdige Kätzchen (The Strange Little Cat) traces the course of a family gathering in a Berlin flat in summer, celebrating the choreography of everyday life with a keen eye for framings, details and gestures. In Nicolas Wackerbarth’s Halbschatten (Everyday Objects), a woman follows her lover’s invitation to the South of France, yet it is only his children she finds in his bungalow there. Their wariness towards her and her attempts to engage with them set the tone for the following days of waiting and uncertainty. Echolot focuses on the social interactions within a large group of friends, who have got together in a house in the countryside following the suicide of one of their number. Athanasios Karanikolas’ fiction debut captures the atmosphere of the gathering as it gradually slips out of control. Marcin Malaszczak moves between fictional staging and documentary representation in Sieniawka, which allows past, present and future to coalesce in a dilapidated mental asylum and a landscape scarred by coal mining: a lyrical portrait of post-socialist reality between Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany.
Daniel Joseph Borgman’s feature debut The Weight of Elephants is a Danish–New Zealand co-production. It tells the story of a ten-year-old boy who sees the world in a playful, dreamy manner and uses his imagination to escape the harshness of everyday life in small town New Zealand.
The three narrative features from the United States in this year’s programme are also set outside big urban centres. In A Single Shot by David M. Rosenthal, starring Sam Rockwell and William H. Macy, attempts to cover-up a hunting accident soon degenerate into a never-ending nightmare. Andrew Bujalski catapults the viewer back into the 1980s both aesthetically and thematically in Computer Chess, in which a chess programmers’ convention in a provincial hotel quickly gets out of hand. And Matt Porterfield’s I Used to be Darker is about a young woman from Northern Ireland whose struggles with love lead her to seek refuge with relatives on the east coast of the United States.
The 43rd Berlinale Forum is showing a total of 41 films in the main programme, 22 of which are world premieres and 10 international premieres. This year’s Special Screenings will be announced in a separate press release.
Die 727 Tage ohne Karamo (The 727 Days without Karamo) by Anja Salomonowitz, Austria – WP
A Single Shot by David M. Rosenthal, USA/United Kingdom/Canada – WP
Al-khoroug lel-nahar (Coming Forth by Day) by Hala Lotfy, Egypt
A batalha de Tabatô (The Battle of Tabatô) by João Viana, Guinea-Bissau/Portugal – WP
Computer Chess by Andrew Bujalski, USA – IP
Echolot by Athanasios Karanikolas, Germany – WP
Elelwani by Ntshavheni Wa Luruli, South Africa – IP
Fahtum pandinsoong (Boundary) by Nontawat Numbenchapol, Thailand/Cambodia – WP
Fynbos by Harry Patramanis, South Africa/Greece – IP
Grzeli nateli dgeebi (In Bloom) by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß, Georgia/Germany – WP
Halbschatten (Everyday Objects) by Nicolas Wackerbarth, Germany/France – WP
Hélio Oiticica by Cesar Oiticia Filho, Brazil – IP
I aionia epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeua (The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas) by Elina Psykou, Greece – WP
I kóri (The Daughter) by Thanos Anastopoulos, Greece/Italy – IP
I Used to Be Darker by Matt Porterfield, USA – IP
Je ne suis pas mort (I’m Not Dead) by Mehdi Ben Attia, France – IP
Krugovi (Circles) by Srdan Golubović, Serbia/Germany
Kujira no machi (The Town of Whales) by Keiko Tsuruoka, Japan
Lamma shoftak (When I Saw You) by Annemarie Jacir, Palestinian Territories/Jordan
Matar extraños (Killing Strangers) by Jacob Secher Schulsinger, Nicolás Pereda, Mexico/Denmark – WP
Materia oscura (Dark Matter) by Massimo D’Anolfi and Martina Parenti, Italy – WP
Das merkwürdige Kätzchen (The Strange Little Cat) by Ramon Zürcher, Germany – WP
Le météore (The Meteor) by François Delisle, Canada
Mo sheng (Forgetting to Know You) by Quan Ling, People’s Republic of China – WP
…Moddhikhane Char (Char... The No Man’s Island) by Sourav Sarangi, India
Obrana i zaštita (A Stranger) by Bobo Jelčić, Croatia/Bosnia Herzegovina – WP
La Paz by Santiago Loza, Argentina – WP
La plaga (The Plague) by Neus Ballús, Spain – WP
Powerless by Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar, India – WP
Sakura namiki no mankai no shita ni (Cold Bloom) by Atsushi Funahashi, Japan
Senzo ni naru (Roots) by Kaoru Ikeya, Japan – WP
Shirley – Visions of Reality by Gustav Deutsch, Austria – WP
Sieniawka by Marcin Malaszczak, Germany/Poland – WP
Stemple Pass by James Benning, USA – IP
Sto lyko (To the Wolf) by Christina Koutsospyrou and Aran Hughes, Greece/France – WP
Terra de ninguém (No Man's Land) by Salomé Lamas, Portugal – IP
Tian mi mi (Together) by Hsu Chao-jen, Taiwan
Vaters Garten – Die Liebe meiner Eltern (Father's Garden - The Love of My Parents) by Peter Liechti, Switzerland – WP
Viola by Matías Piñeiro, Argentina
The Weight of Elephants by Daniel Joseph Borgman, New Zealand/Denmark – WP
Za Marksa... (For Marx...) by Svetlana Baskova, Russia – IP
(WP = World Premiere, IP = International Premiere)
January 16, 2013