The Sensitive Male – More Films
Indignation, the directing debut of James Schamus, one of the USA’s most important independent producers and Jury President of the Berlinale International Jury in 2014, is based on Philip Roth’s novel of the same name. In his productions, Schamus has recurrently demonstrated a special sense for so-called outsiders who try to defy societal structures. In Indignation, a young student (Logan Lerman) champions his moral and political ideals in fierce debates with the dean of his college at a time when the Korean War has started to undermine the still youthful and brash confidence of US citizens.
How well-suited initiation rites are for breaking a young man’s spirit can be seen in Andrew Neel’s Goat. No details have been left out in depicting the traumatic experiences of college years in this work based on a script by David Gordon Green. Set in the present, it gives – along with the above-mentioned film Indignation – a picture of decades of systematic dehumanization such as found at US educational institutions and shows how these have worked towards maintaining the white status quo. The film has been produced by Christine Vachon and James Franco.
Little Men by Ira Sachs portrays one of life’s first hard-hitting experiences of finiteness: the end of a childhood friendship – that had existed outside time and space. In present-day Brooklyn the laws of gentrification not only divide social classes but also damage young people’s capacity to bond. After successfully showing Keep the Lights On (Teddy Award 2012) and Love Is Strange (2014) in the Panorama, Ira Sachs will present his latest work in Cross-Section with Berlinale’s Generation section.
Following the success of his first film, Harmony Lessons (Berlinale Competition 2013), Emir Baigazin reveals in Ranenyy Angel (The Wounded Angel) the states of mind of teenagers growing up in Kazakhstan in an era of extreme upheaval. The second part of a visually stunning trilogy about young people and their complex relationship to a world without consistent morals.
Grand master Wayne Wang, who last contributed two films - Smoke and Blue in the Face - to the Competition in 1995, elegantly depicts a Japanese author on holiday, whose ability to write comes and goes with the somnambular kisses of his muse, a rather dangerous lady. Takeshi Kitano plays (under his artist name Beat Takeshi) in While the Women Are Sleeping, which has been adapted from a short story by Javier Marias.
Lantouri is the name of a gang that robs people in the streets of Tehran and breaks into homes in the city’s rich northern districts. In Reza Dormishian’s earlier work, I’m Not Angry (Panorama 2014), the sense of rage felt by this generation had informed the rhythm of the editing; and their restlessness and lust for life, the visuals. In Lantouri, his most recent film, Dormishian once again takes a radical look at social and societal injustices.
Two German Fictional Films Confirmed to Date
Doris Dörrie, who also wrote the script for Grüße aus Fukushima (Fukushima, mon Amour), has returned to Japan after Kirschblüten – Hanami (Cherry Blossoms – Hanami; Competition 2008). A young German woman who wants to escape her own problems makes friends with an elderly geisha in the restricted zone of Fukushima. In this universal drama the two women have to learn to free themselves from the prisons of their own minds.
In Jonathan, Piotr J. Lewandowski’s debut film, the duties of a young farmer weigh heavily upon him. Besides working the farm, he diligently cares for his father who is seriously ill. This leaves little room for love. When his father’s boyhood friend suddenly shows up, long repressed and suppressed family secrets come to the surface and broaden Jonathan’s view of the world.
Men in Crisis in Austria and Switzerland
In Aloys by Swiss director Tobias Nölle, Georg Friedrich plays a son who is a chip off the old block: laid out before him is his father’s corpse - it will be lonely in their detective agency that was so clearly conceived for just the two of them. Routine surveillances suddenly turn out to be traps and text messages are sent from the coffin – Aloys’s sense of security begins to unravel…
Last, not least comes a highly sensitive study from Austria about trust and what happens when the very foundations of our relationships start to crack: in Kater (Tomcat) by Händl Klaus, Stefan stumbles from crisis to crisis, while Andreas has to work out feelings of estrangement. He seems to succeed, for what binds the two is an enduring love – can this be? It would merely be a reactionary cliché if it were not so…
Mantas Kvedaravicius left a strong impression with Barzakh, his cinematic essay on Russia’s conflict in Chechnya in the Panorama 2011. Now he is back with Mariupolis: everyday life is defined by bomb threats in Mariupol, a city in the Ukraine, situated to the east of the Crimea and once populated by Greeks. It is a visually powerful homage to a city in crisis, dedicated to its poets and shoemakers.
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures is the compelling attempt of directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato to approach this photographer who was chronicler and promoter, provocateur, augur and entertainer of the creative golden era in New York of the 1970s and 1980s. Mapplethorpe died from AIDS in 1989. Bailey and Barbato also presented Inside Deep Throat and Party Monster in the Panorama.
Uncle Howard by Aaron Brookner reflects the filmmaker’s desire to preserve the legacy of his uncle who succumbed to AIDS at the age of 34, and leads to the discovery of an astounding archive that documents the cultural revolution of the 1970s and 1980s. It is also a reunion with a who’s who of past Panorama programmes: with Andrew Horn, Jakob Burckhardt, John Waters, Madonna, as well as Spike Lee, Jim Jarmusch, Sara Driver, Tom DiCillo, Brad Gooch, Robert Wilson, William S Burroughs und Frederic Mitterand.
Der Ost-Komplex (The GDR Complex) by Jochen Hick portrays Mario Röllig, a former citizen of the GDR and victim of events who was arrested in Hungary in 1987 for “attempting to flee the Republic”. Today he gives lectures about his experiences during his imprisonment. In confrontations with sympathisers of the former GDR, who accuse Röllig of being biased and distorting history, it becomes quite apparent that the struggle for who has the say in interpreting the history of the GDR is highly subjective, taboo-ridden and loaded with trauma.
Special Teddy Award for Producer Christine Vachon at Anniversary Edition
With her company, Killer Films, Christine Vachon has been producing movies for over 20 years. Without these works both queer and US-independent cinema would be hard to imagine – a dozen of these films have been shown in Berlinale programmes. In the early 1980s, as a student at Brown University, she met Todd Haynes, whose debut film, Poison (Teddy Award 1991), became the first feature film she produced. Ever since they have been an effective team. Vachon also produced the Academy Award-winning films Boys Don’t Cry (Best Actress, Hilary Swank 2000) and Still Alice (Best Actress, Julianne Moore 2015); and last year, once more for Todd Haynes, Carol with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Christine Vachon will be honoured with the Special Teddy at this year’s award ceremony. She will be a guest of the Queer Academy Summit and present, as part of the Teddy30 anniversary programme, the Killer Films production Hedwig and the Angry Inch by John Cameron Mitchell, which won the Teddy Award in 2001.
Aloys – Swiss / France
By Tobias Nölle
With Georg Friedrich, Tilde von Overbeck
El rey del Once (The Tenth Man) - Argentina
By Daniel Burman
With Alan Sabbagh, Julieta Zylberberg, Usher Barilka, Elvira Onetto
Goat - USA
By Andrew Neel
With Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, James Franco
Grüße aus Fukushima (Fukushima, mon Amour) - Germany
By Doris Dörrie
With Rosalie Thomass, Kaori Momoi
Indignation - USA
By James Schamus
With Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon
International premiere – debut
Jonathan - Germany
By Piotr J. Lewandowski
With Jannis Niewöhner, André Hennicke, Julia Koschitz, Thomas Sarbacher, Barbara Auer
World premiere – debut
Kater (Tomcat) - Austria
By Händl Klaus
With Lukas Turtur, Philipp Hochmair
La helada negra (The Black Frost) - Argentina
By Maximiliano Schonfeld
With Ailín Salas, Lucas Schell, Benigno Lell
Lantouri - Iran
By Reza Dormishian
With Navid Mohammadzadeh, Maryam Palizban, Baran Kosari
Little Men – USA
By Ira Sachs
With Jennifer Ehle, Greg Kinnear, Paulina Garcia, Alfred Molina
Ranenyy Angel (The Wounded Angel) – Kazakhstan / France / Germany
By Emir Baigazin
With Nurlybek Saktaganov, Madiar Aripbai, Madiar Nazarov, Omar Adilov
While the Women Are Sleeping - Japan
By Wayne Wang
With Beat Takeshi, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Shioli Kutsuna, Sayuri Oyamada, Lily Franky
Der Ost-Komplex (The GDR Complex) - Germany
By Jochen Hick
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures – USA / Germany
By Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
With Edward Mapplethorpe, Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, Gloria von Thurn und Taxis
Mariupolis – Lithuania / Germany / France / Ukraine
By Mantas Kvedaravicius
Uncle Howard – United Kingdom / USA
By Aaron Brookner
With Jim Jarmusch, Sara Driver, Tom DiCillo, Brad Gooch, Robert Wilson, William S Burroughs, Frederic Mitterand
January 14, 2016