Berlinale Special

Perspectives on Society

Omar Sy, Virginie Efira in Police (Night Shift) by Anne Fontaine

The wonderful parody of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Nutty Professor by Jerry Lewis, is a film that one never gets tired of watching. Perhaps because, even more than the original movie, it deals with fear and desire, feelings, which are not usually expressed openly.

The protagonists of Police, Anne Fontaine’s new film, with Omar Sy playing a dramatic role, are torn between desires and fears. Along with Sy, Virginie Efira and Grégory Gadebois complete a trio of policemen and -women who represent a fascinating cross-section of French society.

Persian Lessons accepts the challenge to take the audience to one of the darkest pages of recent history. It tells a story that faces the Holocaust from an unprecedented perspective: a prisoner avoids death by swearing that he is not Jewish, but Persian. His only way to survive in the camp is by teaching Farsi, a language he doesn’t know.
“Supported by the performances of Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and Lars Eidinger, Persian Lessons is a film that surprises by the strength and originality of its story, which is taken from something that actually happened in real life,” comments Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian.

The Berlinale Special programme includes in total 20 films that will be communicated until the end of January.

Berlinale Special Gala at Berlinale Palast

Persian Lessons
Russian Federation / Germany / Belarus
by Vadim Perelman
with Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Lars Eidinger, Jonas Nay, Leonie Benesch, Alexander Beyer, David Schütter, Luisa-Celine Gaffron
World premiere

Police (Night Shift)
by Anne Fontaine
with Omar Sy, Virginie Efira, Grégory Gadebois, Payman Maadi
World premiere

Berlinale Special at Haus der Berliner Festspiele

The Nutty Professor
USA 1963
by Jerry Lewis
with Jerry Lewis, Stella Stevens, Del Moore, Kathleen Freeman, Med Flory, Norman Alden
Screening on the occasion of the Deutsche Kinemathek receiving exclusive documents from the estate of Jerry Lewis, with behind-the-scenes footage being shown prior to the film. The film will be presented by Jerry Lewis’ son Chris Lewis.

As of January 23, 2020

Memory, Genre and Parable

Sa-nyang-eui-si-gan (Time to Hunt) by Yoon Sung-hyun

High Ground is a western that was developed in close collaboration with the Indigenous communities of Australia. It pays homage to a territory (now strongly compromised) and to the notion that places are filled with a soul. A new generation of actors led by Choi Woo-shik (admired in Parasite) shines in Sa-nyang-eui-si-gan (Time to Hunt), a film that follows the thriller tradition.

The Berlinale Special takes audiences on a journey around the world and gives memory a special role. Memory of a life, as in the case of Golda Maria, testimony of a survivor of deportations. The documentary The American Sector recounts the journey of the parts of the Berlin Wall, which have been scattered across the USA and have now become silent witnesses to recent history.

Based on Oleg Sentsov’s eponymous play, Nomera (Numbers) is a scathing dystopia and parable. From 2014 to 2019, Oleg Sentsov was Russia’s most famous political prisoner. He co-directed in collaboration with Akhtem Seitablaiev a film that fell out of time and was made under impossible circumstances and in complete isolation.

The Berlinale Special programme will include in total 20 films that will be communicated until the end of January.

Berlinale Special Gala at Friedrichstadt-Palast

High Ground
by Stephen Maxwell Johnson
with Simon Baker, Jacob Junior Nayinggul, Jack Thompson, Callan Mulvey, Witiyana Marika, Esmerelda Marimowa, Aaron Pedersen
World premiere

Sa-nyang-eui-si-gan (Time to Hunt)
Republic of Korea
by Yoon Sung-hyun
with Lee Je-hoon, Ahn Jae-hong, Choi Woo-shik, Park Jeong-min, Park Hae-soo
World premiere

Berlinale Special at Haus der Berliner Festspiele

The American Sector
by Courtney Stephens, Pacho Velez
World premiere / Documentary form

Golda Maria
by Patrick Sobelman, Hugo Sobelman
World premiere / Documentary form

Nomera (Numbers)
Ukraine / Poland / Czech Republic / France
by Oleg Sentsov in collaboration with Akhtem Seitablaiev
with Evhen Chernykov, Agatha Larionova, Oleksandr Begma, Maksym Devizorov, Iryna Mak

As of January 21, 2020

Multifaceted Programme

Ivan Trojan, Juraj Loj in Charlatan by Agnieszka Holland

“Agnieszka Holland and Johnny Depp – two cinema models meet, and not only tell of the past, but also create an interpretation of the present. This is also the case with Jia Zhang-ke and his dialogues with various generations of Chinese writers, and it is similarly so with Hillary Clinton, protagonist of the series of the same name, as is the case with the visionary elegy by Jóhann Jóhannsson,” comments Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian on the newly invited works in the Berlinale Special.

The Berlinale Special is the most multifaceted section of the festival, a space for reflection on what film encompasses. The variety of forms finds its home in different venues of the festival. Additional films will be added to the films already announced (see press release from December 17, 2019) until the end of January.

Berlinale Special Gala at Berlinale Palast

Czech Republic / Ireland / Poland / Slovakia
by Agnieszka Holland
with Ivan Trojan, Josef Trojan, Juraj Loj, Jaroslava Pokorná
World Premiere

Berlinale Special Gala at Friedrichstadt-Palast

United Kingdom
by Andrew Levitas
with Johnny Depp, Hiroyuki Sanada, Minami, Bill Nighy
World premiere

Berlinale Special at Haus der Berliner Festspiele

by Nanette Burstein
International premiere / Documentary series

Last and First Men
by Jóhann Jóhannsson
Narrated by Tilda Swinton
World premiere / Documentary form

Yi Zhi You Dao Hai Shui Bian Lan (Swimming Out Till The Sea Turns Blue)
People’s Republic of China
by Jia Zhang-ke
World premiere / Documentary form

As of January 14, 2020

Pinocchio as Berlinale Special Gala in the Berlinale Palast

Roberto Benigni in Pinocchio by Matteo Garrone

The new festival management, as represented by the Executive Director Mariette Rissenbeek and the Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian, has taken out the category “out of competition” which ran in the section Competition. As a result, non-competing films will be presented as part of the Berlinale Special Gala in the future. These presentations will take place in the Berlinale Palast or, as in the past, in the Friedrichstadt-Palast.

The first prominent guest of the Berlinale Special Gala will be director Matteo Garrone with Pinocchio, which will celebrate its festival premiere in the Berlinale Palast.

“Garrone succeeds in re-telling the well-known story with his very own world of images. Although he is faithful to Carlo Collodi's ideas, he has nevertheless created a very personal Pinocchio that is much more cheerful than we've experienced before,” comments Carlo Chatrian.

Italy / France
by Matteo Garrone
with Roberto Benigni
International Premiere

As of December 17, 2019