The 71st Berlin International Film Festival unveils its program this week, with the Generation and Retrospective sections kicking off proceedings today.
A total of 15 films are selected across the two youth-focused Generation competitions – Kplus and 14plus. Of the titles chosen, 60% are directed by female directors. Scroll down for the full list.
The movies come from the likes of Canada, China, and Korea. There are eight world premieres and six debuts. Films arriving from other festivals include the animation Cryptozoo, which was at Sundance and features Lake Bell and Michael Cera in its voice cast.
The 2021 Retrospective program will focus on the comedic work of three actresses – Mae West, Rosalind Russell, and Carole Lombard during the era when the Motion Picture Production Code (“Hays Code”) was coming into effect. There are 27 films in total, released between 1932 and 1943. They are also listed below.
Buyers will get the chance to view these movies during the virtual EFM, which runs March 1-5. Juries will also be appointed to decide on the festival’s awards during this period. Audiences will hopefully have a chance to see the movies in cinemas during a planned summer event in June.
by Tracey Deer
with Kiawentiio, Rainbow Dickerson, Violah Beauvais, Paulina Alexis
All of a sudden, racism becomes a cruel reality in the life of twelve-year-old Beans, whose real name is Tekahentahkhwa. The Mohawk-First Nations community to which she belongs is being threatened by white supremacists. Beans learns valuable lessons about defending both her own and her people’s rights, from her family as well as some tough new friends. The film is based on the director’s childhood memories of the 1990 Oka crisis in Québec.
Ensilumi (Any Day Now)
by Hamy Ramezan
with Aran–Sina Keshvari, Shahab Hosseini, Shabnam Ghorbani, Kimiya Eskandari
The asylum application of the Mehdipour family has been rejected; Ramin (13), his little sister and their parents can be deported by the Finnish authorities at any time. Despite their precarious situation as refugees, their everyday life is rich in loving family rituals, humour, and – for teenager Ramin – exciting discoveries along the way to growing up.
Han Nan Xia Ri (Summer Blur)
People’s Republic of China
by Han Shuai
with Gong Beibi, Huang Tian, Zhang Xinyuan, Yan Xingyue
Guo’s face is veiled in a delicate layer of wistfulness. She has to spend the summer alone in Wuhan with her aunt, who lives in poor conditions, while her mother leads a dazzling life in Shanghai. Being on the cusp of becoming a teenager, a terrible secret, the longing for love and safety and the fear of being abandoned are Guo’s constant companions.
Jong chak yeok (Short Vacation)
Republic of Korea
by Kwon Min-pyo, Seo Hansol
with Seol Si-yeon, Bae Yeon-woo, Park So-jung, Han Song-hee
*International premiere / Debut film
What do you look for when you are supposed to take a photo of the end of the world? Together, four school friends journey to explore the unknown outskirts of the big city of Seoul, equipped with an old-fashioned analogue camera and a film that only has 27 pictures. The task sharpens their view of the familiar and opens their eyes to themselves and each other.
Last Days at Sea
Philippines / Taiwan
by Venice Atienza
*World premiere / Documentary form / Debut film
Reyboy’s world is the sparkling ocean, the hidden treasures on the long coast, the taste of honey rice. The filmmaker accompanies the Filipino boy in his fishing village by the sea as his life is about to change forever. A profound dialogue in thoughts and images about the beauty of the little things and saying goodbye.
Mission Ulja Funk
Germany / Luxemburg / Poland
by Barbara Kronenberg
with Romy Lou Janinhoff, Jonas Oeßel, Hildegard Schroedter, Luc Feit
*World premiere / Debut film
Ulja (12) is an energetic, clever researcher who is never at a loss for a good saying. She does not want to miss the arrival of the asteroid she discovered. With her parents’ hearse, her accomplice Henk of the same age as the driver and her Russian-German grandmother in the back, a fast-paced road movie towards Belarus starts – always following the stars.
Nelly Rapp – Monster Agent
by Amanda Adolfsson
with Matilda Gross, Lily Wahlsteen, Marianne Mörck, Johan Rheborg
Nelly wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps, as a monster agent. When she visits her uncle Hannibal, the door opens up to a hidden parallel world full of ghosts, monsters and Frankensteiners. But who should actually be regarded as a monster and which side will Nelly decide to take as an agent? The film is based on the successful Swedish children’s book series by the author Martin Widmark.
Una escuela en Cerro Hueso (A School in Cerro Hueso)
by Betania Cappato
with Mara Bestelli, Pablo Seijo, Clementina Folmer, Irene Zequin
After numerous rejections, Ema’s parents finally find a safe place for their daughter who has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In the loving community of the new primary school in the small town on the river, Ema can silently observe and explore the world at her own pace. The film gently follows Ema’s small steps that evolve into magical moments.
by Dash Shaw
with Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Zoe Kazan, Louisa Krause, Angeliki Papoulia
*International premiere / Animation
In an opulent fantasy world, humans fight for the existence of threatened and threatening creatures. In the style of psychedelic underground comics, filmmaker and comic artist Dash Shaw has designed a wild trip in which marginalisation, social diversity, species protection and the power of the imagination all play a role.
Republic of Korea
by Jéro Yun
with Lim Seong-mi, Baek Seo-bin, Oh Kwang-rok, Lee Seung-yeon
As a North Korean in exile, Jina has no choice but to literally box her way through. With gentle force, she begins to stubbornly rebel against the everyday injustices which she experiences as an outsider from a disreputable country. While she has become accustomed to harshness, feelings such as tenderness or security are new to her. Her personal struggle on the way to recognition goes far beyond the boxing ring.
From the Wild Sea
by Robin Petré
*World premiere / Documentary form / Debut film
Weather conditions are becoming more extreme. A giant, stranded whale, seals with plastic in their bodies, oil-coated swans and dolphins that have been rammed by ships – these patients require emergency medical care. The director portrays the critical relationship between humans and wild animals and the consequences of climate change, in profound documental images which are more impactful than any explanation.
La Mif (The Fam)
by Fred Baillif
with Claudia Grob, Anaïs Uldry, Kassia Da Costa, Joyce Esther Ndayisenga, Charlie Areddy, Amélie Tonsi, Amandine Golay, Sara Tulu
Told episodically and bordering between the fictional and the documental, the film intimately interweaves the life stories of young women who no longer have a real home with their own families. They are given refuge in a temporary youth home, where they and their carers bond to form a new family. The Fam is a safe haven for wounded protagonists who do not spare themselves or others.
by Yngvild Sve Flikke
with Kristine Kujath Thorp, Arthur Berning, Nader Khademi, Tora Dietrichson
A baby has lodged itself unnoticed in her stomach, and if there’s one thing that Rakel knows: She doesn’t want it. The life-hungry young woman has a blooming imagination and spends time illustrating her everyday life. Hence, the Ninjababy appears as a comic figure which accompanies Rakel through the madness that is called growing up.
by Kateryna Gornostai
with Maria Fedorchenko, Arsenii Markov, Yana Isaienko, Oleksandr Ivanov
*World premiere / Debut film
Hanging out with friends, smoking a lot, spinning bottles and kissing, making mistakes, playing, refusing to accept, dreaming with open eyes – life as a teenager can be overwhelmingly beautiful and difficult at the same time. In her debut, the Ukrainian director composes a deeply emotional and multi-layered portrait of a generation whilst seamlessly flowing between the fictional and the documental.
Tabija (The White Fortress)
Canada / Bosnia and Herzegovina
by Igor Drljača
with Pavle Čemerikić, Sumeja Dardagan, Jasmin Geljo, Kerim Čutuna
What could be a beautiful fairy tale for some – boy meets girl – could also be the beginning of a horror film for Faruk. The young man is crushed between the dark world of his criminal cousins in Sarajevo and the discovery of love. The film powerfully visualises and contrasts a harshness and tenderness experienced and dreamed.
Films in the Retrospective (in chronological order)
Night After Night, USA 1932, by Archie Mayo
with George Raft, Constance Cummings, Wynne Gibson, Mae West
No Man of Her Own, USA 1932, by Wesley Ruggles
with Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Dorothy Mackaill, Grant Mitchell
I’m No Angel, USA 1933, by Wesley Ruggles
with Mae West, Cary Grant, Gregory Ratoff, Edward Arnold
She Done Him Wrong, USA 1933, by Lowell Sherman
with Mae West, Cary Grant, Owen Moore, Gilbert Roland
Belle of the Nineties, USA 1934, by Leo McCarey
with Mae West, Roger Pryor, Johnny Mack Brown, John Miljan
Lady by Choice, USA 1934, by David Burton
with Carole Lombard, May Robson, Roger Pryor, Walter Connolly
Twentieth Century, USA 1934, by Howard Hawks
with John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns
Goin’ to Town, USA 1935, by Alexander Hall
with Mae West, Paul Cavanagh, Gilbert Emery, Marjorie Gateson
Hands Across the Table, USA 1935, by Mitchell Leisen
with Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, Ralph Bellamy, Astrid Allwyn
Go West Young Man, USA 1936, by Henry Hathaway
with Mae West, Warren William, Randolph Scott, Alice Brady
Klondike Annie, USA 1936, by Raoul Walsh
with Mae West, Victor McLaglen, Philip Reed, Helen Jerome Eddy
My Man Godfrey, USA 1936, by Gregory La Cava
with William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick
Nothing Sacred, USA 1937, by William A. Wellmann
with Carole Lombard, Frederic March, Charles Winniger, Walter Connolly
True Confession, USA 1937, by Wesley Ruggles
with Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, John Barrymore, Una Merkel
Every Day’s a Holiday, USA 1938, by A. Edward Sutherland
with Mae West, Edmund Lowe, Charles Butterworth, Charles Winninger
Four’s a Crowd, USA 1938, by Michael Curtiz
with Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Rosalind Russell, Patric Knowles
The Women, USA 1939, by George Cukor
with Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland
Hired Wife, USA 1940, by William A. Seiter
with Rosalind Russell, Brian Aherne, Virginia Bruce, Robert Benchley
His Girl Friday, USA 1940, by Howard Hawks
with Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart
My Little Chickadee, USA 1940, by Edward F. Cline
with Mae West, W. C. Fields, Joseph Calleia, Dick Foran
Design for Scandal, USA 1941, by Norman Taurog
with Rosalind Russell, Walter Pidgeon, Edward Arnold, Lee Bowman
Mr. & Mrs. Smith, USA 1941, by Alfred Hitchcock
with Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, Gene Raymond, Jack Carson
This Thing Called Love, USA 1941, by Alexander Hall
with Rosalind Russell, Melvyn Douglas, Binnie Barnes, Allyn Joslyn
My Sister Eileen, USA 1942, by Alexander Hall
with Rosalind Russell, Brian Aherne, Janet Blair, George Tobias
Take a Letter, Darling, USA 1942, by Mitchell Leisen
with Rosalind Russell, Fred MacMurray, Macdonald Carey, Constance Moore
To Be or Not to Be, USA 1942, by Ernst Lubitsch
with Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart
What a Woman!, USA 1943, by Irving Cummings
with Rosalind Russell, Brian Aherne, Willard Parker, Alan Dinehart
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