The Berlinale continues to unveil its lineup, today announcing films selected for its Forum category: an independent section of the festival, organized by Arsenal — Institute for Film and Video Art, celebrating its 50th anniversary.
This intermeshing of old and new runs throughout the selection. The category offers challenging and thought-provoking films that bring together cinema with the visual arts, theatre and literature. Many of the 35 films in this year's program — 28 of which are world premieres — are distinguished by how they navigate between past and present.
Included in the selection is late Chilean director Raúl Ruiz and his widow Valeria Sarmientos’ “The Tango of the Widower and Its Distorting Mirror,” which opens this year's Forum. Ruiz, who died in 2011, shot the material in Chile in 1967, but was unable to complete it before going into exile in 1973. His widow Sarmiento has now transformed the footage into a finished film.
The film would’ve been a then-27-year-old Ruiz’s debut feature, were it completed in 1967, but he was forced to abandon the project due to lack of post-production funding.
Per his own synopsis, the film follows “a man whose wife has committed suicide and appears to him as a ghost. The ghost follows him everywhere… After seeing the ghost so frequently, the man begins to resemble her, becoming more and more feminine, in a spiral in which we discover that he was never really married, and that what is really going on is his personality doubling and a schizophrenic game.”
According to production notes, Sarmiento used Ruiz’s handwritten notebooks to understand the film’s structure.
Soviet cinema classics such as the late Aleksandr Medvedkin’s “Schastye” “Happiness”, and key feminist works like “The Woman's Film” by the Newsreel Group, and documentaries about the American civil rights movement “The Murder of Fred Hampton” by Howard Alk will screen alongside radical features like “Ostia “by Sergio Citti, and “Gishiki” “The Ceremony” by Nagisa Ōshima.
The 70th Berlin International Film Festival will begin on Thursday, February 20, 2020 and end Sunday, March 1.
The full lineup follows:
“Anne at 13,000 ft” Canada / USA by Kazik Radwanski European premiere
“Anunciaron tormenta” “A Storm Was Coming” Spain by Javier Fernández Vázquez World premiere
“Chico ventana también quisiera tener un submarino” “Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine” Uruguay / Argentina / Brazil / Netherlands / Philippines by Alex Piperno World premiere
“Entre perro y lobo” Cuba / Spain by Irene Gutiérrez World premiere
“Eyimofe” “This Is My Desire” Nigeria / USA by Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri World premiere
“FREM” Czech Republic / Slovakia by Viera Čákanyová International premiere
“Generations” USA by Lynne Siefert World premiere
“Gli appunti di Anna Azzori” / “Uno specchio che viaggia nel tempo” “The Notes of Anna Azzori” / A Mirror that Travels through Time” Austria / Germany / France by Constanze Ruhm World premiere
“Gorod usnul” “In Deep Sleep” Russian Federation by Maria Ignatenko World premiere
“Grève ou crève” Strike or Die France by Jonathan Rescigno World premiere
“Ieşirea trenurilor din gară” “The Exit of the Trains Romania by Radu Jude, Adrian Cioflâncă World premiere
“Kama fissamaa’ kathalika ala al-ard” “As Above So Below” Lebanon by Sarah Francis World premiere
“Kunst kommt aus dem Schnabel wie er gewachsen ist” “Art Comes from the Beak the Way It Has Grown” Germany by Sabine Herpich World premiere
“La casa dell'amore” “The House of Love” Italy by Luca Ferri World premiere
Lúa vermella” “Red Moon Tide” Spain by Lois Patiño World premiere
“Luz nos trópicos” “Light in the Tropics” Brazil by Paula Gaitán World premiere
“Maggie's Farm” USA by James Benning World premiere
“Medium” Argentina by Edgardo Cozarinsky World premiere
“Namo” “The Alien” Iran by Nader Saeivar World premiere
“Oeconomia” Germany by Carmen Losmann World premiere
“Ouvertures” United Kingdom / France by The Living and the Dead Ensemble World premiere
“Petit Samedi” Belgium by Paola Sermon-Daï World premiere
“Ping jing” “The Calming” China by Song Fang World premiere
“Responsabilidad empresarial” “Corporate Accountability” Argentina’ by Jonathan Perel World premiere
“Seishin 0” “Zero” Japan / USA by Kazuhiro Soda European premiere
“El Tango Del Viudo y su espejo deformante” “The Tango of the Widower and Its Distorting Mirror” Chile by Raúl Ruiz, Valeria Sarmiento World premiere
“Tipografic majuscul” “Uppercase Print” Romania by Radu Jude International premiere
“Traverser” “After the Crossing” France / Burkina Faso / Belgium by Joël Richmond Mathieu Akafou World premiere
“The Twentieth Century” Canada by Matthew Rankin European premiere
“The Two Sights” Canada / United Kingdom by Joshua Bonnetta World premiere
“Victoria” Belgium by Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere World premiere
“The Viewing Booth” Israel / USA by Ra'anan Alexandrowicz International premiere
Vil, má Divinely Evil Brazil by Gustavo Vinagre World premiere
“Was bleibt I Šta ostaje” I “What remains” I “Re-visited” Germany / Austria / Bosnia and Herzegovina by Clarissa Thieme World premiere
“Zeus Machine. L'invincibile” “Zeus Machine. The Invincible” Italy by Nadia Ranocchi, David Zamagni International premiere
The updated version of the German literary classic picked up 11 nominations, followed by 'System Crasher' with 10.
Burhan Qurbani's Berlin Alexanderplatz, a modern-day adaptation of the 1930s-set literary classic, is the front runner for this year's German Film Awards, the Lolas, having picked up 11 nominations, including for best film. Berlin Alexanderplatz premiered at this year's Berlin International Film Festival.
Right behind it in the running for the 2020 Lolas is Nora Fingscheidt's social drama System Crasher, a hit at last year's Berlinale, with 10 nominations including for best film.
Qurbani was also nominated as best director for Berlin Alexanderplatz and for best screenplay together with co-writer Martin Behnke. The films' stars Welket Bungué and Jella Haase were nominated in the best actor and best supporting actress categories, respectively.
Albrecht Schuch picked up both a best actor nomination for his role in System Crasher, where he plays a group home worker assigned to a troubled pre-teen, and a best supporting nomination for Berlin Alexanderplatz, where he plays a drug dealer.
Alongside Qurbani and Fingscheidt, Ilker Catak is a best director contender for his romantic drama I Was, I Am, I Will Be, which picked up five Lola nominations, including for best film and a best actress nom for star Anne Ratte-Polle.
Christian Petzold's Undine, another Berlin Festival premiere, and Hermine Huntgeburth's musical biopic Lindberg! Mach dein Ding are also up for the best film Lola.
The 2020 German Film Awards are set to be handed out in Berlin on April 24.