Berlin Competition Lineup Revealed: Daniel Bruhl, Celine Sciamma, Radu Jude, Hong Sangsoo

Actor Daniel Bruhl’s directorial debut and new titles from Radu Jude, Celine Sciamma, Hong Sangsoo and Xavier Beauvois are among the 15 competition titles in the Berlin Film Festival, all of which were revealed Thursday.

Five of the titles are from female filmmakers (some of whom are co-directors on titles), on par with last year’s competition, when six of the 18 competition titles were helmed by women.

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The festival also revealed the 11 titles in the Berlinale Special strand.

Festival executive director Mariette Rissenbeek introduced the format of this year’s festival, after which artistic director Carlo Chatrian presented the films selected.

As first revealed by Variety, the festival’s 71st edition will take place in two stages. Industry platforms European Film Market, Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and the World Cinema Fund will be online March 1-5. Meanwhile, June 9-20 will see a physical summer public event, pandemic permitting.

Explaining the rationale, Rissenbeek said during her introduction: “We knew that, after many months of the pandemic and the closure of the cinemas, a vast number of filmmakers and dedicated people in the industry were urgently looking for a platform where they could continue their work.”

“With our digital edition for the film industry and the press in March, we want to offer a little taste of the celebrations in June when we can all meet again in the cinema – in compliance with the hygiene and social distancing rules that will apply at that time – to exchange ideas and enjoy the films on the big screen,” Rissenbeek added.

In recent days, the festival has revealed its Generation lineup, shorts selections, and the Encounter, Panorama and Perspektive Deutsches Kino choices.

Competition Titles

“Albatros” (Drift Away)
Country: France
Director: Xavier Beauvois
Cast: Jérémie Renier, Marie-Julie Maille, Victor Belmondo
Logline: Set in northern France, the film, which explores philosophical and existential questions, follows a police officer on a journey of self-discovery.

“Babardeală cu buclucsau porno balamuc” (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn)
Country: Romania/Luxemburg/Croatia/Czech Republic
Director: Radu Jude
Cast: Katia Pascariu, Claudia Ieremia, Olimpia Mălai
Logline: An irreverent, yet political film that takes a look at contemporary Romania seen through the filters of a revenge porn story.

“Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde” (Fabian – Going to the Dogs)
Country: Germany
Director: Dominik Graf
Cast: Tom Schilling, Saskia Rosendahl, Albrecht Schuch
Logline: Based on the well-known novel “Fabian: The Story of a Moralist,” by Erich Kästner, the coming-of-age film is a moral journey through time and space set during the end of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s.

“Ghasideyeh gave sefid” (Ballad of a White Cow)
Countries: Iran/France
Directors: Behtash Sanaeeha, Maryam Moghaddam
Cast: Maryam Moghaddam, Alireza Sanifar
Logline: Exploring themes of guilt and atonement, the film follows a woman whose husband has been unjustly executed in contemporary Iran.

“Guzen to sozo” (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy)
Country: Japan
Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Cast: Kotone Furukawa, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Fusako Urabe
Logline: A bittersweet tribute to women where the writing flows organically with the characters.

“Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse” (Mr Bachmann and His Class)
Country: Germany
Director: Maria Speth
Cast: Dieter Bachmann and pupils of class 6b
Logline: Filmed and edited over the last decade, this documentary is a tribute to a great teacher and looks at the classroom as a microcosm of society.

“Ich bin dein Mensch” (I’m Your Man)
Country: Germany
Director: Maria Schrader
Cast: Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller
Logline: This sci-fi film flips the traditional romantic comedy and features a Prince Charming who is not chosen by a woman, but designed to her taste.

“Inteurodeoksyeon” (Introduction)
Country: Republic of Korea
Director: Hong Sangsoo
Cast: Shin Seokho, Park Miso, Kim Minhee
Logline: Partly shot in Berlin, the film follows a young man who tries to find his way in the face of his parents’ wishes and impositions.

“Memory Box”
Countries: France/Lebanon/Canada/Qatar
Directors: Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige
Cast: Rim Turki, Manal Issa, Paloma Vauthier
Logline: Three generations of women who are relocated to Canada, deal with memories of their country of origin, Lebanon.

“Nebenan” (Next Door)
Country: Germany
Director: Daniel Brühl
Cast: Daniel Brühl, Peter Kurth
Logline: A tribute to the contradiction of Berlin in the 21st century, the film explores several characters, including a famous film actor and his neighbor, as their lives collide.

“Petite Maman”
Country: France
Director: Céline Sciamma
Cast: Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Nina Meurisse
Logline: The director returns to her pet themes of kids and rites of passage, shot through with magic realism.

Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt? (What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?)
Countries: Germany/Georgia
Director: Alexandre Koberidze
Cast: Ani Karseladze, Giorgi Bochorishvili, Vakhtang Fanchulidze
Logline: In Georgia, a young man and woman meet and are separated by destiny.

“Rengeteg – mindenhol látlak” (Forest – I See You Everywhere)
Country: Hungary
Director: Bence Fliegauf
Cast: Laura Podlovics, István Lénárt, Lilla Kizlinger, Zsolt Végh, László Cziffer, Juli Jakab, Ági Gubík
Logline: A sequel to Fliegauf’s 2003 Berlin title “Forest,” the Hungary-set film challenges physicality and shatters boundaries.

“Természetes fény” (Natural Light)
Countries: Hungary/Latvia/France/Germany
Director: Dénes Nagy
Cast: Ferenc Szabó, Tamás Garbacz, László Bajkó
Logline: An officer from the Hungarian army is ordered to scout an area where Russian partisans fight against the occupation of the Third Reich.

“Una Película de Policías” (A Cop Movie)
Country: Mexico
Director: Alonso Ruizpalacios
Cast: Mónica Del Carmen, Raúl Briones
Logline: Set on the mean streets of Mexico city, fiction and documentary intertwine in this portrayal of the life of a police officer.

Berlinale Special Titles

“Best Sellers”
Country: Canada/U.K.
Director: Lina Roessler
Cast: Michael Caine, Aubrey Plaza

Country: Germany
Director: Aliaksei Paluyan
Cast: Maryna Yakubovich, Pavel Haradnizky, Denis Tarasenka

“French Exit”
Countries: Canada/Ireland
Director: Azazel Jacobs
Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, Valerie Mahaffey, Imogen Poots

“Je suis Karl”
Countries: Germany/Czech Republic
Director: Christian Schwochow
Cast: Luna Wedler, Jannis Niewöhner, Milan Peschel

“Language Lessons”
Country: U.S.
Director: Natalie Morales
Cast: Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass, Desean Terry

Countries: Hong Kong/People’s Republic of China
Director: Cheang Soi
Cast: Lam Ka Tung, Liu Cya, Lee Mason, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi

“The Mauritanian”
Country: U.K.
Director Kevin Macdonald
Cast: Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch

“Per Lucio” (For Lucio)
Country: Italy
Director: Pietro Marcello
Cast: Lucio Dalla

Countries: Germany/Switzerland
Director: Tim Fehlbaum
Cast: Nora Arnezedar, Iain Glen, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina

Country: U.S.
Directors: Dan Lindsay, T. J. Martin
Cast: Tina Turner, Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey, Katori Hall

“Wer wir waren” (Who We Were)
Country: Germany
Director: Marc Bauder
Cast: Alexander Gerst, Sylvia Erle, Dennis Snower, Matthieu Ricard

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