The 68th Berlinale
More than 80 new and recent documentaries are included in a lineup of nearly 250 features in Germany’s A-list event.
Once again, nonfiction is woefully under-represented in the Competition, with the sole documentary of two dozen titles being Markus Imhoof’s ELDORADO
, which explores the dark consequences of refugee aid efforts. Docs fare slightly better in the Berlinale Special, representing six of the nineteen offerings, including Murray Cummings’ SONGWRITER
, a portrait of musician Ed Sheeran’s creative process; and Ulli Lommel’s AMERICA LAND OF THE FREEKS
, which follows the prolific German filmmaker on a roadtrip across Trump’s America.
WHAT COMES AROUND
Nearly half of the Panorama strand is made up of documentaries, including: Reem Saleh’s WHAT COMES AROUND
, which profiles a Cairo collective community; Luiz Bolognesi’s EX SHAMAN
, about a Christian Amazonian native seeking to restore his people’s ways; Karim Aïnouz’s CENTRAL AIRPORT THF
, about the refugee community sheltered in Berlin’s Templehof Airport; Jan Gebert’s WHEN THE WAR COMES
, an inside look at a Slovak paramilitary training group; Leilah Weinraub’s SHAKEDOWN
, which revisits LA’s lesbian underground strip club scene of the early 2000s; Bojina Panayotova’s I SEE RED PEOPLE
, the director’s personal reckoning with her family’s past in Communist Bulgaria; Maria Augusta Ramos’ THE TRIAL
, about the political tumult that led to the impeachment of Brazil’s president; and Jordan Schiele’s THE SILK AND THE FLAME
, which follows gay man back to his family’s village in rural China.
Docs also figure heavily in the Forum, among them: Sergei Loznitsa’s VICTORY DAY
, a chronicle of the annual celebration of the Red Army’s defeat of the Nazis in Berlin; Kazuhiro Soda’s INLAND SEA
, a portrait of the vanishing culture of a small Japanese fishing village; Midi Z’s 14 APPLES
, which follows a businessman’s temporary stint as a Buddhist monk; Ruth Beckermann’s THE WALDHEIM WALTZ
, a revisitation of the controversy around Austrian diplomat Kurt Waldheim’s Nazi past; Alexander Abaturov’s THE SON
, following the training of Russian army recruits in Siberia; Brian M Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky’s INTERCHANGE
, a look at a Montreal roadway and those around it; Robert Fischer’s FILM BEYOND CINEMA: THE DUMPSTER KID EXPERIMENT AND OTHER UTOPIAS
, which explores legendary rediscovered film experiments by auteur Edgar Reitz; and Irene Lusztig’s YOURS IN SISTERHOOD
, which bridges issues relevant to feminism in the 1970s with today.
ESCAPE FROM RENTED ISLAND: THE LOST PARADISE OF JACK SMITH
Many of the feature-length pieces in the Forum Expanded are also nonfiction or hybrid in nature, including: Jerry Tartaglia’s ESCAPE FROM RENTED ISLAND: THE LOST PARADISE OF JACK SMITH
, an essay about the work of the iconic underground queer filmmaker; Ben Rivers and Ben Russell’s THE RARE EVENT
, ostensibly a chronicle of a philosophical forum of ideas; Adam Kaplan and Gilad Baram’s THE DISAPPEARED
, about a censored action film made by the Israeli Army; and Siska’s IN THE RUINS OF BAALBECK STUDIOS
, on Lebanon’s lost film archive.
WITHOUT THIS WORLD
German cinema is part of Perspektive Deutsches Kino, including Zita Erffa’s THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR LIFE
, about the filmmaker’s brother, a member of an ultraconservative religious order, and Nora Fingscheidt’s WITHOUT THIS WORLD
, a portrait of a German Mennonite community in Argentina; as well as the LOLA strand, which includes Gwendolin Weisser and Patrick Allgaier’s WEIT. THE STORY OF A JOURNEY AROUND THE WORLD
, about the filmmakers’ nearly four-year spontaneous travels, and Jakob Preuss’ WHEN PAUL CAME OVER THE SEA
, about the filmmaker’s relationship with a Cameroon refugee to Europe.
Additional programming strands include the youth-focused Generation, with Christy Garland’s WHAT WALAA WANTS
, about a young Palestinian woman’s dreams of becoming a police officer, and Janet van den Brand’s CERES
, which follows children of generational farmers; and food-focused Culinary Cinema, with Emily Railsback’s OUR BLOOD IS WINE
, on efforts to bring back ancient Georgian winemaking culture; Jacopo Quadri’s LORELLO E BRUNELLO
, about twin farmers struggling to care for their Tuscan estate; and Gilles de Maistre’s THE QUEST OF ALAIN DUCASSE
, an intimate look at the life of the celebrated French chef.