Berlin 2022: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 72nd Berlinale

Dates:
February 10-20

About:
This A-list international cinema event returns its public event to the winter after shifting last year’s festival to the summer, and presents approximately 40 documentaries among its more than 130 new feature films.

Among the offerings:
Competition:

EVERYTHING WILL BE OK
Director: Rithy Panh
This dense mnemonic essay, a 21st century dystopian fable that unfolds in magnificent dioramas, features animals enslaving humans and taking over the world.

Panorama:

DREAMING WALLS
Director: Amélie van Elmbt, Maya Duverdier
The end of an eight-year upmarket renovation of the legendary Chelsea Hotel is partly longed for and partly dreaded by the artists who still live there.

MYANMAR DIARIES
Director: The Myanmar Film Collective
After the military coup in February 2021, these film diaries of young opposition activists in Myanmar use the cinema screen to communicate with the world in a different way than TV news allows.

NELLY & NADINE
Director: Magnus Gertten
Nelly and Nadine meet in Ravensbrück concentration camp and spend the rest of their lives together – decades later, Nelly’s granddaughter goes in search of clues.

NO SIMPLE WAY HOME
Director: Akuol de Mabior
As her mother is sworn in as vice president of South Sudan, the filmmaker tries to find out if this country torn by civil war can ever become her home.

WE, STUDENTS!
Director: Rafiki Fariala
The filmmaker turns the camera on himself and his friends, capturing their everyday life as students of Bangui University in the Central African Republic.

Forum:

A FLOWER IN THE MOUTH
Director: Éric Baudelaire
In this hybrid project, graceful documentary observations of the world’s biggest flower market give way to the story of a terminally ill man who meets a stranger at a station bar: a diptych about transience, inspired by a Pirandello play.

GEOGRAPHIES OF SOLITUDE
Director: Jacquelyn Mills
For decades, Zoe Lucas has catalogued the flora and fauna on Sable Island, a thin strip of land off the Canadian coast, where she observes sand dunes, freshwater ponds, wild horses, and washed-up plastic waste.

NUCLEAR FAMILY
Director: Erin Wilkerson, Travis Wilkerson
A family trip across the American West becomes an essay film about nuclear threats past and present.

SCALA
Director: Ananta Thitanat
Bangkok’s last arthouse cinema was finally torn down in 2021 – as chandeliers, wall panelling, and curtains are taken down, the cinema’s past and that of the filmmaker come to the surface.

SUPER NATURAL
Director: Jorge Jácome
Shot on Madeira with a theatre troupe of people with and without disabilities, this iridescent essay film is a playful look at what is means to be embodied.

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Director: James Benning
An exploration of the USA in the filmmaker’s customary lengthy, static shots of landscape and cityscape, riffing on the film of the same name he made in 1975, but also asking if it is ever really possible to represent a place?

Berlinale Special:

A GERMAN PARTY
Director: Simon Brückner
A strikingly objective focus on the inner workings of a political party making headlines at district, state, and national level as an “alternative for Germany.”

HEART OF OAK
Director: Laurent Charbonnier, Michel Seydoux
Once upon a time, there was a 210-year-old oak tree, the pillar of a world teeming with all forms of life.

NOTHING LASTS FOREVER
Director: Jason Kohn
This thriller-like investigation into the disruptive infiltration of synthetic diamonds into the jewelry market turns into an inquiry of the universal themes of value, the real, and the symbolic.

Encounters:

MUTZENBACHER
Director: Ruth Beckermann
Various men step in front of the camera to engage with the scandalous, anonymously written novel of Viennese modernism Josefine Mutzenbacher (1906).

SEE YOU FRIDAY, ROBINSON
Director: Mitra Farahani
The filmmakers wants cinema’s living legends Jean-Luc Godard and Ebrahim Golestan to meet – instead, the artists begin a correspondence, and, like two Robinson Crusoes on their respective islands, each one awaits the other’s message, every Friday.

Generation:

ALIS
Director: Clare Weiskopf, Nicolás van Hemelryck
Ten young women who used to live on the streets of Bogotá close their eyes and conjure an imaginary friend, Alis, a surface for the projection of personal experiences and a proxy for nascent dreams.

BONEY PILES
Director: Taras Tomenko
In Eastern Ukraine, Nastya, scarred by her experience of war and yet self-determined, makes her way through a dystopian landscape.

KALLE KOSMONAUT
Director: Tine Kugler, Günther Kurth
The Allee der Kosmonauten does not lead to the stars – instead, if you grow up here, your path tends to go in the other direction, even if you’re as smart as Pascal, whom everyone calls Kalle.

WATERS OF PASTAZA
Director: Inês T Alves
A serene portrait of the playful yet self-reliant everyday life of a group of Indigenous children living along the Pastaza River, who, in colorful T-shirts and rubber boots, move through the endless green lushness of the rainforest, machetes in hand.

Perspektive Deutsches Kino:

LADIES ONLY
Director: Rebana Liz John
In the ladies’ compartments of Mumbai’s local trains, women are asked about what makes them angry, forming a fascinating tapestry that not only provides a portrait of Indian society, but also points far beyond it.

SORRY COMRADE
Director: Vera Brückner
When Karl-Heinz decides to move to the GDR to be with Hedi, the love of his life, pressure from the Stasi, who want to use him for their own ends, forces the couple to risk a madcap escape via Romania – and everything that can go wrong, does go wrong.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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