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Berlinale Announces Forum, Shorts Programs

Berlinale Announces Forum, Shorts Programs

The 2012 Berlin International Film Festival has announced films in both the Forum and short film programs.

The former is themed around “everyday life and fantasy,” annd will be showing 38 films in its main programme, including 26 world premieres and 8 international premieres. This year’s special screenings will be announced in a second press release.. The latter has 27 films from 22 countries will be competing for the Golden Bear and Silver Bear Jury Prize, the DAAD Short Film Award and a short film nomination for the European Film Prize.

The full announcements are below in two separate press releases, the first discussing the Forum program and the second listing the short films.

Forum 2012: Everyday Life and Fantasy
Differing life plans, generational conflicts and the ambivalence of so-called progress are at the centre of numerous films in the 2012 Forum programme.
As such, Ann-Kristin Reyels’ film Formentera follows a young couple on holiday who run into the ’68 ideals of their parents’ generation and come to realise the extent to which their own ideas about life diverge from one another. Sleepless Knights by Stefan Butzmühlen and Cristina Diz is also set in Spain, telling a story of gay love in the provinces and presenting the co-existence of different generations as an alternative to urban dislocation.

Beziehungsweisen (Negotiating Love) by Calle Overweg also explores the complicated set of compromises involved with living together on a daily basis, blending documentary means and staging techniques to observe different clients attending couples’ therapy. What Is Love by Ruth Mader tackles a similar theme, tracing the various different manifestations of love in five vignettes from the Austrian provinces.

Present-day nomads form the focus of two films in this year’s programme: Habiter / Construire (Living / Building) by Clémence Ancelin, which documents a road construction project in Chad and the effect it has on the local desert population, and Hiver nomade (Winter Nomads) by Manuel von Stürler, a portrait of two shepherds in French-speaking Switzerland in the depths of winter.

European cinema as a whole is particularly strongly represented in the Forum 2012 programme with additional titles from France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Romania and Turkey.

The Jordanian film Al Juma Al Akheira (The Last Friday) by Yahya Alabdallah tells the story of a taxi driver in Amman who is forced to bring some level of order into his failed existence. The documentary Bagrut Lochamim (Soldier / Citizen) confronts us with the uncompromising views of young Israelis about their Arab compatriots and neighbours. Mani Haghighi’s Paziraie Sadeh (Modest Reception) is an intelligent provocation in which a rich couple distributes plastic bags full of money in the Iranian provinces – a handout aimed purely at degradation.

Rodrigo Plá’s moving Uruguayan film La demora (The Wait) tells the story of a woman driven by her desperate situation to abandon her senile father. Mariano Luque’s directorial debut Salsipuedes is a visionary look at domestic violence that serves as a calling card for the new generation of young filmmakers working in Córdoba in Northern Argentina. For its part, the documentary Escuela normal (Normal School) by Celina Murga observes a secondary school in Buenos Aires where the pupils imitate the political structures of the adult world.

American independent cinema also has a strong presence in this year’s Forum programme. David Zellner’s fairytale-like Kid-Thing explores the day-to-day life and fantasies of a neglected little girl. Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky’s Francine follows a shy woman (played by Oscar-winning actress Melissa Leo) recently released from jail and her overwhelming affinity for animals. And So Yong Kim’s For Ellen shows the final attempts made by a neglectful rock-musician (played by Paul Dano) to build a relationship with his young daughter.

Three films from Japan deal with the tsunami of 11 March 2011 and the meltdown at Fukushima nuclear power station. In No Man’s Zone (Mujin chitai), Fujiwara Toshi advances like a Tarkowskian Stalker into the contaminated zone around the nuclear reactors and evokes images of an invisible apocalypse. Iwai Shunji discusses the political, economic and social situation of a country in a state of dependence in friends after 3.11. And Funahashi Atsushi’s Nuclear Nation creates a portrait of a mayor without a town, who is desperately trying to keep together a community scattered across different emergency shelters in the Tokyo suburbs and is brought to question old certainties in the process.

The 42nd Berlinale Forum will be showing 38 films in its main programme, including 26 world premieres and 8 international premieres. This year’s special screenings will be announced in a second press release.

Main Programme
Al Juma Al Akheira (The Last Friday) by Yahya Alabdallah, Jordan/United Arab Emirates – IP
Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (The Woman in the Septic Tank) by Marlon N. Rivera, The Philippines
Avalon by Axel Petersén, Sweden
Bagrut Lochamim (Soldier / Citizen) by Silvina Landsmann, Israel – WP
Bestiaire by Denis Côté, Canada/France
Beziehungsweisen (Negotiating Love) by Calle Overweg, Germany – WP
La demora (The Wait) by Rodrigo Plá, Uruguay/Mexico/France – WP
Escuela normal (Normal School) by Celina Murga, Argentina – WP
Espoir voyage by Michel K. Zongo, France/Burkina Faso – IP
For Ellen by So Yong Kim, USA – IP
Formentera by Ann-Kristin Reyels, Germany – WP
Francine by Brian M. Cassidy/Melanie Shatzky, USA/Canada – WP
friends after 3.11 by Iwai Shunji, Japan – IP
Habiter / Construire (Living / Building) by Clémence Ancelin, France – WP
Hemel by Sacha Polak, The Netherlands/Spain – WP
Hiver nomade (Winter Nomads) by Manuel von Stürler, Switzerland – WP
Jaurès by Vincent Dieutre, France – WP
Kashi (Choked) by Kim Joong-hyun, Republic of Korea – IP
Kazoku no kuni (Our Homeland) by Yang Yonghi, Japan – WP
Kid-Thing by David Zellner, USA – IP
Koi ni itaru yamai (The End of Puberty) by Kimura Shoko, Japan – IP
Die Lage (Condition) by Thomas Heise, Germany – WP
No Man’s Zone (Mujin chitai) by Fujiwara Toshi, Japan/France – IP
Nuclear Nation by Funahashi Atsushi, Japan – WP
Parabeton – Pier Luigi Nervi und römischer Beton (Parabeton – Pier Luigi Nervi and Roman Concrete) by Heinz Emigholz, Germany – WP
Paziraie Sadeh (Modest Reception) by Mani Haghighi, Iran – WP
Příliš mladá noc (A Night Too Young) by Olmo Omerzu, Czech Republic/Slovenia – WP
Revision by Philip Scheffner, Germany – WP
Salsipuedes by Mariano Luque, Argentina – WP
Sekret (Secret) by Przemysław Wojcieszek, Poland – WP
Sleepless Knights by Stefan Butzmühlen/Cristina Diz, Germany – WP    
Le sommeil d’or (Golden Slumbers) by Davy Chou, France/Cambodia
Spanien (Spain) by Anja Salomonowitz, Austria – WP
Tepenin Ardı (Beyond the Hill) by Emin Alper, Turkey/Greece – WP
Tiens moi droite (Keep Me Upright) by Zoé Chantre, France – WP
Toată lumea din familia noastră (Everybody in Our Family) by Radu Jude, Romania/The Netherlands – WP
What Is Love by Ruth Mader, Austria – WP
Zavtra (Tomorrow) by Andrey Gryazev, Russia – WP

“Say Goodbye to the Story”: Leitmotif of the Berlinale Shorts
27 films from 22 countries will be competing for the Golden Bear and Silver Bear Jury Prize, the DAAD Short Film Award and a short film nomination for the European Film Prize.

German actress Sandra Hüller, Palestinian artist Emily Jacir as well as filmmaker David OReilly will be picking the winners in 2012:
International Short Film Jury:
Sandra Hüller (Germany)
After ten years in the business, renowned and prize-winning actress of the screen and stage Sandra Hüller already boasts a remarkably wide repertoire of roles. She has performed regularly in theatres since 2006, in both classic and modern pieces. For her first major film role in Hans-Christian Schmid’s Requiem she won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlinale in 2006 as well as the German Film Prize. In 2011 she performed in two Berlinale films: Brownian Movement (2010, directed by Nanouk Leopold – Forum); and Über uns das All (Above Us Only Sky, 2011, directed by Jan Schomburg – Panorama).
Emily Jacir (Palestine)
Emily Jacir, one of the Arab world’s leading contemporary artists, works in a variety of media, including installation, performance, social intervention, photography, film and video. She has exhibited her works throughout the world and been honored many times for her artistic achievements including a Golden Lion at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Jacir is currently leading the Home Workspace in Beirut where she has created the curriculum and programming for 2011-2012. She is also preparing a new work for the dOCUMENTA (13) that opens this June.
David OReilly (Ireland)
The Irish-born filmmaker, now based in California, is known for his groundbreaking contemporary 3D animation. He has received over 75 awards for his short films that have been shown worldwide at more than 200 festivals. His first festival was at the Berlinale 2008, where he presented RGB XYZ. At the 2009 Berlinale he won the Golden Bear for Best Short Film with Please Say Something. His latest short film, The External World, screened at Venice (2010) and Sundance (2011), and went on to win numerous awards.
The desire to tell stories elegantly and with lightness is strong. Moreover, the ease with which rules of narration are explored, flouted, rejected and re-embraced attests to the growing self-confidence that this short form has developed in recent years.
From the start, the animated films by Atsushi Wada, Mariola Brillowska, Sun Xun & Akihito Izuhara depart from the real world and demand the viewer’s undivided attention. They are meditative, poetic, brutal and true.
Documentary films such as Licuri Surf, Utsikter, Panchabhuta, while never forgetting that they are short films, find a language and editing style of their own to reflect on their individual themes.
In Loxoro, Claudia Llosa (Golden Bear 2009  for La Teta Asustada – The Milk of Sorrow) accompanies the search of a mother for her daughter into the milieu of transsexuals in Peru – Loxoro is their language, their longing to find a place for themselves. In the film Say Goodbye to the Story (ATT 1/11), Christoph Schlingensief has his cast repeat a scene in the shower so often, and without breaks, until they are completely exhausted. Domination and desperation – a dance: explosive and ecstatic.  Murder is a means to an end. Charlotte Rampling’s excursion into the past and present brings to mind the question of ethics. Memories of those who were different than everyone else at school is the point of departure for Ad balloon by Lee Woo-jung. Also the second Korean entry, Mah-Chui, tells a universal story about hierarchical pressures and the need to reinforce one’s moral stance through one’s actions.

Gentrification does not spare any country or city on this planet: in southern China, wastelands have also become immense objects of speculation. Woven into the classic love story between a gangster and a prostitute we follow the course of a river in Shi Luo Zhi Di until it ends in red. Khavn de la Cruz deconstructs this often recounted tale of love between a similar couple in Pusong Wazak!, and explores in fleeting images the likelihood of dying too early from the violence so omnipresent in the Philippines today.
In all their reflections, these works never overlook the sensual character of film and the magic of the cinema. It is the physical experience of film – such as quintessential to music – and how it literally transcends itself as mere carrier of information that makes these selected works so remarkable.
Due to the political events in Hungary, the Berlinale Shorts is presenting a special screening on February 18, 2012 at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele: Magyarország 2011 (Hungary 2011) – an omnibus film, which reflects also in its aesthetics, the radical political and social developments in this crisis-ridden country. The directors of the work are Ágnes Kocsis, Márta Mészáros, Bence Fliegauf, Miklós Jancsó, and others. Following the screening, Béla Tarr will conduct a discussion on the current situation in Hungary.
From February 10 to 12, 2012 there will be press screenings of the short films in CinemaxX 5 & 3. The discussion series “Berlinale Shorts Go Spoken Word” will be held following the Berlinale Shorts’ regular screenings in CinemaxX 5 from February 13 to 17, 2012.
Berlinale Shorts 2012:
Ad balloon, Lee Woo-jung, Republic of Korea, 24’ (IP)
An das Morgengrauen, Mariola Brillowska, Germany, 3’ (WP)
Ein Mädchen Namens Yssabeau, Rosana Cuellar, Germany / Mexico, 18’ (DP)
Enakkum Oru Per, Suba Sivakumaran, USA / Sri Lanka, 12’ (WP)
Erotic Fragments No. 1, 2, 3, Anucha Boonyawatana, Thailand, 7’ (IP) Gurehto Rabitto, Atsushi Wada, France, 7’ (WP)
impossible exchange, Mahmoud Hojeij, Lebanon, 10’ (WP)
Karrabing! Low Tide Turning, Liza Johnson, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Australia, 14’ (WP)
La Santa, Mauricio López Fernández, Chile, 14’ (WP)
LI.LI.TA.AL., Akihito Izuhara, Japan, 8’ (WP)
Licuri Surf, Guile Martins, Brazil, 15’ (IP)
Loxoro, Claudia Llosa, Spanien / Peru / Argentine / USA, 19’ (IP)
Mah-Chui, Kim Souk-young, Republic of Korea, 23’ (IP)
Nostalgia, Gustavo Rondón Córdova, Venezuela, 30’ (WP)
Panchabhuta, Mohan Kumar Valasala, India, 16’ (WP)
PUSONG WAZAK! Isa Na Namang Kwento Ng Pag-ibig Sa Pagitan Ng Isang Kriminal at Isang Puta, Khavn De La Cruz, Philippines, 15’ (WP)
Rafa, João Salaviza, Portugal / France, 25’ (WP)
Say Goodbye to the Story (ATT 1/11), Christoph Schlingensief, Germany, 23’ (WP)
Shi Luo Zhi Di, Zhou Yan, People’s Republic of China, 25’ (WP)
Strauß.ok, Jeanne Faust, Germany, 5’ (WP)
The End, Barcelo, France, 17’ (WP)
The Man that Got Away, Trevor Anderson, Canada, 25’ (WP)
Utsikter, Marcus Harrling, Moa Geistrand, Sweden, 12’ (WP)
Uzushio, Naoto Kawamoto, Japan, 6’ (WP)
Vilaine Fille Mauvais Garçon, Justine Triet, France, 30’ (IP)
Yi chang ge ming zhong hai wei lai de ji ding yi de xing wei, Sun Xun, People’s Republic of China, 12’ (WP)
zounk!, Billy Roisz, Austria, 6’ (WP)
Berlinale Shorts Special 2012:
Magyarország 2011, András Jeles, Ágnes Kocsis, Ferenc Török, Simon Szabó, Márta Mészáros, Péter Forgács, László Siroki, György Pálfi, Bence Fliegauf, András Salamon, Miklós Jancsó, Ungarn, 75′ (IP)
presented by Béla Tarr

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