It’s an exciting time for the world’s largest film festival, as the Berlinale has entered a much-anticipated state of flux. The reign of longtime festival director Dieter Kosslick ended on a high note, as last year’s Golden Bear was awarded to a film worthy of the Palme d’Or at Cannes (that would be Nadav Lapid’s “Synonyms”). Now, the baton has been passed to former Locarno head Carlo Chatrian. And while it may be hard to steer an ocean liner in a radically different direction — or imbue any clear sense of identity into a government-funded program that features 300 films across its many categories — the Berlinale’s new artistic director is eager to put his stamp on the long-running institution, and restore a sense of curation and intimacy to a festival that has often functioned as more of a catchall.
Only time will tell if Chatrian’s first year at the helm was a success (as always, making that determination would require someone to look far beyond the 18 films that play in the Competition), but the lineup for the 70th Berlin International Film Festival is as exciting as that of any previous edition.
While the slate includes new works from many of the preeminent names in contemporary world cinema (e.g. Christian Petzold, Sally Potter, and Tsai Ming-liang), this year’s fest may be most exciting for its deep reservoir of fresh and exciting work from all corners of the globe. IndieWire will be on the ground in Germany to sift the diamonds from the rough, but for now, here are the 15 films that we’re most excited to see at the 2020 Berlinale, which runs from February 20 to March 1.