Berlinale 2017 Lineup, Round 7
The Generation section for younger viewers is now complete.
Just before Christmas, the Berlin International Film Festival rolled out the first titles slated for its Generation section, two programs—Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus—curated for younger viewers. Today, the Berlinale's announced that the Generation lineup is now complete. In addition to the previously announced titles and with descriptions from the festival…
Ben Niao (The Foolish Bird), directed by Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka. World premiere. For the sake of her mother, who lives far away, withdrawn Lynn searches for a way to be accepted into the local police academy. At the same time, the 16-year-old gets caught up in a criminal mess involving stolen cell phones. Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka (The Warmth of Orange Peel, Generation 2010) employ precise imagery to tell a story of isolation and lack of perspective in a small Chinese city marked by corruption, sexual violence and the all-permeating presence of new media.
Freak Show, Trudie Styler. World premiere. Somewhere between David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Freddy Mercury and Oscar Wilde, Billy has carved out his own spot in the sparkling firmament of pop culture. Though the denizens of his conservative surroundings find all this markedly less fabulous, Billy has no intention of deviating from his plan to campaign for the role of Homecoming Queen at his school. What at first seems a high school caper transforms into a bombastic yet nuanced drama, one which earns the attribution that Billy himself has also claimed as his own: trans-visionary. Aside from Alex Lawther’s brilliant performance, Bette Midler, Laverne Cox, Larry Pine and Ian Nelson also shine in this one-of-a-kind film.
Loving Lorna, Annika Karlsson and Jessica Karlsson. International premiere. In Ballymun, a poor suburb of Dublin, horses have been an integral part of everyday life for generations. 17-year-old Lorna’s family is no exception. Lorna would like to become a farrier after she finishes school, if only she weren’t plagued by a bad back. In this poetic study, the two Swedish directors paint a portrait of a young woman in search of happiness, fulfilled dreams and her own proper place in the world.
Não devore meu coração! (Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!), Felipe Bragança. European premiere. The Rio Apa, the river marking the border between Paraguay and Brazil, serves as the central setting for this visually stunning, modern and powerful Romeo and Juliet story of the relationship between 13-year-old Joca and the mysterious Guaraní girl, Basano. Bragança tells his tale of an adolescent “amour fou” against the backdrop of contemporary conflicts concerning land theft and cultural identity. His fiction feature debut makes a strong impression on the big screen also through the successful use of both young Brazilian stars and local non actors.
Poi E: The Story of Our Song, Tearepa Kahi. European premiere. The incredible story of a Maori pop song that took New Zealand’s charts by storm quite unexpectedly in 1984. Back in those days it was a near miracle for a piece of traditionally inspired music to become so popular. That is, until singer Dalvanius Prime, an imposing Maori with a powerfully smooth voice, and the singers of the Patea Maori Club came along. Prime had long been into soul—but now he combined the Maori-language song with modern beats and rap on stage. The media would have preferred to pretend he didn’t exist. Alas, both the song and video managed to become cult hits and helped many Maoris—especially young folks—to gain a new sense of self along the way.
The Inland Road, Jackie van Beek. World premiere. On a road running through the New Zealand countryside, a fatal accident brings 16-year-old Tia together with expectant dad Will. Along with Will’s pregnant wife Donna and four-year-old Lily, a finely spun and electrifying drama about wounds both visible and invisible unfolds. This beautifully shot, atmospherically dense work is New Zealand native Jackie van Beek’s feature film debut as a director. Berlinale audiences have been able to enjoy her comedic and acting talents previously (What We Do in the Shadows, Generation 2014) as well as her work as a short film director (Go the Dogs, Generation 2011).
Shkola nomer 3 (School Number 3), Yelizaveta Smith and Georg Genoux. World premiere. Thirteen adolescents from a rebuilt school in South Ukrainian Donbass relate their hopes and fears. In rigorously composed shots, the documentary film shows the protagonists in their everyday environment, while they tell of experiences that move them, of nascent new loves and personal loss alike. The war is often only immediately perceptible on the periphery, yet it makes its presence felt as an unavoidable frame of reference. The puristic way in which it is shot renders the overall impression made by Yelizaveta Smith and Georg Genoux’s film all the more haunting.
Soldado (Soldier), Manuel Abramovich. World premiere. Following orders, rehearsing snappy marches and running through more drills than you can shake a drum stick at. A 19-year-old Argentinian man goes off into the army, where he becomes a drummer in a military band. A measured but poignant study of the collision between young individuality and military uniformity, which expands on the contradictions and uncertainties of entering into adulthood within the constraints of a rigid hierarchy. A coming-of-age story set in a “total institution."
Amelie rennt (Mountain Miracle – An Unexpected Friendship), Tobias Wiemann. World premiere. Headstrong Amelie is the queen of cursing—at her parents, her patronizing doctors and her damn asthma above all else. During a forced stay in a special clinic in South Tirol she suddenly decides to run away. During the arduous trek up the mountain she not only gains an unsolicited traveling companion, she is also confronted by risky trials of courage and the overwhelming tingle of first love. An emotional roller-coaster ride.
Becoming Who I Was, Moon Chang-Yong and Jeon Jin. International premiere. Angdu is not your average boy, he is Rinpoche. In a past life he was actually a venerable Buddhist master. Together with his carer, he sets out one day on foot from India to distant Tibet, the centre of his faith. Questions about friendship and life in general accompany the duo on their trek through the awe-inspiring landscape of the remote alpine region. With its narrative approach steeped in a serene sense of concentration, this film, composed over a period of eight years, is a fundamental experience in its own right.
Estiu 1993 (Summer 1993), Carla Simón. World premiere. Summer in Catalonia, 1993. For six-year-old Frida, the death of her mother means the beginning of a whole new life. In the loving care of her uncle and his family far away from her home in Barcelona, she first has to get used to her new life in the countryside. Moments of childish mischievousness turn into thoughtful detachment. Despite the summery atmosphere, serious undertones underlie this precocious coming-of-age drama. The inevitable consequences of AIDS, in those days still incalculable, have induced in gentle images Carla Simón’s (Berlinale Talents alumna) stunning debut feature film.
Oskars Amerika (Oskar’s America), Torfinn Iversen. World premiere. Torfinn Iversen’s feature debut is based on motifs and characters first explored in his short film Levi’s Horse (Generation, 2012). Now this moving portrait of an unusual friendship can be enjoyed at length on the big screen. Oskar’s deepest wish is to be able to ride on the prairie with his mother over summer break. But alas, everything turns out differently than expected and the 10-year-old is forced to spend his vacation on his grumpy grandfather’s farm. Oskar’s only friend is the outsider Levi, who talks with his pony. Together they hatch a plan to get away from their grim reality: they’ll row across the Atlantic to America in Grandfather’s boat!
Piata Loď (Little Harbour), Iveta Grófová. World premiere. Crushed by her mother’s lack of affection for her, ten-year-old Jarka stumbles upon two abandoned infants. Together with her neighbour, 8-year-old Kristian, she lovingly cares for the tiny twins in what becomes a welcome escape from her own dysfunctional family situation. The Slovakian director’s film is an adaptation of a novel by Monika Kompaníková, in which children assume the roles of adults. The story, sensitively told from the children’s perspective, employs dynamic imagery to trace the universal desire for family and a sense of emotional security and belonging.
Uilenbal (Owls & Mice), Simone van Dusseldorp. International premiere. Meral is new in town and the first friend she makes is her little grey housemate: the mouse Peepeep. On a school trip both are confronted by the wonder and challenges of life. Meral is forced to watch as her beloved new buddy is swept up by an owl. In spite of this frightening development, through rocking musical numbers, owl pellets and the wonders of life in the woods Meral learns to understand the meaning of true friendship. Dutch director Simone von Dusseldorp will celebrate with this Generation highlight for young audiences.
Upp i det blå (Up in the Sky), Petter Lennstrand. International premiere. Pottan’s stressed-out parents actually wanted to drop her off at summer camp, but somehow the 8-year-old ends up at a scrapyard inhabited by extremely odd residents instead. Together the gang is hard at work building a homemade spaceship so that they can blast off for the stars. In his feature film debut, complete with a healthy dose of humor and a great appetite for adventure, television producer and puppeteer Petter Lennstrand tells a tale of unexpected friendships and what they can enable us to accomplish.
Wallay, Berni Goldblat. World premiere. When his father sends him off to Burkina Faso to visit relatives, 15-year-old Ady is excited at the prospect of being able to enjoy a laid-back vacation in his native land. Alas, on arrival the young man is met with a chilly reception and it soon becomes clear to him that his trip is not going to be the pleasant break from life back home that he expected. Swiss director Berni Goldblat approaches his feature film debut with the sharp eye of a documentary filmmaker in this depiction of everyday life in his adopted West African home of Burkina Faso.
Generation 14plus Short Films
After the Smoke, Nick Waterman - World Premiere.
In a Nutshell, Fabio Friedli - WP.
La prima sueca (Swedish Cousin), Inés María Barrionuevo, Agustina San Martín - WP.
Libélula (Firefly), José Pablo and Escamilla Gonzáles Aragón - International Premiere.
Milk, Daria Vlasova - WP.
Morning Cowboy, Fernando Pomares - WP.
SNIP, Terril Calder - European Premiere.
The Jungle Knows You Better Than You Do, Juanita Onzaga – WP.
U Plavetnilo (Into the Blue), Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic - WP.
White Riot: London, Rubika Shah - EP.
Wolfe, Claire Randall - WP.
Generation Kplus Short Films
1Minuutje natuur (1Minute of Nature), Stefanie Visjager and Katinka Baehr - IP.
Aaba (Grandfather), Amar Kaushik - WP.
Der kleine Vogel und die Raupe (The Little Bird and the Caterpillar), Lena von Döhren - WP.
Dziedošais Hugo un viņa neticamie piedzīvojumi (Singing Hugo and His Incredible Adventures), Reinis Kalnaellis - WP.
Em busca da terra sem males (In Search of the Land Without Evil), Anna Azevedo - WP.
Engiteng‘ Narok Lukunya (Black Head Cow), Elizabeth Nichols - EP.
Hedgehog's Home, Eva Cvijanovic - WP.
Jazzoo, Adam Marko-Nord - IP.
Li.le, Natia Nikolashvili - WP.
Min Homosyster (My Gay Sister), Lia Hietala - IP.
Odd er et egg (Odd is an Egg), Kristin Ulseth - IP.
Promise, Xie Tian - IP.
Sabaku, Marlies van der Wel - IP.
Terrain de jeux (Playground), Maxence Lemonnier - WP.
The Catch, Holly Brace-Lavoie - WP.
The Dress on Her, Wen Chih Yi- WP.
Vulkánsziget (Volcanoisland), Anna Katalin Lovrity - WP.
Xalé Bu Rérr (Lost Child), Abdou Khadir Ndiaye - WP.