January 2020, berlinale forum

50th Berlinale Forum: Galloping between Different Eras

From left to right: ANUNCIARON TORMENTA (Javier Fernández Vázquez), LÚA VERMELLA (Lois Patiño), TIPOGRAFIC MAJUSCUL (Radu Jude), VIL, MÁ (Gustavo Vinagre), FREM (Viera Čákanyová) and VICTORIA (Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere)

The Berlinale Forum is celebrating its anniversary: 50 years of dedication to independent, adventurous, daring cinema. A perfect opportunity to look back at the past, celebrate what’s been achieved and think about what the future will bring. This dual gaze - backwards and forwards at the same time – characterises numerous films in the programme. Only those aware of what was can shape what will come.

2020 is a year of many changes. The Berlinale Forum has a new head in the form of Cristina Nord and a new selection procedure, with many new faces among the advisors and in the selection committee.  At the same time, it’s a year in which tradition is of particularly great importance: this independent section of the Berlinale, organised by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

This intermeshing of old and new, the existing and the pioneering, equally forms a leitmotif running through the selection. Many of the 35 films in this year’s programme – 28 of which are world premieres – are characterised by how they look for ways to mediate between past and present. This applies in spades to EL TANGO DEL VIUDO Y SU ESPEJO DEFORMANTE (THE TANGO OF THE WIDOWER And Its Distorting Mirror) by Raúl Ruiz and Valeria Sarmiento, which opens this year’s Forum. Ruiz shot the material in Chile in 1967, but was unable to complete it before going into exile in 1973. Editor, director and Ruiz’s widow Valeria Sarmiento has now transformed it into a finished film via various elaborate techniques. The film experiments with its own temporality in wonderfully idiosyncratic fashion, as it encompasses the half-century since it was originally shot and allows its plot to run forwards and backwards; in the latter case, quite literally.

Other films – such as Clarissa Thieme’s WAS BLEIBT | ŠTA OSTAJE | WHAT REMAINS / RE-VISITED, Radu Jude’s TIPOGRAFIC MAJUSCUL (Uppercase Print) or Jonathan Perel’s RESPONSABILIDAD EMPRESARIAL (Corporate Accountability) – raise the question of how the political fault lines of recent history can be translated into film images and try out essayistic forms in the process. OUVERTURES, made by a collective surrounding directors Louis Henderson and Olivier Marboeuf, looks back the Haitian revolution and the aporias of the Enlightenment. Paula Gaitán’s more than four-hour LUZ NOS TRÓPICOS (Lights in the Tropics) gallops between different eras like a wild horse, culminating in brilliant tribute to the forests and rivers of North and South America and the indigenous peoples that live there. This forges links to further films in the programme which explore the increasingly precarious relationship between humans and their environment, such as Viera Čákanyová’s FREM or Lois Patiño’s LÚA VERMELLA (Red Moon Tide).

Forum main programme:

ANNE AT 13,000 FT
Canada / USA
by Kazik Radwanski
International premiere

ANUNCIARON TORMENTA (A Storm Was Coming)
Spain
by Javier Fernández Vázquez
World premiere

GLI APPUNTI DI ANNA AZZORI / UNO SPECCHIO CHE VIAGGIA NEL TEMPO (The Notes of Anna Azzori / A Mirror that Travels through Time)
Austria / Germany / France
by Constanze Ruhm
World premiere

LA CASA DELL’AMORE (The House of Love)
Italy
by Luca Ferri
World premiere

CHICO VENTANA TAMBIÉN QUISIERA TENER UN SUBMARINO (Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine)
Uruguay / Argentina / Brazil / Netherlands / Philippines
by Alex Piperno
World premiere

ENTRE PERRO Y LOBO
Cuba / Spain
by Irene Gutiérrez
World premiere

EYIMOFE (This Is My Desire)
Nigeria
by Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri
World premiere

FREM
Czech Republic / Slovakia
by Viera Čákanyová
International premiere

GENERATIONS
USA
by Lynne Siefert
World premiere

GOROD USNUL (In Deep Sleep)
Russian Federation
by Maria Ignatenko
World premiere

GRÈVE OU CRÈVE (Strike or Die)
France
by Jonathan Rescigno
World premiere

IEŞIREA TRENURILOR DIN GARĂ (The Exit of The Trains)
Romania
by Radu Jude, Adrian Cioflâncă
World premiere

KAMA FISSAMAA’ KATHALIKA ALA AL-ARD (As Above So Below)
Lebanon
by Sarah Francis
World premiere

KUNST KOMMT AUS DEM SCHNABEL WIE ER GEWACHSEN IST (Art Comes from the Beak the Way It Has Grown)
Germany
by Sabine Herpich
World premiere

LÚA VERMELLA (Red Moon Tide)
Spain
by Lois Patiño
World premiere

LUZ NOS TRÓPICOS (Light in the Tropics)
Brazil
by Paula Gaitán
World premiere

MAGGIE’S FARM
USA
by James Benning
World premiere

MEDIUM
Argentina
by Edgardo Cozarinsky
World premiere

NAMO (The Alien)
Iran
by Nader Saeivar
World premiere

OECONOMIA
Germany
by Carmen Losmann
World premiere

OUVERTURES
United Kingdom / France
by The Living and the Dead Ensemble
World premiere

PETIT SAMEDI
Belgium
by Paloma Sermon-Daï
World premiere

PING JING (The Calming)
China
by SONG Fang
World premiere

RESPONSABILIDAD EMPRESARIAL (Corporate Accountability)
Argentina
by Jonathan Perel
World premiere

SEISHIN 0 (Zero)
Japan / USA
by Kazuhiro Soda
International premiere

EL TANGO DEL VIUDO Y SU ESPEJO DEFORMANTE (THE TANGO OF THE WIDOWER And Its Distorting Mirror)
Chile
by Raúl Ruiz, Valeria Sarmiento
World premiere

TIPOGRAFIC MAJUSCUL (Uppercase Print)
Romania
by Radu Jude
International premiere

TRAVERSER (After the Crossing)
France / Burkina Faso / Belgium
by Joël Richmond Mathieu Akafou
World premiere

THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Canada
by Matthew Rankin
European premiere

THE TWO SIGHTS
Canada / United Kingdom
by Joshua Bonnetta
World premiere

VICTORIA
Belgium
by Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere
World premiere

THE VIEWING BOOTH
Israel / USA
by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz
International premiere

VIL, MÁ (Divinely Evil)
Brazil
by Gustavo Vinagre
World premiere

WAS BLEIBT | ŠTA OSTAJE | WHAT REMAINS / RE-VISITED
Germany / Austria / Bosnia and Herzegovina
by Clarissa Thieme
World premiere

ZEUS MACHINE. L’INVINCIBILE (Zeus Machine. The Invincible)
Italy
by Nadia Ranocchi, David Zamagni
International premiere