It’s Day 3 of the Berlinale and where do we start with today’s vast selection?! For the classics-lovers out there, Rupert Everett’s ‘The Happy Prince’, detailing the final chapter of openly gay, British author Oscar Wilde’s life, is right up your street. But if you’re looking for something a bit more daring, today’s schedule contains some of the most radical and challenging films of the TEDDY 2018. ‘Shakedown’ is an almost entirely VHS-shot documentation of the eponymous black lesbian club-night, ‘Garbage’ sees the return of controversial Indian director Q in a film that drastically deconstructs masculinity, and the experimental short ‘Contra-Internet’ takes us into a dystopian, post-internet, post-sexual realm. If that’s not enough to satisfy you then there’s plenty more to float your boat in this action-packed timetable so get watching!
Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033
Director: Zach Blas
USA/Great Britain 2018 29′, English, Spanish
Akademie der Künste, 19:00
Inspired by Derek Jarman’s 1978 queer punk film Jubilee, Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 follows Ayn Rand and members of her Collective, including Alan Greenspan, on an acid trip in 1955. Casting Susanne Sachsse as Ayn Rand, Zach Blas stages a psychedelic fever dream that sees the philosopher and her hangers-on transported to a dystopian future Silicon Valley. As Apple, Facebook, and Google campuses burn, their guide, artificial intelligence Azuma, reveals that Ayn has become a celebrity philosopher to tech executives, as her writings foster their entrepreneurial spirit. Amidst the wreckage, Rand and The Collective are introduced to the Internet and bear witness to techies being captured by anti-campus groupies. Inside an occupied office park, the group encounters Nootropix, a contra-sexual, contra-internet prophet, who lectures on the end of the internet as we know it. Seeking respite, Rand and The Collective find themselves at Silicon Beach, where chunks of polycrystalline silicon mix with sand and ocean.
India 2018 105′, Hindi
CineStar 3, 20:15
A young, seemingly mute woman has been fixed to the wall of an apartment with a long metal chain. She is being kept as a slave in the home of taxi driver Phanishwar, where she sleeps on a table and cooks for him. Phanishwar is a fervent supporter of the right-wing extremist guru ‘Baba’ and spreads his hatred in the commentary sections of social networks. One day he meets a young woman, Rami, who has had to go underground in Goa after a secretly filmed sex video in which she appeared went viral on the internet. He becomes her driver, whilst secretly stalking her online.
Indian director Q does not shy away from controversy, having already succeeded in inflaming passions with the dark tales in his feature film debut, Gandu. His stylishly shot revenge story Garbage revolves around two women who are exposed to different forms of oppression. Q initially takes time to develop the events, making some (queer) detours until eventually, things radically change. And when female martyrdom turns into retaliation, the director finds drastic images for the filmic deconstruction of (Indian) masculinity.
The Happy Prince
Director: Rupert Everett
Germany/Belgium/Italy 2017 105′, English, French, Italian
Friedrichstadt Palast, 21:00
At the end of the 19th century, dandy Oscar Wilde is the darling of London society – witty, humorous and scandalous. However, his open homosexuality is too much for the times in which he lives and he is sent to prison. Impoverished and stricken by ill health at
the time of his release, he goes into exile in Paris. After a half-hearted attempt to reconcile with his wife, he resumes his relationship with the young Lord Douglas, which plunges him into total disaster. All he has left are his fanciful stories, with which he conquers the affection of two street boys. Supported by loyal friends who try to protect him from his own excesses, he manages to retain his charm and irony to the bitter end: ‘Either this hideous wallpaper goes – or I do …’ Written and directed by Rupert Everett, who also plays the leading role, this biopic focuses on the last years of the once celebrated and later disgraced writer. Flashbacks and associative dream images depict him as the eccentric bon vivant he was to remain throughout his life in a portrait that expands to become a panorama of the emerging modern era.
Director: Shahram Mokri
Iran 2017 102′, Farsi
Cinestar IMAX, 21:30
Eternal darkness seems to shroud the stadium where men with bizarre tattoos pursue a sport that is never shown or named. A body has been found here, and the police have already identified a guilty party. Now the circumstances of the crime are to be reconstructed, so that the case can be quickly shelved. However, the real killer and his teammates want to use the reconstruction to commit another crime. The twin sister of the victim, who is said to be a vampire, is to be killed. But during the re-enactment of the murder, the players forget their role, chaos breaks out and the characters seem to be caught in an endless loop in which events repeat themselves in different ways. The disquieting feeling that time is dissolving, that past, present and future are becoming one and that history has
been halted is likely to strike a chord with how many young Iranians feel about their lives. Shahram Mokri’s intimate drama ominously interweaves place, space and time in the stadium’s labyrinthine corridors to form a dark allegory.
Je fais où tu me dis (Dressed for Pleasure)
Director: Marie de Maricourt
Switzerland 2017 17′, French
CinemaxX 3, 15:30
Following on the heels of Lick Us, Meow, Meow! (Generation 2016) Marie de Maricourt’s back with another dazzling rebellion involving sexual identity. There’s no space for Sarah’s desires under her parents’ roof – the prevailing climate in the bourgeois household feels more constricting to the young woman than her wheelchair. With the aid of a furtive accomplice Sarah finds ways to transform her gloomy abode into a veritable pleasure dome.
Director: Nate Trinrud
USA 2017 14′, English
CinemaxX 3. 15:30
Jesse is creative and seldom at a loss for words. But how can she confess to her best friend that she is in love – with her, no less? Should she act it out with finger puppets? No, too silly. Write a love letter? Maybe. Or should she just tell her? With great compassion and a dash of irony, the film depicts the emotional world of a teenager in love and torn between fierce determination and fear of disappointment.
Director: Leilah Weinraub
USA 2018 82′, English
Zoo Palast 2, 22:00
‘Shakedown’ was a series of parties founded by and for African American women in Los Angeles that featured go-go dancing and
strip shows for the city’s lesbian underground scene. Inspired by transwoman Mahogany who, as the mother of the scene, presided over queer strip shows and balls for non-heterosexual audiences in the 1980s, butch Ronnie Ron created, produced and presented the new shows. In them, the largely female clientele from the ‘hood’ slipped dollar notes into lap dancers’ panties while celebrating lesbian sexuality to pulsating hip-hop beats. Showing the protagonists backstage and in interviews, this intimate chronicle reveals that ‘Shakedown’ was more than just a strip club; as one of the few spaces for lesbian subculture, the club brought together and galvanised a community of freaks and queers of colour, and for that it suffered police reprisals. The film’s director is herself a member of this community; using exclusive archive material, posters and flyers, her film takes a personal look at female desire that is rarely presented on the big screen.