TEDDY TODAY: Saturday 17th February

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

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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.


Director: Q
India 2018 105′, Hindi

CineStar 3, 20:15

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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

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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.

Hojoom (Invasion)

Director: Shahram Mokri

Iran 2017 102′, Farsi

Cinestar IMAX, 21:30

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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

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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.

Pop Rox

Director: Nate Trinrud

USA 2017 14′, English

CinemaxX 3. 15:30

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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

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‘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.

TEDDY TODAY: Friday 16th February

So the Berlinale is now fully underway, and we at the TEDDY AWARD have been enjoying the red carpet of CineStar, where the lovely Zsombor’s interviews took place yesterday. Remember you can find those, and all our further interviews with the directors and stars of the TEDDY AWARD, on our YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD1iOuMk-g6JvV76Rj_qBkw

For today’s films we’ve got a tour of Latin American queer cinema coming up. Our journey starts in Paraguay, where Marcelo Martinessi’s lesbian drama about an older woman rediscovering her sexual desire takes place. Next, we move to Brazil, the site of Evangelia Kranioti’s ethereal documentary depicting trans and queer life in the midst of Rio de Janeiro’s carnival. And our final stop off is in Argentina, where we’re introduced to the intricate art of Malambo dancing. 

Las herederas (The Heiresses)
Director: Marcelo Martinessi
Paraguay/Uruguay/Germany/Brazil/Norway/France, 2018, 95′, Spanish

Screening: 15.30, Berlinale Palast

Chela and Chiquita have been a couple for a very long time. Over the years they have become adapted to a fixed allocation of roles. Extroverted Chiquita is responsible for managing their life together. Chela on the other hand is reluctant to leave the house, preferring to spend the day at her easel. Financial difficulties force them to sell some of their inherited furniture, each part of which is a beloved piece of memorabilia. When Chiquita is sent to prison for debt, Chela is suddenly left on her own. She uses her old Daimler to provide a taxi service to wealthy older ladies in the neighbourhood. In her new role as chauffeur, she meets one of these ladies’ daughters – the young and life-affirming Angy. The encounter lures the rather passive Chela out of her reserve and helps her rediscover her own desires. Exploring the outside world as tentatively and carefully as its heroine, the film increasingly trains its gaze on a social strata that is strangely cut-off from reality and lives without a thought for tomorrow. However, when Chela visits her girlfriend in prison, a completely different picture emerges of conditions in Paraguay.

Obscuro Barroco
Director: Evangelia Kranioti
France/Greece, 2018, 60′, Portuguese

Screening: 19.30, CineStar IMAX

Slowly and elegiacally, the camera glides at first over a forest shrouded in fog, then over a panorama of Rio de Janeiro. An off-screen voice tells us that Rio is a factory of dreams and nightmares, a city of transformations. In her essayistic film Obscuro Barroco Greek director Evangelia Kranioti explores the poetic words of her transgender narrator Luana Muniz, who is herself an icon of Brazil’s queer subculture. Amidst a somnambulistic tide of images she enters the pulsating world of creatures of the night. A stream of consciousness from Brazil’s underground flows straight into the heart of the city’s street carnival. In between the masks and the make-up, the young, naked and new bodies and a spectacular firework display, people come into view who have undergone a transformation that makes it difficult to clearly ascribe them to any gender. A white clown leads us through the film’s visual universe in which, all of a sudden, raw-faced anti-government protests also put in an appearance. And then, behind closed doors, all is bared, the ‘transvestites’ are serenaded and celebrate who they are until the dream culminates in one ecstatic dance.

Malambo, el hombre bueno (Malambo, the Good Man)
Director: Santiago Loza
Argentina, 2017, 71′, Spanish

Screening: 20.00, CinemaxX 7

Dignified, strong and formidable, and oozing erotic attraction: young malambo dancer Gaspar is at one with his passion for dance that he has made his profession. But, as director Santiago Loza makes clear at the beginning of his film, the Argentinian competitive dance malambo is an uncompromising battle against time. This is a dance to which you devote your entire life and, even if you should happen to win the top championship joust, you are henceforth condemned to training the next generation or to appearing in nightly cruise shows, for there is no possibility to take part in this competition again. Loza’s contrasty, magical black-and-white images whisk us away into the world of Argentinian gaucho dance. Billed as a fiction, his film comes across as a mixture of documentary, fairy-tale, biography and essay in which he juxtaposes the beauty of the dance battles with the harsh realities faced by the dancer himself. Gaspar’s devotion begins to take its toll on his body. There seems to be no longer anything else but malambo. In his few rare encounters with life beyond the dance floor Gaspar meets family members, competitors and his flatmate – all in the heat of his tiny apartment.


TEDDY TODAY: Thursday 15th February

Hello and welcome to the 32nd TEDDY AWARDS! We’ve got a feast of cinematic treats in store for you over the coming 10 days. From TEDDY veterans like Barbara Hammer and Gus Van Sant, to first-time directors from all over the world, the 2018 films bring the diversity and innovation that characterise the award. Look out for the prominent themes of body politics, intersectionality and the celebration of sensuality, to name just a few.

In our TEDDY TODAY posts we’ll be taking you by the hand through the queer world of the Berlinale, keeping you up to date with what to watch, when and where. Kicking things off is the Panorama opener, ‘River’s Edge’. This stunning feature from Japanese director Isao Yukisada begins, fittingly, with a shot of a girl clutching her childhood teddy bear. The scene is a flash forward towards which the rest of the sprawling narrative flows, winding it’s way through the lives of a group of teenagers. Prepare yourselves for bold, unflinching  depictions of the sexual and psychological secrets that torment the younger generations of today…

River’s Edge

Director: Isao Yukisada

Japan 2018 118′, Japanese

CinemaxX 7, 21:00

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Tokyo, 1994. In a video interview a young woman discusses the significance of a teddy bear. Shortly afterwards, a burning object falls from a high-rise building at night. A young man, naked and bound, falls out of a locker. Two fisherman talk about a water spirit. In his unusual drama River’s Edge Isao Yukisada lays many trails and jumps as abruptly and unpredictably between the various narrative threads as do his characters: Ichiro is gay; he is preyed upon by his violent fellow pupils but seems to draw strength from his injuries. He makes a gruesome discovery at a nearby river polluted by industrial waste and shows it to his best friend, a girl named Haruna. Kannonzaki loves rough sex and in the course of it transgresses more and more boundaries. An introverted girl obsessively reads her pregnant sister’s diaries and Kozue, a model with bulimia, buries herself in mountains of food at night. All these and other stories are brilliantly interwoven into a breathless social portrait of a driven but apparently lost generation and their seemingly unavoidable encounters with violence.

TEDDY Showacts

The Showacts at 32nd TEDDY AWARD Preisverleihung

Don’t miss this year’s show program of the TEDDY AWARD ceremony and the following after. Here is a sneak preview of the evening with Jack Woodhead, Sookee, Irmgard Knef, Duo Sienna, Linn da Quebrada, Markus Pabst, Tim Kriegler, Das blaue Wunder, 2Faro, DJ Mashino, VJ Alkis

Jack Woodhead, host of 32nd TEDDy AWARD ceremony
Jack Woodhead, host of 32nd TEDDY AWARD ceremony