TEDDY TODAY: Wednesday 21st February

It’s a day for the daring, with the premiers of a number of high-profile experimental filmmakers. Jerry Tartaglia looks back at the work of Jack Smith in ‘Escape From Rented Island’, Irene Lusztig overlaps the voices of female letter writers in the 70s with those of present-day women in ‘Yours in Sisterhood’, and Barbara Hammer uses moving translucent images of the body imposed on film reels to explore the body’s cycles of life and death in ‘Evidentiary Bodies’. Each director here examines the need for archiving, questioning the ways we document, and keep visible, communities that have previously been shunned to the shadows of history.

The TEDDY AWARD is itself involved in the preservation of queer cultural memory through its partnership with the Queer Academy. Delve into the history of LGBT cinema by checking out the website here: https://queeracademy.net

Happy Wednesday Watching!

Escape From Rented Island: The Lost Paradise of Jack Smith

Director: Jerry Tartaglia

Akademie der Künste, 21:30

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In his essay film, Jerry Tartaglia, longtime archivist and restorer of the film estate of queer New York underground, experimental film, and performance legend Jack Smith, deals less with Smith’s life than with his work, analyzing Smith’s aesthetic idiosyncrasies in 21 thematic chapters. “Escape From Rented Island: The Lost Paradise of Jack Smith is a film essay about the artist’s work, rather than a documentary about his life. Therefore, it does not present a rational, linear, and detached explanation of his work. Instead, it asks the viewer to sympathetically experience the aesthetic choices behind the work of Jack Smith. This strategy that I have chosen creates a challenge for the viewer, particularly those who are reliant upon external commentary or non-diegetic material in the documentary film form; I have no apology to offer those who cannot bear the unmediated vision of Jack Smith; only an invitation to join him in his lost paradise.”

Evidentiary Bodies

Director: Barbara Hammer
USA 2018, 10′, Without dialogue

Kino Arsenal 1, 15:00

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A life lived within the sprocket holes of film can still dance. The beauty of the human body, although maimed, dances forward. Hope does not live eternal but daily. An audience immersed in three screens to feel the encasement of illness, the isolation of the material body. The forever ongoing chain of film runs but cannot hold up the protagonist. Time is flexible as the body transforms and the film loops. A trilogy of the self, witness of decline and suffering, performing the unthinkable, inevitable, dance of death. Three surrounds, enfolds, embraces the one who cannot stand alone. We, as human beings on a small globe, united by evolutionary structure and biological DNA have a chance to come together through the experience of empathy and identification with the sensitive body. An unspoken plea for viewers to engage with compassion, to experience vulnerability, to know through evidence this body is their body.

Tuzdan kaide (The Pillar of Salt)

Director: Burak Çevik
Turkey 2018 70′, Turkish

CineStar 8, 16:30

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A pregnant young woman who lives in a sort of cave is looking for her vanished sister, yet this plot summary hardly does justice to
the charm, richness and radical nature of Burak Çevik’s first feature – all of which a result of the liberties he takes in creating an extravagant cinematic world to tell this story. The protagonist leaves her almost fairytale-like cave to set out across a river, taking up her sister’s trail. This trail leads her to a botanical garden, a bird shop, and a darkroom. The photo lab technician compares the effect of photographs to God turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt because she couldn’t resist the temptation of turning around to see Sodom be destroyed. Captured for eternity, transfixed for eternity – should we take it at face value when the protagonist tells the boatwoman that she is a part-time vampire? The dreamlike way in which the film digresses to show us a plant, a strip of negatives, or a table tennis match contributes considerably to the strange fascination it develops. Some things remain mysterious – which only makes us even more curious about what they might be referring to.

Yours in Sisterhood

Director: Irene Lusztig
USA 2018 101′, English

Delphi Filmpalast, 18:45

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A petrol station at an Atlanta intersection. A private estate in Bowling Green, Kentucky, complete with a perfect lawn. The front yard of a family home in Connecticut. At first glance, the places Irene Lusztig chose to visit on her two-year journey through the United States seem unremarkable. At each stop, Lusztig had local women read out and comment on letters from the archive of liberal feminist magazine “Ms.”. These letters were originally sent around 40 years ago in response to articles in the magazine, serving also as outlets for their writers, mainly women, to share their personal stories – with intimacy and candour, at times full of relief, at other rage. The letters recount experiences of abortions or lesbian affairs with married women and rail against the magazine’s ignorance of what real life meant for black women. Irene Lusztig’s documentary set-up succeeds in bringing a wealth of experiences from an earlier generation of the feminist movement into a complex dialogue with the present. The written word only appears to be at the fore, beyond it, there lies a whole universe of feminism for the viewer to discover, which Yours in Sisterhood makes accessible on many levels.

TEDDY TODAY: Tuesday 20th February

Ohhhhhhhh! We’re halfway there! And if you’re caffeine levels aren’t through the roof, there aren’t bags the size of bruises under your eyes, and you’ve avoided that desperate late-night trip to McDonalds then you’re doing something wrong. For the rest of you hard-core troopers, in the words of the wonderful Bon Jovi, “take my hand, we’ll make it I swear”. There’s still plenty more to enjoy, including the highlight of today, Gus Van Sant’s latest job, ‘Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot’. Have a look at our YouTube channel to hear the man himself discussing the film, and his relationship with the TEDDY AWARD.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
Director: Gus Van Sant
USA, 2018, 113′, English

Screening: 19.00, Berlinale Palast

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John has a penchant for off-colour jokes – and a drinking problem. And so, when somebody he met at a party suggests they go on an all-night bender in L.A. he simply can’t refuse. But after falling asleep in a drunken stupor on his drinking buddy’s passenger seat, he wakes up the next morning in hospital, a quadriplegic. Confined to a wheelchair for life at the age of 21, he now requires every last drop of his sense of humour to rediscover meaning in his existence. He is aided by Annu who brings back his lust for life, as well as Donny, a hippie whose unconventional Alcoholics Anonymous meetings draw together people from all walks of life and help them see things from a whole new perspective. John discovers beauty and humour in the depths of human experience and uses his artistic talent to turn these discoveries into brilliantly observed cartoons. Gus Van Sant’s biopic is based on the memoirs of cartoonist John Callahan. This is a tender, melancholy yet hope-filled and life-affirming fictionalised portrait of a life of limitations. As in many of his films, here too Van Sant addresses the search for identity in the environs of social subcultures and unusual milieus.

High Fantasy
Director: Jenna Bass
South Africa, 2017, 74′, English

Screening: 17.30, Haus der Kulturen der Welt

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‘I’m not trying to escape who I am. This is it, I was born in this body and I can’t escape it, no. Am I angry at what it is? Yes.’ An innocuous idea, since you can assume it would never actually happen: finding yourself in someone else’s body. Yet that is exactly what befalls Lexi and her friends during a camping trip. The shock is immense, especially given the friction that had already existed before the inexplicable event: not only between the three young women and Thami, the only man – but also between Lexi, who is white, and Xoli, who is black. Under the body swapping spell, conflicts erupt that are symptomatic of social upheaval in the South African rainbow nation. Captured with the protagonists’ smartphones, what unfolds is a shrewd and cutting essay on the politics of the body, decades after the end of apartheid.

Director: Abel Ferrara
France/Italy/Belgium, 2014, 84′, English, Italian, French

Screening: 21.30, CinemaxX 8

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There are no indications that it will be the last day in the life of Italian writer and director Pier Paolo Pasolini. As usual, he spends the morning of November 2, 1975 with his mother, before reading the newspaper and working on a screenplay. Actress Laura Betti comes by for lunch. That afternoon at home, Pasolini meets yet another journalist for an interview about his “scandalous” film Saló, o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (Saló, or the 120 Days of Sodom). In the evening, he has dinner with friends at a restaurant, then drives his Alfa Romeo to the local gay pick-up strip, where 17-year-old Pino Pelosi gets into the director’s car. The two drive to the beach at Ostia, where a group of young men appear out of the darkness … The linear biopic narrative is interspersed with scenes shot based on Pasolini’s final screenplay. Among other things, those film snippets show veteran Pasolini actor Ninetto Davoli visiting an alleged “homosexual paradise”. In contrast to Davoli’s exuberant comic mien, Willem Dafoe plays the director as a contemplative person. Enriched with many original Pasolini quotes, his intense portrayal gives us a hint of what might have been …

TEDDY TODAY: Monday 19th February

There aren’t many people who live their lives without at least a few mummy or daddy issues – they’re almost a rite of passage. And that’s our theme of the day, with many of today’s films examining the tangled and complex relationships we have with our parents. But brace yourselves, these are not your average stories of family squabbles; in these films we realise the extreme and damaging effects of families in disarray. In ‘Game Girls’ we see women forced onto the street by abusive parents, ‘Marilyn’ reveals the devastating consequences of repressed desire and familial rejection, ‘Retablo’ sees a young boy coming to terms with his father’s sexuality, and ‘The Silk and the Flame’ exposes the crippling repression inflicted by Chinese family expectations.

Game Girls

Director: Alina Skrzeszewska

France/Germany 2018 90′, English

CineStar 7, 17:00

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Skid Row in Los Angeles is the infamous ‘homeless capital’ of the USA. Anyone who is trying to learn the rules of the game and survive here has a really tough time, as the stories of the two protagonists of this film, Teri and Tiahna, reveal. Life for this lesbian couple is
a constant round of prison, alcoholism and drug peddling, but there is hope, too. Their biographies are typical for the lives of Afro- American women living on the edge of American society. During a workshop initiated by the filmmaker for women in this community, they address their memories and their traumas and embark on a process of transformation during which they come into view as self- determining subjects rather than as victims. Social protests against homelessness in the neighbourhood, or the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign are just as much a part of their lives as is the matter-of-fact way in which they choose to live as lesbians, or their bitter struggle with the authorities for their own four walls. The film’s intimate, observational camerawork helps tell the story of two women who manage to escape Skid Row but who are nonetheless bound by the constraints of their environment.


Director: Martín Rodríguez Redondo

Argentina/Chile 2018 80′, Spanish

CinemaxX 7, 20:00

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There’s not much going on in this part of rural Argentina where a shy young man named Marcos lives with his family. Theirs is a modest existence, where gender roles are clearly demarcated. The hot summer doesn’t make life any easier, but money needs to be earned and the herd of cattle must be kept together. Marcos manages to carve out little islands of freedom during his routine; in these moments he likes to put make-up on his childlike face or slip into colourful dresses behind closed doors. Carnival is just around the corner; this year’s event will change Marcos’ life as dramatically as the family’s unexpected relocation. Martín Rodríguez Redondo’s cinematic debut is a tender portrait of youth and initially repressed self-discovery, told with serene understatement, devoid of guiding music. The roar of motorbikes promises both freedom and danger and, although there appears to be no escape from this world, the situation is far from hopeless for at some point young Federico appears on the scene. The images are contemplative and the narrative linear, yet the course taken by the film’s seemingly predictable trajectory is nonetheless surprising. A story based on true events.


Director: Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio L.

Peru/Germany/Norway 2017 101′, Quechua, Spanish

Zoo Palast 1, 15:30

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‘Are you not happy working with him?’ · ‘I want to see other things. You will get lost out there.’ · ‘Why can the others go and I can’t?’ · ‘Because you are an artisan not a peasant.’ Segundo sees silence as his only option for dealing with his father Noé’s secret. The 14-year-old lives with his parents in a village high up in the mountains of Peru. Noé is a respected artisan and Segundo’s role model. With loving eye for detail, he artfully crafts altarpieces for church and homes, and is preparing his son to follow in his footsteps. But cracks form in their tight bond. The film takes an unflinching look behind the facades of a seemingly intact village community, in which patriarchal rules are imposed with unrelenting violence. In saturated colours, a panorama view of a world in which a young artist is finding his place.

The Silk and the Flame

Director: Jordan Schiele

USA 2018
87′, Mandarin, English

CineStar 7, 17:00

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Unmarried Yao travels from Beijing to his village to celebrate the Chinese New Year – the most important family event in the country. The money he earns in the big city provides not only for his old parents but also his siblings and their children, who take it for granted that they should live off his regular payments as well. His mother, who has been deaf since childhood, looks after his care-dependent father. The latter desperately wants to see his second son married to the right woman, but Yao himself would prefer to find the right man. He has done well in the capital and his outstanding achievements have earned his father’s respect but, ever the dutiful son, he finds himself putting aside his own needs in order to support the family’s continued demands. A touching insight into everyday life in China, where the economic boom of the cities is in stark contrast to the poverty experienced by those living in the countryside. Jordan Schiele depicts the sparseness of village life in timeless black-and-white, juxtaposing loud, chaotic family scenes with Yao’s reflective monologues.


TEDDY TODAY: Sunday 18th February

We’re getting steamy on Sunday with some of our most sensuous TEDDY films this year! From the neon-paint-smeared bodies of ‘Tinta Bruta’, to trans MC, Lynn da Quebrada’s seductive stage performances, through to the wonderfully empowering female-thrusting of the ‘Juck’ dance, today’s selection celebrates sexuality in all its forms. Let loose your animal instinct with this feast of lusty cinema.

L’ Animale
Director: Katharina Mückstein
Austria, 2018, 97′, German

Screening: 19.00, Zoo Palast 1

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In Austria the final school exam is known as the ‘Matura’. Unlike the German word ‘Abitur’ (from the Latin ‘abire’ meaning ‘to walk away’), the Austrian term also includes the notion of coming of age. Mati wants to become a veterinary doctor, like her mother, and therefore leave the confines of her small-town universe for Vienna. But is she ready for this future? Standing in her ‘Matura’ dress with her long hair scraped back into a tight bun and her neck hair shaved bare, she’d be the first to admit she looks like a clown. Mati loves to spend time with the boys bombing around the quarry on her motocross bike. When one of the girls from her school resists when one of Mati’s mates begins sexually harassing her at a disco, Mati spits in her face. But, just like her parent’s marriage, Mati’s motocross gang also ruptures once notions of friendship, love and sexuality become more pressing. In her second feature-length drama, Katharina Mueckstein uses clear words and images and cool synthesiser beats to tell the story of an inscrutable young woman on the brink of ‘walking away’. Her parents’ silence tells us that being mature and facing up to the future doesn’t have anything to do with your age.

Bixa Travesty (Tranny Fag)
Director: Claudia Priscilla, Kiko Goifman
Brazil 2018, 75′, Portuguese

Screening: 20.00, CineStar 7

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Linn da Quebrada is a black transwoman from impoverished periurban São Paulo; she is also a pop performer who raises her voice for queers of colour from the favelas. Accompanied by her childhood friend and partner in crime, black transwoman and singer Jup do Bairro, her concerts are nothing short of dazzling. Aided by exorbitant costumes and plenty of twerking, her performances are onslaughts of electro against Brazil’s white heteronormative gender order and the machismo of the country’s funk scene. Private moments reveal her gentler side: as she showers with friends or cooks with her mother the talk turns to love, racism and poverty. Archive footage in the shape of home videos shows her in intimate performances at a hospital during her own cancer treatment. We begin to realise that Linn uses radical nudity as a means to undermine accepted gender roles. This documentary also shows her in dramatised radio interviews in which she powerfully espouses her convictions about feminism and her transsexuality: not for Linn the role of a cis woman; she’d rather be a woman with a penis whose gender identity is not bound by her genitalia but is in a permanent state of flux.

Der Himmel auf Erden (Heaven on Earth)
Director: Reinhold Schünzel, Alfred Schirokauer
Germany 1927, 113′, German intertitles

Screening: 19.30, CinemaxX 8

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Local representative Traugott Bellmann is a vocal critic of society’s moral decline in general and the notorious nightclub “Heaven on Earth” in particular. Just his luck that he inherits the place – along with half a million marks – and furthermore, on the day, of all days, that he is appointed president of the Moral Decency League! And just his luck that the terms of the inheritance from his deceased brother stipulate that Bellmann has to spend every night from ten to three in the morning in his newly-acquired “den of iniquity”. Adding to the just his luck scenario is the fact that it all happens on Bellmann’s wedding day, with the daughter of a respectably champagne bottler waiting for her bridegroom in the bedroom … Shimmy, jazz, and Ziegfeld-style girl revues. With risqué innuendo and effervescent humour, the film turns elements of urbane entertainment into an attack on the 1926 obscenity law. At the same time, it celebrates cinema as a circus medium by elevating small artistes to large presences. Doors slam in the style of Ernst Lubitsch, while star Reinhold Schünzel, who would later direct Viktor and Viktoria, gives us a chic female impersonator as a jazz age gender bend.

Director: Olivia Kastebring, Julia Gumpert, Ulrika Bandeira
Sweden, 2018, 18′, Swedish

Screening: 15.30, CinemaxX 3

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Juck is sex. Juck is energy. Juck is protest. Juck is therapy. Juck is action. Juck is dominance. Juck is provocation. Juck is tolerance. Juck is movement. Juck is fantasy. Juck is arousal. Juck is utopia. Juck is seeing one’s self, even if it’s tough. Juck is not apologizing for existing. ‘Femininity is a word that we can fill up with whatever we want,’ they say. They fill it up with Juck.

Mes provinciales (A Paris Education)
Director: Jean Paul Civeyrac
France, 2018, 136′, French

Screening: 19.00, Kino International

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Filled with expectations, Etienne moves to Paris from Lyon to study film directing at the Sorbonne. He leaves behind his girlfriend Lucie, promising to call her regularly via Skype. On his course he meets Jean-Noël and Mathias, they too have come to the metropolis from smaller cities and share his passion for cinema. Together they discuss the cinematic canon, read texts by Flaubert and Pasolini, and listen to Bach and Mahler. Jean-Noël proves to be an agreeable friend who tries to strengthen Etienne’s fragile self-confidence; Mathias, on the other hand, often comes across as stern, aloof and mysterious. Fond of arguing, he has a habit of disappearing for weeks on end without the others knowing where he is. Nobody gets to see his student film, either. Etienne is particularly crestfallen when he discovers by chance that Mathias shares a secret with Annabelle, an idealistic young woman who lives in Etienne’s shared flat and with whom he is secretly in love. Jean Paul Civeyrac’s tenderly melancholic black-and-white study of these young people’s encounter with art and life is at the same time a declaration of love for classic cinema and the city of Paris.

Onde o Verão Vai (episódios da juventude)/ Where the Summer Goes (chapters on youth)
Director: David Pinheiro Vicente
Portugal 2018 20′, Portuguese

Screening: 21.30, CinemaxX 3

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The summer heat shimmers. A group of friends drives to the forest. Their bodies are packed tightly into the car, four on the backseat and two up front. The men kiss. In the woods they happen upon a snake. The snake coils itself around the young man’s foot. The girl holds it in her hands. Two men eat peaches. After the kiss, the day is over. The composition of the group in a picture frame recalls the early films of Asghar Farhadi, in which time and again the individual is also faced with the group. The staging of youth is modern and at the same time their gazes and gestures reference Baroque painting, without ever losing sight of the present day. In four chapters, 21- year-old David Vincente appropriates the beginning of all of the stories of the monotheistic religions and gives it a fresh interpretation. Reframing his-story.

Para Aduma (Red Cow)
Director: Tsivia Barkai Yacov
Israel, 2018, 90′, Hebrew

Screening: 17.00, Haus der Kulturen der Welt

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‘How do you feel about intimate relations? Speak freely, don’t hold back.’ · ‘I think it’s the highest connection between two souls.’ Benny’s hair is as red as the fur of her devout father’s treasured calf – which he believes will bring salvation. But the 17-year-old feels as lonely and trapped as the calf in its enclosure. Benny’s mother died giving birth to her, and she grew up alone with her caring yet patriarchal father. He is a figure of authority and a mentor for many people in their Jerusalem religious community. Benny becomes increasingly critical of her father’s religious, utopian nationalism and then there’s Yael, the self-confident young woman who has set off a whirlwind of longing and emotions in her. Avigayil Koevary powerfully portrays the defiance and desire of a young woman in Tsivia Barkai Yacov’s debut feature film.

Director: Manque La Banca
Argentina, 2018, 16′, Spanish

Screening: 16.00, CinemaxX 5

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A mystical place, an enchanted story: A group of knights, imported directly from the Middle Ages, go ashore on the banks of the Río De La Plata. They are searching for a grave where they wish to perform a ritual. As they pass through the jungle, things happen that cause them to land in the present day. They have sex, find a car, enjoy a sunset with beers in their hands. Then an announcement comes over the radio that makes everything appear in a different light, and there’s no going back. This past summer demonstrations took place in southern Argentina against the Italian fashion and textile company Benetton. The company owns enormous tracts of land there that originally belonged to the Mapuche people. The indigenous Mapuche have been trying to get their property back for years in order to live in a self-determined manner. The protests were associated with excesses on both sides; Santiago Maldonado, who demonstrated with the Mapuche, disappeared in their midst. “Never again” was the widespread sentiment at the end of the dictatorship in Argentina, now the old threat seems to be looming again. There is no escape from reality – one has to face up to it. The filmmaker breaks open prevalent stereotypes in order to tell his own story free of hegemonial interference.

Three Centimetres
Director: Lara Zeidan
Great Britain, 2017, 9′, Arabic

Screening: 15.30, CinemaxX 3

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A moment of floating, standstill. Four girlfriends are sitting in the gondola of a Ferris wheel. The camera takes in the view of the Mediterranean sea on the Lebanese coast, watches the girls boarding the gondola, turns a round with them, rides up to the very top. Then, the wheel suddenly comes to a halt and so does the camera. Their conversation has just comes to an abrupt end when Manal confesses that she has a girlfriend.

Tinta Bruta (Hard Paint)
Director: Marcio Reolon, Filipe Matzembacher
Brazil, 2018, 118′, Portuguese

Screening: 22.30, CinemaxX 7

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Pedro earns a living in chat rooms. The image resolution may not be perfect but when Pedro transforms himself into NeonBoy in
front of the webcam he still manages to create the desired impression. Slowly, this young man dips his fingers into pots of coloured paint and glides them across his naked body. Glowing in the dark, NeonBoy follows his users’ commands until he agrees to meet
one of them in a private chat room for money. But things change when Pedro’s sister Luzia moves out of their shared apartment and he notices that somebody is imitating his performances. He agrees to go on a date with his mysterious rival. This rendezvous will
have far-reaching consequences. As with all of the previous films by directing duo Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon, we find ourselves again in Porto Alegre in northern Brazil, where we encounter young queers in search of intimacy, community and security. The elegantly interwoven virtual images and protagonists’ stories may take us away from the real world, yet in actuality we remain in an increasingly homophobic Brazilian society to whose misfits this sensitive, affectionate portrait in three acts is dedicated.