Today we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming the director of WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY (original title: “Guzen to Sozo”) – Ryusuke Hamaguchi – to offer us a better understanding of his feature film. His new work could be described as a collection of short episodes, each revolving around a woman. They tell stories of an unexpected love triangle, a failed seduction trap, and an encounter that results from a misunderstanding. Awoken your curiosity?
Ending a new Berlinale day on the right note with director John Greyson and his moving short film INTERNATIONAL DAWN CHORUS DAY. Born out of pandemic isolation, the powerful story is based on the real-life satirical anti-dictatorship filmmaker Shady Habash, who died in Cairo’s notorious Tora prison, and Egyptian queer activist Sarah Hegazi, famously incarcerated for flying a rainbow flag at a Cairo concert, who later committed suicide after suffering severe trauma in prison. Despite the delicate theme it deals with, Greyson’s film gives freedom a whole new meaning.
Up next we’ve welcomed Jacqueline Lentzou in our TEDDY studio to chat about her long-awaited feature debut – MOON, 66 QUESTIONS. The story tackles notions of acceptance and communication (or the lack of it), while accompanying the flow of the unconscious and vivifying the grey areas of family life at the same time. Get an insight into the touching story here:
In an insightful and simply captivating interview, director Truong Minh Quý examines his latest short film THE MEN WHO WAIT (original title: “Les Attendants”), which parallels two storylines that seem to be completely disconnected from each other at first, yet gradually fuse together as the film progresses. This film is a raw, emotionally arresting account of two parallel desires: the need for sexual encounters and the need for a home. Shot entirely on analogue film, the intimacy translated seamlessly through camerawork.
On the fifth day of the Berlinale special edition, we had the pleasure of “interrogating” director Yana Ugrekhelidze about her recent feature film INSTRUCTIONS FOR SURVIVAL. In an insightful interview, she presents the story centred around a couple whose lives are a constant battle yet decide to stick together against all odds.
Director Ronny Trocker’s second feature film, HUMAN FACTORS (original title: “Der menschliche Faktor”) is a subtle family drama that smoothly transitions between different perspectives of an event. It circles around the microcosm of family and questions our perception of reality and how we experience it. A must-see feature that keeps you on the edge of the seat.
“Who are you?” – “The queen of punks, in the land of pain in the ass.” Seven girls live under the same roof but haven’t chosen each other, just like a family. Emerging from difficult backgrounds, here in the safe house, the girls find a new community, in a way they’d never experienced before. They are sharing joy and pain, passionately rebel against the shortcomings of their surrounding – the young women’s temperaments are different, their lust for life large, their place in society too precarious for things to be all peace, love and harmony. Home director Lora is always there for them when they need her. Or is it the other way around?
Over the course of two days and one night, as Lisa moves out of the apartment she has shared with Mara and into the one where she will live alone, many things will break and some will be repaired. Like the titular spider’s web, the film has a perfect, fragile geometry. Set almost entirely in interiors, it is also an involuntary summary of the paradoxical age of the pandemic. The transition from one abode to another, and the energy that is released between one story ending and another beginning, puts the entire ensemble into an altered state of grace… mehr
Alternating between waiting in the break room, having sex and lining up for the next john: Maria, a self-confident Italian in her mid-twenties, is new to the Berlin brothel where Sascha has been working for a long time. With her tattoos, her piercings and her penchant for writing poetry in a notebook during breaks, she is quite different from the others. The two women are immediately attracted to each other. Maria keeps her cash in a locker in the Berlin State Library. She regularly assures her father on the phone that she is doing well and earning a lot of money. For Sascha, the regional train connects her not only with her old life in provincial Brandenburg but also with her 11-year-old son… more
When a grave illness strikes down her father Paris, Artemis decides to return home to Greece after an absence of some years. Being the sole child of divorced parents, she is the only one who can look after Paris, who requires daily care. Father and daughter embark on a journey into knowledge and revelation, which heralds a new beginning for their relationship… more
In this feature debut by actor and podcast host Dasha Nekrasova, two mismatched roommates discover and relive the murky secrets of their new Upper East Side apartment. The film is as possessed as one of its protagonists: while she finds herself being taken over by the spirits of paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s young victims, the film itself is haunted by Italian “giallo” movies and 1970s psychological horror… more
DOCUMENTARY / ESSAYFILM
Director: Manque La Banca, Argentina / Braszil, 2021
There’s a monster in the Nahuel Huapi Lake. In the twilight, it spreads itself out across the surface of the water like a taut cowhide, grasping at its victims with sharp claws. Another monster also lurks in the surroundings of the lake, which is close to Bariloche in the Argentine Andes. It is called Capa Negra: the Black Cape. It haunts the ski slopes by night and should be avoided at all costs. Monsters from the legends of the Mapuche find their way into Manque La Banca’s feature-length debut Esquí via various twists and turns. Once there, they interact with the film’s other characters… more
Monika Treut’s Gendernauts was one of the first films to portray the transgender movement in San Francisco. Twenty years after the film screened in Panorama in 1999, Treut seeks out the pioneers of that time. What has changed? How have the lives of the protagonists evolved? San Francisco was once, as Annie Sprinkle puts it, the “clitoris of the USA”, but today the tech industry has a firm grip on the city. Aggressive gentrification has displaced the genderqueer community of yesteryear. Under the Trump administration, hard-won transgender rights are under massive pressure… more
Alexander’s transgender identity means he is obliged to lead a life of secrecy in his home country. Being identified as “female” in his passport means he cannot legally find work, either. Since even a visit to the doctor is a risk for him, he has begun hormone therapy to transition on his own with support from internet forums and the local transgender community. Desperate to escape their hopeless situation and leave the country, Alexander’s wife Mari decides to become a surrogate mother for 12,000 dollars. But their ostensibly pragmatic plan backfires… more
In this portrait that is multi-layered both in terms of form and content, a gay man confronts the ghosts of his past and explores hidden longings, unrequited love and tormenting feelings of guilt. Miguel was born in 1963 to a conservative, Catholic Lebanese father and an authoritarian mother from a wealthy Syrian family. Numerous conflicts over his national, religious and sexual identity compelled him to flee to Spain in his early twenties. In post-Franco Madrid where he lived an openly gay existence, his life resembled one long Almodóvarian orgy, full of excess and sexual taboo-breaking. This was followed first by a collapse and then a new beginning… more
Three years after the unexplained death of his niece Kalla, artist and filmmaker Angelo Madsen Minax returns to his Mormon family’s home in the small town in Michigan where his father’s sawmill is located. His sister Jesse, who had found temporary stability as a mother after a difficult youth and addiction problems, is suspected by the authorities of being responsible, along with her partner David, for the death of their daughter Kalla… more
Director: Conrad Veit & Charlotte Maria Kätzl, Germany, 2020
Looking like a rediscovered film reel from the early days of cinema and with its “animal drag” costumes, this Dadaist nature documentary imagines a utopia where any and all life forms are equal. Fabulous creatures that defy the binary classification of male and female and the division between… more
On International Dawn Chorus Day (May 3, 2020), birds from six continents join an online video call. They gossip about storms and cats and wires and dates. They share speculations about Egyptian filmmaker Shady Habash, known for his satirical anti-dictator music videos, who died the day before in Cairo’s notorious Tora prison. They talk about Egyptian queer activist Sarah Hegazi, famously incarcerated for flying a rainbow flag at a Cairo concert, now living as a political refugee in Toronto. They don’t realise that… more
Director: Truong Minh Quý, France / Singapore, 2020
In mining, a slag heap refers to an artificially raised hill consisting of the cleared waste that accumulates during the extraction of raw materials. Birch trees now grow where workers from near and far once went underground to labour hard for very little money. Nowadays, this is a place where men meet to have anonymous sex and share moments of intimacy… more
One rainy night, Gonçalo sets off to give his lost love one last letter. “Beware of the slippery road!” warns Diana from the street corner. In vain. An accident that is both an end and a beginning… more
During a conversation late at night, a woman asks her mother how to be a good person. As they talk, the woman thinks about an old lover. Seasons change and memories accumulate that bring no respite… more