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 …