TEDDY TODAY: Thursday 22nd February

My oh my how time is flying – we’ve hit Thursday and are drawing near the final weekend of the Berlinale. But fear not, there’s still more premiers to catch, plus HEAPS of films to catch up on so stay tuned!

Today’s films, separated by over 80 years, look at mental health and the physical body. In both ‘Ludwig der Zweite’ and ‘Touch Me Not’, the confusions of the mind and body are analysed. Where Ludwig falls victim to psychological disarray in the first film, in the latter we see a more positive working through of the human psychology. A sign of the times, perhaps?

Ludwig der Zweite, König von Bayern (Ludwig II of Bavaria)
Director: Wilhelm Dieterle
Germany, 1930, 132′, German intertitles

Screening: 19.00, CinemaxX 8

In the last years of his life, Bavarian king Ludwig II (1845 – 1886) devotes himself to ambitious architectural projects, which strain the state coffers to the extreme. The monarch, who is afraid of people, also withdraws more and more into a dream world at his various castles. His brother is already in a psychiatric institute and Ludwig is also eventually put under the care of psychiatrist Bernhard von Gudden. The king attempted to get out from under this guardianship at Starnberg lake … “If the upper echelons don’t like you, you must go …” Taking a down to earth point of view, this story of the “fairy tale king” depicts the descent of a broken character into mental breakdown. In Wilhelm Dieterle’s interpretation, fawning courtiers and officials, the heir apparent, and the medical profession all contributed to hastening the collapse. So the dispassionate film, which did not hide Ludwig’s fascination with the naked male body, drew intense criticism from Bavaria. When Berlin’s censorship board refused to intervene, Munich’s police commissioner imposed a ban on showing it on the grounds that it was “a danger to the public order.”

Touch Me Not
Director: Adina Pintilie
Romania/Germany/Czech Republic/Bulgaria/France, 2018, 125′, English, German

Screening: 22.00, Berlinale Palast

Laura cannot bear to be touched and recoils whenever anyone catches hold of her or takes her hand. She goes to see a therapist,
and orders a male prostitute, but her body is still like an armour. In a loose succession of scenes, we follow other people in search
of intimacy. Christian, who has to live with many physical impairments, talks candidly about what turns him on, what turns him off and his love life with his long-standing girlfriend. The couple participate in a workshop on body awareness attended by people of all ages, with and without disabilities, such as Tudor. His bald head makes him seem strangely vulnerable and he has yet to discover and accept the manifold forms of his desire. The cool images and laboratory-like atmosphere of this film help the viewer to jettison their own preconceived opinions and ideas of intimacy, as it takes us on an emotional expedition to illuminate the many different facets of sexuality beyond all taboos. Each scene develops its own sense of truthfulness, regardless of whether the situations have been staged or present documentary footage.