It’s that time again! The 73rd Berlinale is about to begin. To make sure you don’t miss any of the LGBTQIA+ films premiering at the Berlinale, we’ll introduce you to a few films every day with a blog post.
Starting today, you can find all the information about our TEDDY films here – with the theaters where the film is playing including date and time.
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Directed by: Patric Chiha
France, Belgium, Austria, 2023, 103′
It begins at the end of the 1970s, amidst the glittering nights of a club as a place of endless (im)possibilities and the timeless clockworkof a city. This is where John and May are waiting for an extraordinary, all-changing moment to occur. Around them, everything is loud and in motion, while they hold out in silence. Twenty-five years pass as they follow world events on their cathode-ray tube television set: Mitterrand’s term in office, the AIDS crisis, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and 9/11. John’s obsessive watching and waiting for this one big event to happen becomes a monster, and May is his long-suffering accomplice. From 1979 to 2004: from disco to techno. Fashions, movements and drugs change as they dance against time which passes by more and more quickly. Lost among others yet alone together, the two continue to observe the world from the sidelines. If only it were love. Patric Chiha transposes the couple from Henry James’s short story “The Beast in the Jungle” to the club, and contrasts their fateful waiting with the ultimate feeling of being-in-the-moment and the dancers’ hedonistic desire to dissolve time in everlasting choreographies.
16.02. / 19:15 CinemaxX 10
Directed by: Byun Sung-hyun
South Korea, 2023, 137′
Gil Boksoon leads a double life. She is both the mother of a teenage daughter, whom she is raising on her own, and a legendary professional killer at top-tier killing agency MK Ent. One could even say that she is better at killing people than raising them. But one day, either out of motherly instinct or simply because there are limits to what even the ruthless Boksoon is willing to do, she refuses to complete an assignment. In doing so, she herself becomes a target. In Kill Boksoon, director Byun Sung-hyun invites us into an astonishing, chilling world in which a killing agency offers an elite path to success and wealth, and talent scouting is all about spotting promising psychopaths and orphans who have nothing to lose. While Boksoon’s daughter is immersed in feelings typical of teenage turmoil, the emotional thermometers of her elders drop to sub-zero temperatures. The leading figures among these cold-blooded assassins are played by the brilliant Jeon Do-yeon and Sul Kyung-gu, inroles that are a million miles away from their cult melodramatic performances in filmmaker Lee Chang-dong’s work. Their characters’almost preternatural fighting skills allow for some spectacular set pieces that will blow your mind – hopefully not literally.
16.02. / 18:30 CinemaxX 8
16.02. / 18:30 CinemaxX 9
Directed by: Sebastian Mihilescu
Romania, Poland, Germany, 2023, 88′
One of the many virtues of Sebastian Mihilescu’s startling first feature Mammalia is that you never know where he’s taking you. From one scene to another, the film is always unpredictable, even disconcerting. This is the same feeling Camil (István Téglás), a troubled young man, experiences. He feels diminished and insecure with the women around him, especially with his partner, who disappears to join a secret community of women dedicated to eerie fertility rituals somewhere near a lake. But Mammalia rejects the very notion of synopsis. In the surrealist tradition, Mihilescu works with free associations, some of them as funny as they are unsettling, like when the shadow of Camil’s bald head over his partner’s naked body begins to look like a huge penis. A dream or wishful thinking? Masculinity and gender roles are always at stake in Mammalia, and always in crisis. Shot on vivid 16mm by Barbu Bloiu (DoP on Cristi Puiu’sSieranevada), Mammalia privileges fixed shots with movements within the frame, and the use of space is always very expressive. Itsweird humor is reminiscent of Roy Andersson. But Romania has its own tradition, that of Eugen Ionescu and The Theatre of the Absurd.
16.02. / 17:00 Kino Arsenal 1
Directed by: Claire Simon
France, 2023, 168′
A teenager is sitting in the doctor’s consultation room, the camera films her from behind so that she remains anonymous. She tells the doctor how she got pregnant. Her boyfriend had assured her he would take care. Now she has to make a difficult decision. You can feel her anguish in every sentence she utters. And there’s no sign of the boyfriend. This is one of the the first scenes in Claire Simon’s impressive documentary Notre corps. With a gaze full of tenderness, the French director looks around a gynaecology clinic in Paris, collecting scenes of births and cancer diagnoses, consultations on endometriosis and hormone therapy for an older trans woman. The film that emerges along the way starts off observational before becoming ever more personal, a film about what it means to live in a female body and a wonderful example of the power of documentary cinema. Notre corps gathers together experiences with which one usually feels left alone; it makes the structures visible that deem troubles individual; it reveals the extent to which the things we don’t dare to talk about have a societal dimension and need to be discussed.
16.02. / 11:00 Kino Arsenal 1
Directed by: Jennifer Reeder
USA, 2023, 100′
Jonny is tough, fearless and forthright. She picks locks with ease and seems to be able to take care of herself pretty well. She also slips rent money into her single father’s pocket. Their relationship is fragile and yet strangely symbiotic. Feeling overstretched, her father decides to send Jonny to live with a distant aunt. But even in the care of the strict Hildie, the teenager cannot seem to find peace. On her18th birthday, Jonny is given a cake baked according to a magical family recipe which triggers a radical metamorphosis. At her new school, the constant killing spree-emergency drills create a tense atmosphere and soon five girls go missing. Inexplicably fascinated by their disappearance, Jonny sets out to look for clues and a blood-soaked coming-of-age story takes its course. Jennifer Reeder’s new feature-length film is a dark, queer-feminist genre mix of body horror, gore and mystery. As in her earlier works, she looks at the world predominantly through the eyes of her young protagonists who, armed with biting humour and an unbroken sense of justice, manage to wrest moments of light-heartedness and solidarity from the twisted world of adults.
16.02. / 21:15 CinemaxX 10
Learn more about the film in our interview with Jennifer Reeder.
16.02. / 21:30 CinemaxX 5
16.02. / 21:30 CinemaxX 6
16.02. / 21:45 CinemaxX 8
16.02. / 21:45 CinemaxX 9