FEATURE FILM

Der menschliche Faktor

Director: Ronny Trocker, Germany / Italy / Denmark, 2021

Sabine Timoteo, Mark Waschke
© Klemens Hufnagl / zischlermann filmproduktion

Jan and Nina travel with their two children to their weekend home on the Belgian coast to find some peace and quiet. But this is ruined by a mysterious break-in when the family arrives. Afterwards, Nina has a bloody nose and Zorro, their son Max’s pet rat, has disappeared. What happened? None of them is able to give the police a clear description of the intruders. Back in Germany, the successful advertising agency that this bilingual couple runs together becomes the target of a paint bomb attack. Jan had previously made the single-handed decision to take on the election campaign for a political party with populist tendencies… more

 

Das Mädchen und die Spinne

Director: Ramon Zürcher & Silvan Zürcher, Switzerland, 2021 

© Beauvoir Films

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

 

Glück

Director: Henrika Kull, Germany, 2021

Katharina Behrens, Adam Hoya
© Flare Film

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

 

Guzen to sozo

Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Japan, 2021

© 2021 Neopa/Fictive

As with the rest of his oeuvre, duplication and mirroring of female characters once again informs Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s latest work, Guzen to sozo. It would not be out of place to make a literary analogy and, if one were to regard his two previous films (Happy Hour and Asako I & II) as novels, this new work could be described as a collection of short stories. The film’s recurring rhythm amplifies this effect. The three episodes, which each revolve around a woman, are in turn divided into three movements, like a piece of music. They tell stories of an unexpected love triangle, a failed seduction trap, and an encounter that results from a misunderstanding… more

 

Kelti

Director: Milica Tomović, Serbia, 2021

Dubravka Kovjanić © Irena Canić

Belgrade in 1993. Serbia is at war, people are suffering on account of sanctions and inflation, but everyone is doing what they can. Mother Marijana is holding the family together. Her husband only raises his gaze from the floor when loving moments with his young daughter Minja brighten an endless string of daily chores. It is Minja’s eighth birthday. Instead of a cocker spaniel of her own, there’s the neighbour’s three-legged dog to play with, and the cake has been made with margarine instead of butter. In the living room, she and her classmates leap about dressed up as Ninja Turtles while the adults congregate in the kitchen. An ex-girlfriend rubs her new relationship in her ex’s face, there are heated discussions about who is to blame for the collapse of Yugoslavia and they all agree that it doesn’t take more than a bit of sperm to become a mother… more

 

La Mif

Director: Fred Baillif, Schwitzerland, 2021

Anaïs Uldry, Amandine Golay, Amélie Tonsi, Kassia Da Costa, Sara Tulu, Joyce Esther Ndayisenga, Charlie Areddy – © Stéphane Gros / Lumière Noire

“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? …more

 

Language Lessons

Director: Natalie Morales, USA, 2020

Mark Duplass, Natalie Morales © Jeremy Mackie

When Adam’s husband surprises him with weekly Spanish lessons, he’s unsure about where or how this new element will fit into his well-structured life. However, when an unexpected tragedy turns his life upside down, Adam decides to carry on with the lessons and develops a complicated emotional bond with his Spanish teacher, Cariño. But do you really know someone just because you’ve experienced a traumatic moment with them? more

 

Mishehu Yohav Mishehu

Director: Hadas Ben Aroya, Israel, 2021

Elisheva Weil, Leib Lev Levin
© Meidan Arama

Danny is pregnant by Max but she doesn’t get around to telling him at a party. Meanwhile, Max is busy trying out his girlfriend Avishag’s sexual fantasies with her. She wants him to hit her when they have sex. Avishag takes her bruises over to Dror, whose dog she sits. A familiarity develops between the older man and the young woman that neither of them expected… more

 

Moon, 66 Questions

Director: Jacqueline Lentzou, Greece / France, 2021

© Berlinale

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

 

Stop-Zemlia

Director: Kateryna Gornostai, Ukraine, 2021

Maria Fedorchenko © Oleksandr Roshchyn

“They say when you get goosebumps, your soul touches your body.”
It‘s Masha, Iana and Senia‘s last but one year of high school. Among the thriving pot plants in the classroom and to the sound effects of a Biology lesson about physical signs of stress, the young protagonists grapple with themselves and with one another. 16-year-old Masha is the quiet center of Kateryna Gornostai’s feature debut. Steering clear of both simplified narratives and overly simplistic psychology, the film depicts her as introverted, sensitive and in love with Sasha, another classmate whose aloofness and passivity she finds a perpetual challenge. When Masha is dancing alone in her room at night…more

 

The Scary of Sixty-First

Director: Dasha Nekrasova, USA, 2020

© Stag Pictures

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