Docs dock in Berlin

Pix on Castro, Chan highlight fest sidebar

The Berlin Film Festival has revealed the lineup of documentaries within its arthouse section Panorama, including pics by former Berlinale participants Oliver Stone, Alex Law and Andreas Dresen.

Panorama Dokumente takes off Feb. 7 with Alex Law’s “Traces of a Dragon: Jackie Chan and his Lost Family,” a portrait of the stunt hero against the background of Hong Kong’s turbulent history.

Fidel Castro is the topic of Oliver Stone’s Spanish production “Comandante.” Also from Spain is Dominique Abel’s “Seville, South Side” (“Poligono Sur”), a docu about the Gitano culture.

A central theme at Berlinale, picked up by other festival sections as well, is the Middle East conflict, at Panorama represented by Mohamed Zran’s “Chant of the Millenium” (“Le Chant du millenaire”) and Udi Aloni’s “Local Angel — Theological Political Fragments.”

AIDS addressed

AIDS is the topic of two U.S. entries, “Fight Back, Fight AIDS — 15 Years of Act Up,” by James Wentzy, and “The Gift,” by Louise Hogarth.

German pics include Jochen Hick’s “Ich kenn keinen! — Allein unter Heteros” (“Talk Straight — The World of Rural Queers”); Barbara Teufel’s look back on a Berlin women’s commune, “Die Ritterinnen” (“The Female Knights”); and “Herr Wichmann von der CDU” (“Vote for Henry!”), by Andreas Dresen, who last year snatched kudos for “Grill Point.”

Reminiscing on Germany’s film past are Lothar Lambert’s tribute to 80-year-old Berlin filmmaker Eva Ebner, “Ich bin, Gott sei Dank, beim Film!” (Thank God, I’m in the Movies! ), and Miron Zownir’s portrait of Bruno S., anti-hero of two Werner Herzog movies in the mid-’70s.

Homage will be paid to the Italian filmmaker and co-founder of the Turin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in “Ottavio Mario Mai,” a film by Giovanni Minerba and Alessandro Golinelli.

Teutonic sidebar entries

The radical changes that continue to shape the new Berlin since the fall of the Wall are addressed in two films screening in the Berlin Intl. Film Festival’s exclusively Teutonic sidebar Perspektive Deutsches Kino.

“Unternehmen Paradies,” from Volker Sattel, documents the development of the city into the nation’s capital, while Igor Paasch’s documentary “Let It Rock!” offers a nostalgic look at downtown Berlin.

They are among five additional titles that have been selected for the Perspektive, completing this year’s lineup of 11 titles from up-and-coming local filmmakers.

Norbert Baumgarten’s comedy “Befreite Zone” stars Florian Lukas and Johanna Klante in a story of deception in a small town in the state of Brandenburg.

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