Harsh documentaries pepper Berlin lineup

The Berlinale’s Perspektive Deutsches Kino German film sidebar has completed its lineup, with one theme shared by several works: the challenges faced by children and teens on the streets of German cities.

Three of four documentaries tackle the subject, including Astrid Schult’s “Zirkus is nich,” a distressing portrait of an 8-year-old boy from the Berlin district of Hellersdorf.

Bettina Bluemner’s “Prinzessinnenbad” follows a gang of girls around Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, while Maja Classen’s “Osdorf” examines young men of immigrant backgrounds in Hamburg’s so-called problem district.

“Today’s youngest generation of directors is not dealing with very easy topics,” said section head Alfred Holighaus. “Nevertheless, they find means in their films to make audiences want to deal with them.”

Sidebar’s entire program includes four docs and eight feature films.

In addition to the six films already announced, six more titles have been selected.

They include Marcel When’s documentary “Von einem der auszog — Wim Wenders’ fruehe Jahre” (One Who Set Forth — Wim Wenders’ Early Years), about the Teutonic filmmaker; Claudia Lehmann’s psychological drama “Memoryeffekt”; Sonja Heiss’ “Hotel Very Welcome,” an episodic film about young people in Asia either finding themselves or fleeing from themselves.

“The fact that one-third of the program of the Perspektive consists of powerful documentaries confirms a wonderful trend in German cinema, one which the Berlinale has consciously and actively supported for some years now,” said Berlinale topper Dieter Kosslick.

“The fact that two-thirds of the films in the program have been made by women is a trend we would also like to support in the future.”

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