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Locals make mark on Berlinale

Young, edgy talent tapped for German perspective

BERLIN — The complete lineup of this year’s “Made in Germany — Perspektive Deutsches Kino,” the Berlin Intl. Film Festival’s Teutonic film section, again shows a preference for edgy works from local up-and-coming talent.

“This series allows us to show films which — due to their unusual formats — would not fit into other festival programs,” said Perspektive director Alfred Holighaus.

Travel is the theme connecting “Traffic Affairs” (Mitfahrer) and Jan Krueger’s “En Route” (Unterwegs). The former, described as a “Short Cuts” on the Autobahn, tells the stories of various hitchhikers whose brief trips changes their lives. “En Route” follows a young couple who misses out on an idyllic holiday when an uninvited but fascinating traveling companion puts their relationship to the test.

A darker side of life is chronicled in a number of pics, including Ulrike von Ribbeck’s “Charlotte,” about a homeless academic mingling with Berlin’s in crowd; Nicolai Rohde’s psychodrama “Between Night and Day” (Zwischen Nacht und Tag), in which a subway driver walks the line between hallucination and reality, wrestling with the trauma he sustained when a young woman threw herself in front of his train; and in Patrick Tauss’ tragicomedy “The Man” (Der Typ), the film’s protagonist gets an intense impression of the highs and lows of life in Frankfurt.

In actor Marcus Mittermeier’s directing debut “Muxmaeuschenstill,” Mux embarks on a self-appointed mission to set the world right, becoming a vigilante in the process. Branwen Okpako’s political thriller “Valley of the Innocent” (Tal der Ahnungslosen) chronicles Afro-German police officer Eva Meyer’s investigation into a murder in Dresden which turns into a trip back to the time before the Berlin Wall came down.

Two documentaries look at the past: “Blue Skin” (Flammend Herz) by Andrea Schuler and Oliver Ruts showcase three elderly men from a society still seen as alien by many and whose lives are expressed in their tattoos. Holger Jancke’s “Borderline” (Grenze) is the story of five young men posted in the East German city of Halberstadt during the mid-1980s to defend East Germany’s western border against NATO adversaries.

The section’s three short films include Saskia’s Jell’s “Blind,” about a high-rise development in the city of Jena which turns into a microcosm full of displaced emotions; Alexander Dierbach’s psychological drama “Silent Warriors” (Leise Krieger), in which the protagonist quite literally builds a cosmos of terrifying childhood memories for himself; and Silvio Helbig’s sci-fi pic “Transport,” about a “brave new world” where a cold and indifferent system holds no regard for individuals.

The Berlinale runs Feb. 5-15.

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