Social change and political upheaval as well as family, relationships and identity are among themes at the Berlin Film Festival’s Forum.
The sidebar, dedicated to new forms of cinema, will screen 39 pics in the main lineup, six special screenings and eight in a showcase dedicated to Japanese filmmaker Minoru Shibuya. Many films explore the human psyche, social change and political upheaval.
In Jan Krueger’s “Looking for Simon,” a mother travels to Marseilles in search of her son, while in Hugo Vieira da Silva’s “Swans,” a father and son travel to Berlin to visit the boy’s estranged mother, who is in a coma. Korean doc “Cheonggyecheon Medley,” from artist Kelvin K. Park, examines the threatened demolition of a traditional metalworking district in Seoul within the wider context of Korean history and social structures. Similarly, Dutch film “De Engel van Doel” (An Angel in Doel) deals with a town’s destruction to make way for the harbor expansion in the Belgian city of Antwerp, focusing on the devastating consequences for the largely older inhabitants.
Three Czech and Slovak selections deal with family crisis and the impact of shrinking rural populations. Vaclav Kadrnka’s debut “Osmdesat dopisu” (Eighty Letters) and Zuzana Liova’s “Dom” (The House) tell stories of divided families — the former set during the late Socialist era, the latter in today’s economic depression. Erika Hnikova’s doc “Nesvatbov” chronicles a mayor’s efforts to counteract his village’s dwindling population with a matchmaking event that ends in failure.
Tales of police detention and prison also feature in this year’s selections. German TV production “Dreileben” — made up of three 90-minute films by directors Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf and Christoph Hochhaeusler — revolves around the escape of an allegedly violent criminal from police custody.
In Albanian Bujar Alimani’s feature debut “Amnesty,” a man and a woman get to know each other at a Tirana prison while visiting their spouses for state-sanctioned sexual relations.
Forum program includes 24 world premieres and 12 international premieres.
Fest runs Feb. 10-20.
FORUM MAIN PROGRAM
“Absent,” Marco Berger (Argentina)
“Amnesty,” Bujar Alimani (Albania/Greece/France)
“An Angel in Doel,” Tom Fassaert (Netherlands/Belgium)
“The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye,” Marie Losier (U.S./France)
“Brownian Movement,” Nanouk Leopold (Netherlands/Germany/Belgium)
“Cheonggyecheon Medley: A Dream of Iron,” Kelvin Kyung Kun Park (South Korea)
“Day Is Done,” Thomas Imbach (Switzerland)
“Eighty Letters,” Vaclav Kadrnka (Czech Republic)
“E-Love,” Anne Villaceque (France)
“Familiar Ground,” Stephane Lafleur (Canada)
“FIT,” Hirosue Hiromasa (Japan)
“Follow Me,” Johannes Hammel (Austria)
“Free Hands,” Brigitte Sy (France)
“Good Morning to the World!!,” Hirohara Satoru (Japan)
“Heaven’s Story,” Zeze Takahisa (Japan)
“Hi-So,” Aditya Assarat (Thailand)
“The House,” Zuzana Liova (Slovakia/Czech Republic)
“Household X,” Yoshida Koki (Japan)
“Idleness,” Alejandro Lingenti, Juan Villegas (Argentina)
“Kabul Dream Factory,” Sebastian Heidinger (Germany/Afghanistan)
“The Kite,” Prashant Bhargava (India/U.S.)
“Late Autumn,” Kim Tae-Yong (South Korea/Hong Kong/U.S.)
“Looking for Simon,” Jan Krueger (Germany/France)
“Made in Poland,” Przemyslaw Wojcieszek (Poland)
“Matchmaking Mayor,” Erika Hnikova (Czech Republic)
“The Residents,” Tiago Mata Machado (Brazil)
“Self Referential Traverse: Zeitgeist and Engagement,” Kim Sun (South Korea)
“Silver Bullets/Art History,” Joe Swanberg (U.S.)
“State of Violence,” Khalo Matabane (South Africa/France)
“Submarine,” Richard Ayoade (U.K.)
“Swans,” Hugo Vieira da Silva (Germany/Portugal)
“Take Shelter,” Jeff Nichols (U.S.)
“Territoire perdu,” Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd (France/Belgium)
“The Terrorists,” Thunska Pansittivorakul (Germany/Thailand)
“Under Control,” Volker Sattel (Germany)
“Utopians,” Zbigniew Bzymek (U.S.)
“Viva Riva!,” Djo Tunda Wa Munga (Democratic Republic of Congo/France/Belgium)
“Ways of the Sea,” Sheron Dayoc (Philippines)
“The Young Butler,” Marcela Said, Jean de Certeau (Chile)
“Dreileben,” Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf, Christoph Hochhaeusler (Germany)
“Eine Serie von Gedanken,” Heinz Emigholz (Germany)
“Himmel und Erde,” Michael Pilz (Austria) (1982, revival screening)
“Sleepless Nights Stories,” Jonas Mekas (U.S.)
“The Stool Pigeon,” Dante Lam (Hong Kong)
“Twenty Cigarettes,” James Benning (U.S.)