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James Schamus’ Directorial Debut ‘Indignation’ to Play in Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama

Daniel Burman’s 'El Rey del Once' will open the Panorama Special program

El Rey del Once -The Tenth Man, directded by Daniel Burman
Courtesy: FilmSharks Intl.

LONDON — Berlin Film Festival section Panorama has added further films to its lineup, which will include “Indignation,” the directorial debut of producer James Schamus. Panorama also revealed that a Special Teddy Award, which celebrates gay and lesbian filmmaking, will be awarded to Christine Vachon, one of the producers of “Carol.”

The Panorama Special program will open on Feb. 12 with Daniel Burman’s “El rey del Once” (The Tenth Man), and the previously announced “War on Everyone” by John Michael McDonagh. “El rey del Once,” the festival said, is “a sensitive tale that bursts with vitality, a loving portrait of multi-layered life in Once, the Jewish quarter of Buenos Aires.” Burman’s debut film, “A Chrysanthemum Bursts in Cinco Esquinas,” opened the main program of Panorama in 1998, and his 2004 film “Lost Embrace” won two Silver Bears in Berlin.

“Indignation,” which is based on Philip Roth’s novel, centers on a young student (Logan Lerman) who champions his moral and political ideals in fierce debates with the dean of his college at a time when the Korean War has started to undermine the still youthful and brash confidence of U.S. citizens. Schamus, one of the U.S.’s leading independent producers, was president of the Berlinale international jury in 2014.

Another standout in the program is Wayne Wang’s “While the Women Are Sleeping,” which was adapted from a short story by Javier Marias. The movie features Takeshi Kitano, who “elegantly depicts a Japanese author on holiday, whose ability to write comes and goes with the somnambular kisses of his muse, a rather dangerous lady,” the festival said. Kitano appears under his artist name Beat Takeshi. Wang contributed two films — “Smoke” and “Blue in the Face” — to the Berlin competition in 1995.

Ira Sachs’ “Little Men” portrays “one of life’s first hard-hitting experiences of finiteness: the end of a childhood friendship.” Set in present-day Brooklyn, the movie looks at the gentrification that “not only divides social classes but also damages young people’s capacity to bond.” Sachs previously came to Berlin with “Keep the Lights On,” which won the Teddy Award in 2012, and “Love Is Strange” in 2014, both of which played in Panorama.

Andrew Neel’s “Goat” looks at “how well-suited initiation rites are for breaking a young man’s spirit.” No details have been left out in depicting the traumatic experiences of college years in this work based on a script by David Gordon Green. Set in the present, it gives “a picture of decades of systematic dehumanization such as found at U.S. educational institutions and shows how these have worked towards maintaining the white status quo,” the festival said. The film was produced by Vachon and James Franco.

Following the success of his first film, “Harmony Lessons” (Berlinale Competition 2013), Emir Baigazin returns with “The Wounded Angel.” This examines the state of mind of teenagers growing up in Kazakhstan in an era of extreme upheaval. It forms the second part of “a visually stunning trilogy about young people and their complex relationship with a world without consistent morals.”

German director Doris Dörrie returns to Japan with “Fukushima, mon Amour,” following “Cherry Blossoms — Hanami,” which played in Berlin competition in 2008. A young German woman, who wants to escape her own problems, makes friends with an elderly geisha in the restricted zone of Fukushima. The two women have to learn to free themselves from the prisons of their own minds.

Vachon, who will be honored with the Special Teddy at this year’s award ceremony, has been producing movies for more than 20 years with her production company Killer Films, and a dozen of her films have been shown in Berlin.

Her first film as a producer, Todd Haynes’ debut “Poison,” won Berlin’s Teddy Award in 1991. Vachon also produced “Boys Don’t Cry,” for which Hilary Swank won best actress at the Oscars in 2000, and “Still Alice,” which earned a best actress Oscar for Julianne Moore in 2015. Haynes’ 2015 film “Carol” has actresses Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara chasing awards.

Vachon will be a guest of Berlin’s Queer Academy Summit, and will present, as part of the Teddys’ 30th anniversary program, John Cameron Mitchell’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” which won the Teddy Award in 2001.

Aloys – Switzerland/France
By Tobias Nölle
With Georg Friedrich, Tilde von Overbeck
World premiere

El rey del once (The Tenth Man) – Argentina
By Daniel Burman
With Alan Sabbagh, Julieta Zylberberg, Usher Barilka, Elvira Onetto
World premiere

Goat – U.S.
By Andrew Neel
With Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, James Franco
International premiere

Grüße aus Fukushima (Fukushima, mon Amour) – Germany
By Doris Dörrie
With Rosalie Thomass, Kaori Momoi
World premiere

Indignation – U.S.
By James Schamus
With Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon
International premiere – debut

Jonathan – Germany
By Piotr J. Lewandowski
With Jannis Niewöhner, André Hennicke, Julia Koschitz, Thomas Sarbacher, Barbara Auer
World premiere – debut

Kater (Tomcat) – Austria
By Händl Klaus
With Lukas Turtur, Philipp Hochmair
World premiere

La helada negra (The Black Frost) – Argentina
By Maximiliano Schonfeld
With Ailín Salas, Lucas Schell, Benigno Lell
World premiere

Lantouri – Iran
By Reza Dormishian
With Navid Mohammadzadeh, Maryam Palizban, Baran Kosari
International premiere

Little Men – U.S.
Cross-Section Generation
By Ira Sachs
With Jennifer Ehle, Greg Kinnear, Alfred Molina
International premiere

Ranenyy Angel (The Wounded Angel) – Kazakhstan/France/Germany
By Emir Baigazin
With Nurlybek Saktaganov, Madiar Aripbai, Madiar Nazarov, Omar Adilov
World premiere

Der Ost-Komplex (The GDR Complex) – Germany
By Jochen Hick
World premiere

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures – U.S./Germany
By Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
With Edward Mapplethorpe, Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, Gloria von Thurn und Taxis
International premiere

Mariupolis – Lithuania/Germany/France/Ukraine
By Mantas Kvedaravicius
World premiere

Uncle Howard – U.K./U.S.
By Aaron Brookner
With Jim Jarmusch, Sara Driver, Tom DiCillo, Brad Gooch, Frederic Mitterand
European premiere

While the Women Are Sleeping – Japan
By Wayne Wang
With Hidetoshi Nishijima, Shioli Kutsuna, Sayuri Oyamada, Lily Franky, Beat Takeshi
World premiere