Matteo Garrone’s “Pinocchio,” starring Roberto Benigni, will have its international premiere at the 70th Berlin Film Festival, the event announced Tuesday as new artistic director Carlo Chatrian unveiled the first titles for his debut edition.
“Pinocchio” will play as part of the Berlinale Special Gala section, which replaces the Out of Competition category.
Chatrian, who co-heads the Berlinale with executive director Mariette Rissenbeek, said: “Garrone succeeds in re-telling the well-known story with his very own world of images. Although he is faithful to Carlo Collodi’s ideas, he has nevertheless created a very personal Pinocchio that is much more cheerful than we’ve experienced before.”
Among other titles, Michael Stütz, the new head of the Panorama section, has picked films by Faraz Shariat (“No Hard Feelings”), Uisenma Borchu (“Black Milk”) and Visar Morina (“Exile”), filmmakers who embody “a young, headstrong generation,” the festival said in a statement, adding, they deliver “pluralistic, post-migration viewpoints.”
“Pari” director Siamak Etamadi, who hails from Iran and works in Greece, “exemplifies current transnational filmmaking,” the fest said, while documentary “Welcome to Chechnya,” by David France (an Oscar nominee with “How to Survive a Plague”), shows the “brutal and systematic persecution” of the LGBTQI community in Chechnya.
Documentary cinema is also represented by works from Patric Chiha, Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel, and Sébastien Lifshitz, winner of the Teddy, Berlin’s prize for the best LGBTQ film in the festival.
Here’s a full list of the Panorama titles, with descriptions courtesy of the festival.
“The Assistant” (U.S.) Dir: Kitty Green (International premiere)
Cast: Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Kristine Froseth, Makenzie Leigh
Jane has started her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. Her day is much like any other assistant’s, but she is soon confronted with an abusive daily routine, only to discover the true depth of the system into which she has entered.
“Aufzeichnungen aus der Unterwelt” (Notes from the Underworld) (Austria) Dir: Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel (World premiere)
Cast: Kurt Girk, Alois Schmutzer
A love letter to Vienna in the 1960s, and simultaneously a genre film of Austrian postwar history. Viennese folk song singers Kurt Girk and Alois Schmutzer talk about their lives in the Viennese underworld – for which they endured long jail sentences.
“Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets” (U.S.) Dir: Bill Ross, Turner Ross (International premiere)
A final binge in a closing bar on the edge of Las Vegas. With clear-sighted observation, the film allows us to share the familiarity between the regulars, creating the impression that we are sitting amongst them.
“Cidade Pássaro” (Shine Your Eyes) (Brazil/France). Dir: Matias Mariani (World premiere)
Cast: O. C. Ukeje, Chukwudi Iwuji, Indira Nascimento, Paulo Andre, Ike Barry
Because he has not heard anything for a while from his older brother Ikenna, musician Amadi travels from Nigeria to the metropolis of São Paulo. But Ikenna remains missing. Cidade Pássaro (“Shine Your Eyes”) is an enigmatic exploration on multiple levels.
“Digger” (Greece/France) Dir: Georgis Grigorakis (World premiere/debut film)
Cast: Vangelis Mourikis, Argyris Pantazaras
When Jonny visits his father Nikitas in his cabin in the woods after 20 years, the hermit ignores him. But to prevent the muddy ground from being pulled out from under their feet for reasons of profit, father and son must dig deep into it…
“Eeb Allay Ooo!” (India) Dir: Prateek Vats (Debut film)
Cast: Shardul Bhardwaj, Shashi Bhushan, Mahender Nath, Naina Sareen, Nitin Goel, Nutan Sinha
Monkey scarers such as Anjani have an exceedingly tricky job in downtown New Delhi. The film depicts the harsh life of a migrant and subtly mirrors the social realities of today with the sensitivity of a documentary and an Indian sense of humor.
“Exil” (Exile) (Germany/Belgium/Kosovo) Dir: Visar Morina
Cast: Mišel Matičević, Sandra Hüller, Rainer Bock, Thomas Mraz
The signs that Kosovo native and pharmacologist Xhafer is being hazed at work are increasing – or is it just his imagination? “Exile” portrays a person in the stress field of integration and loss of identity.
“Futur Drei” (No Hard Feelings) (Germany) Dir: Faraz Shariat (World premiere/Debut film)
Cast: Benjamin Radjaipour, Banafshe Hourmazdi, Eidin Jalali
German-Iranian Parvis’s life revolves around pop culture, Grindr dates and raves. Through the refugee siblings Banafshe and Amon, Parvis rediscovers his past. A sensitive film on first love and the life as a migrant in Germany.
“Håp” (Hope) (Norway/Sweden) Dir: Maria Sødahl
Cast: Andrea Bræin Hovig, Stellan Skarsgård
When Anja is diagnosed with a brain tumor, the everyday life of her patchwork family implodes and the cooling relationship between her and her partner Thomas is confronted with the new reality.
“Jetzt oder morgen” (Running on Empty) (Austria) Dir: Lisa Weber (World premiere)
Lisa Weber’s portrait of Claudia, who had a son when she was 15 and now lives together with him, her mother and her brother in Vienna, is an affectionate and gentle film about the passing of time and about what happens when seemingly nothing is happening.
“Kød & Blod” (Wildland) (Denmark) Dir: Jeanette Nordahl (World premiere/Debut film)
Cast: Sandra Guldberg Kampp, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Joachim Fjelstrup, Elliott Crosset Hove, Besir Zirici
Ida moves in with her aunt and cousins following her mother’s death. All is full of love but it soon becomes clear that the clan engages in criminal activities. A female-driven exploration of family conflict fueled by affections and cut throat ethics.
“Las Mil y Una” (Argentina/Germany) Dir: Clarisa Navas (World premiere)
Cast: Sofia Cabrera, Ana Carolina Garcia, Mauricio Vila, Luis Molina
Set in a community of project houses, Iris, a young woman with a tough past, meets Renata and feels immediately attracted to her. A tender coming-of-age story about friendship and first love in a hostile environment.
“Pari” (Greece/France/Netherlands/Bulgaria) Dir: Siamak Etemadi (World premiere/Debut film)
Cast: Melika Foroutan, Shahbaz Noshir, Sofia Kokkali, Argyris Padazaras, Lena Kitsopoulou
Iranian mother Pari’s search for her missing son in Athens will force her on a journey to the dark corners of the city, as well as into the hidden depth of her own self.
“Petite fille” (Little Girl) (France) Dir: Sébastien Lifshitz (World premiere)
The touching portrait of eight-year-old Sasha, who questions her gender and in doing so, evokes the sometimes disturbing reactions of a society that is still invested in a biological boy-girl system of thought.
“Schwarze Milch” (Black Milk) (Germany/Mongolia) Dir: Uisenma Borchu (World premiere)
Cast: Gunsmaa Tsogzol, Uisenma Borchu, Terbish Demberel, Franz Rogowski
In Uisenma Borchu’s second semi-biographical film, a young woman is searching for her roots and discovers an idiosyncratic, radical sensuality that not only transgresses Mongolian conventions but also those of the supposedly more liberal West.
“Si c’était de l’amour” (If It Were Love) (France) Dir: Patric Chiha (World premiere)
The creation and performance of Gisèle Vienne’s dance piece “Crowd” is exceptionally translated into cinematic language in this documentary of sensual tendencies. An exhilarating neon-light fresco of a young party crowd to the beat of loud electronic music.
“Suk Suk” (Hong Kong, China) Dir: Ray Yeung
Cast: Tai Bo, Ben Yuen, Patra Au Ga Man, Lo Chun Yip, Lam Yiu Sing
In Hong Kong, Pak and Hoi meet by chance. Grandfathers today, they lived married lives, providing for their families. A passionate and delicate film about love later in life.
“Welcome to Chechnya” (U.S.) Dir: David France (International premiere)
The first documentary about the activists who join forces to save other people’s and their own lives in the face of the systematic persecution of the LGBTQI community carried out by the Chechen authorities. A tour-de-force charged with resilience and courage.