Berlin International Film Festival 2009

The Festival says: "The International Forum of New Cinema – or Forum – is the most daring section of the Berlinale programme. Avant-garde, experimental, essays, lengthy observations, political reportages and yet-to-be-discovered cinematographers: in the Forum everything new or unconventional comes together and finds an audience known for its enthusiasm and discerning cinematic eye." There are also a number of free entry exhibition pieces, not listed here.

View other Berlin International Film Festival Films by strand: Berlinale Shorts, Berlinale Special, Competition, Generation, German Cinema, Out Of Competition, Panorama, Perspektive Deutches Kino, Retrospective: 70mm - Bigger Than Life

Beeswax Beeswax
Beeswax and The Exploding Girl
16-18-4 (Country: Japan; Year: 2008; Director: Tomonari Nishikawa)
This film was shot by a still camera with 16 lenses, which takes a series of 16 pictures within 1.5 seconds. It shows scenes of Tokyo Racecourse, when it was holding the biggest race of the year, Japanese Derby.
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Affectionately Known As Alex (Country: South Africa; Year: 2008; Director: Danny Turken)
Examination of the tensions between South Africans and Zimbabwean refugees.
All Fall Down (Country: Canada; Year: 2009; Director: Philip Hoffman)
Experimental documentary focussing on the past of a 19th Century Ontario farmhouse.
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Anamnesis (Country: Canada; Year: 2008; Director: Scott Miller Berry)
A handmade diary film exploring home, memory and history.
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Angels On Our Shoulders (Country: South Africa; Year: 2008; Director: Andy Spitz)
Story of a school set up in a bus at the Rand Airport Displacement Camp in Johannesburg and the hope it offers for the community.
Can Go Through Skin Can Go Through Skin
Can Go Through Skin and Marin Blue
Araya (Country: Venezuela, France; Year: 1959; Director: Margot Benacerraf; Writer: Margot Benacerraf, Pierre Seghers; Stars: José Ignacio Cabrujas, Laurent Terzieff)
Study of a Venezuelan saltworks.
Ascolta! (Country: UK, Italy; Year: 2008; Director: Stephen Dwoskin)
Short, inspired by Puccini’s opera Turandot.
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The Beast Stalker (Ching yan) (Country: Hong Kong; Year: 2008; Director: Dante Lam; Writer: Dante Lam, Wai Lun Ng; Stars: Nicholas Tse, Jingchu Zhang, Nick Cheung, Kai Chi Liu, Sherman Chung, Philip Keung, Esther Kwan, Jing-hung Kwok, Pu Miao, Suet-yin Wong)
A cop responsible for a child's death, recklessly tangles with a kidnapper despite the possible consequences.
Beeswax (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Andrew Bujalski; Writer: Andrew Bujalski; Stars: Tilly Hatcher, Maggie Hatcher, Alex Karpovsky, Katy O'Connor, David Zellner, Kyle Henry, S.J. Anderson, Anne Dodge, Betty Blackwell, Bryan Poyser)
Two twins face choices as they reach adulthood.
The Blessing (Baraka) (Country: South Africa; Year: 2008; Director: Omelga Mthiyane, Riaan Hendricks, Marianne Gysae)
Story of the tribulations of a Somali-run grocery store near Cape Town.
Sweetgrass Sweetgrass
Sweetgrass and The Beast Stalker
Block B (Country: Malaysia, Canada; Year: 2008; Director: Christopher Chan Fui Chong; Writer: Toni Kassim; Stars: Shanthini Venugopal)
A building becomes a living painting.
Berlinale Shorts
The Blue Generation (Generasi biru) (Country: Indonesia; Year: 2009; Director: Garin Nugroho, John De Rantau, Dosy Omar)
Documentary about Indonesian rock band, Slank - known for their political lyrics.
The Burning Man (Country: South Africa; Year: 2008; Director: Adze Ugah)
The story of Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave, a shy construction worker from Mozambique, who would go on to become an international symbol after being burnt to death by a mob.
Burrowing (Man tänker sitt) (Country: Sweden; Year: 2009; Director: Fredrik Wenzel, Henrik Hellström; Stars: Sebastian Eklund, Jörgen Svensson, Hannes Sandahl, Marek Kostrzewski, Bodil Wessberg)
A look at the complexities of modern family life through the eyes of a young boy.
By Comparison (Zum Vergleich) (Country: Germany, Austria; Year: 2009; Director: Harun Farocki)
Focussing on the origins of bricks which build our surroundings.
Double Take Double Take
Double Take and My Only Sunshine
Calimucho (Country: Netherlands; Year: 2008; Director: Eugenie Jansen; Writer: Rogier de Blok, Natasha Gerson; Stars: Dicky Kilian, Willy Soeurt, Peter Verberk, Ellie Teeuw, Tarek Hannoudi, Ralph Huppertz, Manfred Huppertz, Joshy Huppertz, Freddy Kenton, Evelyne Bouglione, Timo Soeurt)
Docudrama centring on Circus Harlekino - a wandering troupe.
Can Go Through Skin (Kan door huid heen) (Country: Netherlands; Year: 2009; Director: Esther Rots; Writer: Esther Rots; Stars: Rifka Lodeizen, Wim Opbrouck, Chris Borowski)
A woman responds to assault by moving to the countryside and reconstructing an old farmhouse, but her sanity proves fragile.
Citizen Juling (Polamuang Juling) (Country: Thailand; Year: 2008; Director: Kraisak Choonhavan, Ing K., Manit Sriwanichpoom; Writer: Ing K)
Travelogue prompted by the murder of a Buddhist schoolteacher.
Clinch (Schwitzkasten) (Country: Austria; Year: 1978; Director: John Cook; Writer: John Cook, Helmut Zenker, Helmut Zenker; Stars: Hermann Juranek, Christa Schubert, Franz Schuh, Werner Juranek, Waltraud Misak, Josef Boselmann, Elisabeth Boselmann, Johanna Froidl, Ernst Neuhold)
A man searches for himself in Vienna.
Deep In The Valley (Yanaka boshoku) (Country: Japan; Year: 2009; Director: Funahashi Atsushi; Stars: Nomura Yuki, Sato Mayu, Kato Katsuhiro, Ogawa Miyoko)
Funahashi Atsushi’s moving third film, is a semi-documentary portrait of his Tokyo neighborhood.
Pardon My French Pardon My French
Pardon My French and The One Man Village
Defamation (Hashmatsa) (Country: Israel, Austria; Year: 2009; Director: Yoav Shamir)
The filmmaker's personal quest to determine the role that anti-Semitism plays today.
Dive Into Mankind (Country: Belgium; Year: 2008; Director: Ria Pacquée)
From East to West and West to East. Between clean and dirty water.
Berlinale Shorts
Doctor Ma's Country Clinic (Ma dai fu de zhen suo) (Country: China; Year: 2008; Director: Cong Feng)
Exploration of the practice of a traditional Chinese doctor in a rural province.
Double Take (Country: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands; Year: 2009; Director: Johan Grimonprez; Stars: Ron Burrage, Mark Perry), Trailer
As Cold War tensions rise and the world teeters on the brink of destruction, Alfred Hitchcock meets his double.
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Encirclement (L'encerclement) (Country: Canada; Year: 2008; Director: Richard Brouillette)
Documentary about neo-liberalism.
Love Exposure Love Exposure
Love Exposure and Green Waters
The Exploding Girl (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Bradley Rust Gray; Writer: Bradley Rust Gray; Stars: Zoe Kazan, Mark Rendall, Franklin Pipp, Maryann Urbano)
Two long-time confidants negotiate feelings and friendships during their college break.
Face I and II (Country: Germany; Year: 1969; Director: Ludwig Schönherr)
Experimental examination of physionogmy.
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From Arusha To Arusha (D'Arusha à Arusha) (Country: France, Rwanda, Canada; Year: 2008; Director: Christophe Gargot)
Contrasting trials - in and out of Rwanda - after the 1994 genocide.
Green Waters (Aguas Verdes) (Country: Argentina; Year: 2009; Director: Mariano De Rosa; Writer: Mariano De Rosa; Stars: Alejandro Fiore, Milagros Gallo, Diego Cremonesi, Julieta Mora, Efrat Wolns)
A man becomes paranoid about the sexual appetite of his daughter while on holiday.
A Grim Fairy Tale (Country: Canada; Year: 2008; Director: Bonnie Devine)
The contents of a chest tell the story of the battle for the Black Hills.
Forum Expanded Talk and Show
Vital Signs Vital Signs
Vital Signs and Clinch
The Happiest Girl In The World (Cea mai fericita fata din lume) (Country: Romania; Year: 2009; Director: Radu Jude; Writer: Radu Jude, Augustina Stanciu; Stars: Andreea Bosneag, Doru Catanescu, Alexandru Georgescu, Diana Gheorghian, Violeta Haret, Bogdan Marhodin, Vasile Muraru, Serban Pavlu, Luminita Stoianovici, Andi Vasluianu)
Darkly comic look at the trouble money can bring, after a woman travels to a city to star in a commercial in return for winning a car.
Help Gone Mad (Sumashedshaya pomoshch) (Country: Russia; Year: 2009; Director: Boris Khlebnikov; Writer: Boris Khlebnikov, Aleksandr Rodionov; Stars: Evgeny Syty, Sergey Dreiden, Anna Mikhalkova, Alexander Yatsenko)
A down on his luck man is taken in by an elderly crusader and co-opted for adventure.
A History Of Israeli Cinema (Country: Israel, France; Director: Raphaël Nadjari)
Weighty document of reel life in Israel.
A Horse Is Not A Metaphor (Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Barbara Hammer)
Filmmaker Barbara Hammer fights ovarian cancer with visions of horseback riding and river swimming in her new experimental film.
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The Korean Wedding Chest (Country: Germany; Year: 2009; Director: Die koreanische Hochzeitstruhe)
A journey through modern-day soul, centring on the symobolism of the "wedding chest".
Members Of The Funeral Members Of The Funeral
Members Of The Funeral and Sanctus
Land Of Scarecrows (Heosuabideuleui ddang) (Country: South Korea, France; Year: 2008; Director: Gyeong-tae Roh; Writer: Gyeong-tae Roh; Stars: Nellisa Arnado, Adelyn Bacon, Jocelyn Baculi, Phuong Thi Bich, Elena Heyrosa, Ji-Young Jang, Duwon Jung, David Kim, Sun-Young Kim, Misun Lee)
The programme says: "Land Of Scarecrows is a science fiction film about human emotions that take on surreal dimensions in dilapidated interior spaces and spread out into areas that are neither urban nor rural."
Letters To The President (Country: Canada, Iran; Year: 2009; Director: Petr Lom)
A snapshot of letters sent to Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
Lint Lent Land (Country: Germany; Year: 2009; Director: Isabell Spengler)
Rather cryptically, the programme says: "does that mean "Dust has temporarily given this land its form"?"
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Love Exposure (Ai no mukidashi) (Country: Japan; Year: 2008; Director: Sion Sono; Writer: Sion Sono; Stars: Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando)
A man becomes a photo voyeur so that he can sin enough to confess to his father.
Lunch Break And Exit (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Sharon Lockhart)
Lunch Break/Exit yield from Lockhart's timely new film and photographic series about the bleak state of US labour. In Lunch Break, a single tracking shot through a long corridor where workers take their lunch hour at the massive shipyard, Bath Iron Works in Maine, reveals how 42 workers spend their lunch break. In Exit, the frame constantly fills with teaming workers each day as they head for home after a long day's work.
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A Horse Is Not A Metaphor A Horse Is Not A Metaphor
A Horse Is Not A Metaphor and Rachel
Marin Blue (Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Matthew Hysell; Writer: Matthew Hysell; Stars: Cory Knauf, Najarra Townsend, Elliott Ehlers, Josh Cobb, Trista Robinson, Tanya F. Yarbrough, Sean Guse, Kate Melia, Brett Mann, Alanna Blair)
Story of an unusual romance between a narcoleptic woman and a man who can't recall his past.
Material (Country: Germany; Year: 2009; Director: Thomas Heise)
A montage of film material that dates back to the German Democratic Republic of the late 1980s and stretches to the present, the year 2008.
Members Of The Funeral (Jang-rae-sig-ui member) (Country: South Korea; Year: 2008; Director: Baek Seung-Bin; Stars: Lee Ju-Seung, Yoo Ha-Bok, Park Myung-Shin, Kim Byul)
The tribulations of family members who don't want to attend the funeral of one of their own.
Mental (Seishin) (Country: Japan, US; Year: 2008; Director: Kazuhiro Soda; Writer: Kazuhiro Soda)
A documentary study of a Japanese doctor treating mental illness.
The Mermaid And The Diver (La Sirena Y El Buzo) (Country: Mexico, Spain, Nicaragua; Year: 2009; Director: Mercedes Moncada Rodríguez)
Lyrical examination of a Nicaraguan myth that those who die at sea have been touched by a mermaid, told through the story of a drowned sailor.
Defamation Defamation
Defamation and Land Of Scarecrows
My Dear Enemy (Meotjin haru) (Country: South Korea; Year: 2008; Director: Lee Yoon-Ki; Writer: Park Eun-yeong, Taira Azuko ; Stars: Jeon Do-Youn, Ha Jung-Woo)
Road movie about an unexpected reunion between two exes.
My Greatest Escape (Ne me libérez pas, je m'en charge) (Country: France; Year: 2009; Director: Fabienne Godet)
Documentary tracing the story of Michel Vaujour, who escaped from a Paris prison on board a helicopter.
My Only Sunshine (Hayat Var) (Country: Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria; Year: 2008; Director: Reha Erdem; Writer: Reha Erdem; Stars: Elit Iscan, Erdal Besikcioglu, Levend Yilmaz)
A girl endures a difficult transition to adulthood, living in poverty on the banks of the Bosphorus.
Naked Of Defenses (Mubobi) (Country: Japan; Year: 2008; Director: Ichii Masahide; Stars: Moriya Ayako, Konno Sanae, Nishimoto Ryuki, Nakamura Kuniaki, Kakinuma Naoko, Kumanomido Aya, Asama Yuki, Ichii Hayata)
A woman who suffered a miscarriage finds her world changed by an encounter with a pregnant woman.
New York. Ein visuelles Arbeitstagebuch (Country: Germany; Year: 1979; Director: Ludwig Schönherr)
Visual diary of the US city.
Forum Expanded
The One Man Village (Semaan Bil Day'ia) (Country: Lebanon; Year: 2008; Director: Simon El Habre), Official Site
An old man talks about his life in the Lebanese village of which he is the only remaining occupant.
Out In The Light (Country: Germany; Year: 2008; Director: Martin Ebner, Katja Eydel, Klaus Weber)
Experimental video "follows the elusive line between human consciousness and trustingly giving in to a possible loss of control".
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Pardon My French (Un Chat Un Chat) (Country: France; Year: 2009; Director: Sophie Fillières; Stars: Chiara Mastroianni, Agathe Bonitzer, Malik Zidi, Dominique Valadié, Sophie Guillemin)
A black comedy about the relationship between a woman and a female stalker.
Puccini Conservato (Country: Canada, Italy; Year: 2008; Director: Michael Snow)
Puccini Conservato uses a CD, a sound recording of some Puccini music (from La Boheme). The source of the sound (the loudspeakers) in a continuous hand-held panning (guided by the music), intercut with shots of flowers or wood-fire, exemplifying the lyricism in Puccini's music.
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Rachel (Country: France, Belgium; Year: 2009; Director: Simone Bitton)
In 2003 the 22-year-old American activist Rachel Corrie died trying to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip. She was killed by a bulldozer operated by the Israeli army. An Israeli military investigation ruled that her death was an accident. The film reconstructs the case and reaches a different conclusion.
Sanctus (Country: US; Year: 1990; Director: Barbara Hammer)
1950s X-rays are used to explore the body's structure.
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Sense Of Architecture (Country: Germany; Year: 2008; Director: Heinz Emigholz)
Forty-two contemporary architectural projects of Austrian origins.
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Slow Summer (Langsamer Sommer) (Country: Austria; Year: 1976; Director: Michael Pilz; Writer: John Cook, Michael Pilz; Stars: John Cook, Eva Grimm, Katharina Pilz, Michael Pilz, Susanne Schecht)
A film made in 1976 that chronicles a summer spent in Vienna four years previously
Sometime In August (Mitte Ende August) (Country: Germany; Year: 2008; Director: Sebastian Schipper; Writer: Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Sebastian Schipper; Stars: Marie Bäumer, Anna Brüggemann, André Hennicke, Milan Peschel)
Summer in an isolated house proves the setting for drama as a couple's disparate relatives begin to show up on the doorstep.
Soundless Wind Chime (Wu Sheng Feng Ling) (Country: Hong Kong, Switzerland, China; Year: 2009; Director: Kit Hung; Writer: Kit Hung; Stars: Lu Yulai, Bernhard Bulling)
The paths of a restaurant worker and a petty thief cross, with romantic implications.
Still Point (Country: US; Year: 1989; Director: Barbara Hammer)
The programme says: "Still Point whirls around a point of centeredness as four screens of home and homelessness, and weather, architecture and sports signify the constant movement and haste of late twentieth century life."
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The Story Of Apanatschi And Her Redheaded Wrestler (Country: Canada; Year: 2008; Director: Bear Witness)
Reinvisioning of computer console "fighting games".
Forum expanded Talk and Show
Sweetgrass (Country: US; Year: 2009; Director: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Ilisa Barbash)
A year in the life of a flock of sheep and the people who tend to them.
Toads (Kröten) (Country: Germany; Year: 2008; Director: Milena Gierke)
Images of a stream in southern France: it's the toads' mating season.
Forum Expanded Short
Treeless Mountain (Country: US, South Korea; Year: 2008; Director: So Yong Kim; Writer: So Yong Kim; Stars: Kim Hee-Yeon, Kim Song-Hee)
Examination of childhood, seen through the eyes of two youngsters left by their mother with an alcoholic aunt.
Triangulum (Country: Germany, Egypt, Brazil; Year: 2008; Director: Melissa Dullius, Gustavo Jahn)
Past, present and where they meet.
Forum Expanded Short
Unknown Hamburg (Das Unbekannte Hamburg) (Country: Germany; Year: 1988; Director: Ludwig Schönherr)
Portrait of the German city.
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V2 (Puccini) (Country: France, Italy; Year: 2008; Director: Christian Lebrat)
A cellist freely interprets some famous melodies from Puccini’s La Bohème.
Forum Expanded Tre Puccini
Vital Signs (Country: US; Year: 1991; Director: Barbara Hammer)
Deconstructing the idea of fear surrounding death, embracing it as an idea through the study of skeletons.
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War Pony (Country: Canada; Year: 2008; Director: Keesic Douglas; Stars: Wade Monague, Alexus Ciccolini, Keesic Douglas, Sarah Cunningham)
Exploration of what it means to live in two worlds.
Forum Expanded Talk and Show
When It Was Blue (Country: US, Iceland; Year: 2005; Director: Jennifer Todd Reeves)
A nature film and a structural film consisting of two rolls each. In a 16mm double projection they are superimposed over one another while the soundtrack is performed live by Icelandic musician Skúli Sverrisson.
Winter Silence (Winterstilte) (Country: Netherlands; Year: 2008; Director: Sonja Wyss; Writer: Sonja Wyss; Stars: Gerda Zangger, Sandra Utzinger, Brigitta Weber, Katalin Liptak, Sarah Bühlmann, Claude Imahorn, Werner Imhoff, Eleonore Jensch, Tobias Perren, Alwin Sarbach)
Mythical characters come to life in this story of isolation in Switzerland.
The Wondrous World of Laundry (Die Wundersame Welt der Waschkraft) (Country: Germany; Year: 2008; Director: Hans-Christian Schmid; Writer: Hans-Christian Schmid)
A look behind the scenes at the laundry of a Berlin hotel... which goes on a journey to a small Polish town.
Zoom Doku (Country: Germany; Year: 1969; Director: Ludwig Schönherr)
The programme says: "From 1967-1970, a period of intense productivity in European experimental film more generally, Ludwig Schönherr made scores of short super8 and 16mm films that explored specific technical, aesthetic, and representational aspects of the medium, namely, the zoom, the use of flickering color, and the depiction of the face."
Zwei Indianer Aus Winnipeg (Country: Canada; Year: 2008; Director: Darryl Nepinak)
Two ersatz "Indian warriors" chase a beautiful Indian maiden through the streets of Winnipeg.
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