Berlin International Film Festival 2012

View other Berlin International Film Festival Films by strand: Berlinale Special, Berlinale Special Tribute, Competition, Culinary Cinema, Forum, Generation, German Cinema - LOLA@Berlinale, Happy Birthday, Studio Babelsberg, Homage, Panorama, Panorama Documentary, Panorama Special, Retrospective - The Red Dream Factory, Short Films

Ararat (Country: Germany; Year: 2012; Director: Engin Kundag; Stars: Pinar Erincin, Claudio Schulz-Keune, Erdal Kacar)
A man tries to keep the peace in his brother’s home after a ten-year absence.
Before Tomorrow (Gegen Morgen) (Country: Germany; Year: 2011; Director: Joachim Schoenfeld; Writer: Oliver Schmaering; Stars: Axel Buchholz, Axel Sichrovsky, Regine Zimmermann, Christoph Grunert)
Wagner and his colleague Zippolt are both police officers seconded on a security detail to watch a murderer released from prison. Wagner lives alone. He enjoys watching the pigeons on his neighbour’s roof and listening to heavy operatic arias that he sings along to in his own sonorous baritone. Otherwise he’s somewhat reticent. His partner, with whom he is obliged to spend days on end sitting in a car in front of the target’s home, is an incorrigible motor mouth; like a hamster in a treadmill he is constantly trying to get his head around himself, his life and his own theories. But the more he talks, the more quietly aggressive Wagner becomes. Then Wagner meets a woman. This time he might even be able to make a go of it. But in the end nothing is as one might have thought – at work or at home. Nobody gets what they want, but something may have changed for everyone. And there’s even a proper sunrise.
Dying not planned for (Sterben nicht vorgesehen) (Country: Germany; Year: 2012; Director: Matthias Stoll)
What happens when the future that was meant to last is suddenly in the past? Filmmaker Matthias Stoll’s father was not the type to die, and certainly not as suddenly as he did. A real doer and man of action, he was someone who, throughout his life, was used to taking charge of things; an active and witty pragmatist – regardless of whether he was out on a bike ride, in the office or on the building site for the house that was never finished – but maybe it was never really meant to be completed. Perhaps, and this may have been his father’s credo, the path to happiness was itself paradise. In this film Stoll bids a melancholy farewell to his father; the work takes the form of a humorous, essayistic documentary in which age-old memories are rekindled in animated sketches and cleverly interwoven with documentary footage depicting the family’s past.
Karaman (Country: Germany; Year: 2012; Director: Tamer Yigit, Branka Prlic; Writer: Tamer Yigit; Stars: Isilay Gül, Talu Emre Tüntas, Burak Yigit, Yusuf Kadir Han, Tamer Yigit)
One family, two battlefronts. Zehra, a young foreign-language secretary, travels out of Istanbul to spend a weekend with her family in Karaman, a town in central Anatolia. It’s been five years since she decided to begin wearing a hijab and her father, Hamit, a widower and former military officer, is still coming to terms with the fact that his daughter is now a practising Muslim and an opposer of the military. Zehra and her brother Erol cross swords because Erol isn’t convinced by his sister’s faith. A black metal fan, Erol doesn’t believe in anything, and his sister always seems to provoke his destructive streak. Zehra needs to ask her father something but is reluctant to do so: she wants to continue her studies in Germany, where she can live the life she wants. It’s not a problem to wear a hijab there, it seems. Zehra could travel there – as the daughter of a member of the military she is more privileged than many of her age who are not able to go to Europe, but her father is reluctant to give her his permission – how can a Muslim woman leave a Muslim country to live in the West? The battlefronts begin to blur. But why shouldn’t she try to find a life between them?
Man For A Day (Country: Germany / UK / Finland; Year: 2012; Director: Katarina Peters; Writer: Katarina Peters)
Gender activist Diane Torr’s worldwide appearances and workshops are now legendary. For the past thirty years, the focus of this performance artist’s work has been an exploration of the theoretical, artistic as well as the practical aspects of gender identity. Katarina Peters’ documentary observes a Diane Torr workshop in Berlin in which a group of open-minded women came together to discover the secrets of masculinity. What makes a man a man and a woman a woman? Precisely when and where is gender identity formatted? How much is nature and how much nurture? Each of Torr’s workshops represents an open-ended laboratory experiment in social behaviour in which the question is posed: is it possible to deliberately play out different role models and create a space in which to transgress genuine masculine or feminine characteristics?
Out Off (Tage in der Stadt) (Country: Germany; Year: 2012; Director: Janis Mazuch; Writer: Janis Mazuch; Stars: Pascale Schiller, Maik Solbach, Juli Klement)
Out of prison, back to freedom and to a normal way of life: inmates often like to think of the day of their release as a big event, but being on the outside unleashes nothing but emptiness in 39-year-old Nina, for whom it seems nobody has been waiting.Nina is released after having served a long prison sentence. It’s time for her to find her place in the world. Her brother quickly helps her to find an apartment and even a job – badly paid – but nonetheless. Nina gets in touch with her now grown-up daughter, Anna, only to discover a complete stranger. Time has ridden roughshod over this woman; every step she takes, she finds herself up against the impenetrable rules of a new world that is as cold and disdainful as it is beautiful.
Reported Missing (Die Vermissten) (Country: Germany; Year: 2012; Director: Jan Speckenbach; Writer: Jan Speckenbach, Melanie Rohde; Stars: André M. Hennicke, Luzie Ahrens, Sylvana Krappatsch, Jenny Schily)
A father searching for his missing daughter uncovers a terrible secret whose implications for society are still worse than the things he had feared.
Rhymers and Rivals (Dichter und Kämpfer) (Country: Germany 2009-; Year: 2011; Director: Marion Hütter; Writer: Marion Hütter)
Literature as a live act, poetry flung out to a large audience and word-acrobatics on demand. Director Marion Hütter follows four German poetry slammers over a year as they perform and rehearse, and also records their lives beyond their role as ‘rhymers and rivals’. Julius, Theresa, Sebastian and Philipp have different personalities; although they all do their own thing they share a common aim: to give their audiences an earful of something to think about. This documentary shows us what drives these four bards to give their all, night after night, for the delectation of the audience, and explores the way in which slam poetry has changed in recent years. When they began, these four were part of a small but intimate circle. Nowadays the slam scene is much broader, more diverse and competitive. All at once a sub-culture that was once dismissed now finds itself feted by mainstream culture.
Rodicas (Country: Germany; Year: 2012; Director: Alice Gruia)
Rodica is the name shared by two old ladies. One, Rodica Gruia, is filmmaker Alice Gruia’s 88-year-old grandmother; the other, Rodica Grill, is two years younger and the latter’s best friend. Both women share Jewish-Romanian roots and the fact that they have long been residents of Sydney, Australia, where they first met. The two Rodicas are like teenagers when they’re together: chatting non-stop, shopping, going out to concerts and trying out new cafés. Not only are they blessed with an ironic disposition, they are also both extremely strong-willed. Calling themselves ‘sisters’, anyone meeting them for the first time might well liken their relationship to that of an old married couple that has learnt to live with each other in spite of their differences. However, not so apparent at first glance are the marks these women clearly bear from very different personal histories on different continents. What does strike the viewer is how very differently they handle the blows that life has dealt them. Nonetheless, each seems to have found an approach that works. RODICAS depicts the unbridled energy and robust humour of two women who could not be more extraordinary, ordinary, different or similar.
Sometimes we sit and think and sometimes we just sit (Country: Germany; Year: 2012; Director: Julian Pörksen; Stars: Peter René Lüdicke, Eike Weinreich, Ursula Geyer-Hopfe)
On the spur of the moment a fifty-year-old man not yet in the late bloom of life decides to leave the rat race and check into an old people’s home where he now spends his days doing sweet nothing behind drawn curtains in a gently-lit room. But his even-tempered serenity only serves to make everyone around him nervous: a young carer seeks his company and spends wonderful moments with him in silent harmony; an old lady who also lives at the home begins to drop in regularly for a cuppa and even the home’s doctor begins to take an interest in the strange case of this ‘imaginary oldie’. And of course, the more his interlocutor allows the doctor’s professional ministrations to roll off him, the more perplexed the medic becomes. Feeling betrayed by his father, the man’s son too becomes increasingly uncomfortable and makes several attempts to urge his father to come back to his old life.
This Ain't California (Country: Germany; Year: 2012; Director: Marten Persiel; Writer: Marten Persiel, Ira Wedel)
A hymn to the subversive power of vitality, this fast-paced documentary takes us on a trip through the strange unknown world of the ‘Rollbrettfahrer’ as skateboarders were known in the GDR, a country where besides those loyal to the regime, there was also an avowed political resistance. Apart from this, there was also a movement of young rebels whose only raison d’être was the illusion of staying young, immortal and non-committal. In THIS AIN’T CALIFORNIA three kids discover their love of skateboarding on the cracked asphalt of the GDR – a madcap, even unacceptable sport that was perhaps so incredibly exciting because of its nuttiness. This punk fairytale created by a bunch of kids who luckily possessed sufficiently manic levels of energy to record their lives on Super-8mm film, shows us life in the GDR life as it has never been seen before. The film follows its three main protagonists from their childhood in the seventies, through their turbulent teens in the eighties right up to that autumn of 1989 when they were twenty and suddenly, everything they had known up to that point was about to change forever.
Trattoria (Country: Germany; Year: 2012; Director: Soleen Yusef; Writer: Soleen Yusef; Stars: Uwe Preuss, Anna Herrmann, Caspar Kaeser)
Nineteen-year-old Lea is honest, direct and not afraid of speaking her mind. She calls her father, Bosse. All she knows about him is hearsay provided by her mother, before her recent death. Bosse, a likeable small-time criminal and the owner of a trattoria, is shocked to learn of his ‘sudden’ fatherhood and tries to get rid of Lea. But Lea is too much her father’s daughter to take such a brush off lying down. On the pretext of looking for a job Lea manages to inveigle her way into the trattoria. Ali, the head chef and Bosse’s right hand man, takes the girl under his wing and somehow – oscillating between recognition, instinct and not-wanting-to-know – Bosse and Lea gradually manage to develop a relationship. Meanwhile Nazmi and Dana, two Kurdish henchmen sent to collect protection money begin turning up at the trattoria with alarming regularity and threaten Bosse’s business interests. Before long, things begin to get out of hand. With trenchant wit, TRATTORIA succeeds in turning the tables on the conventional mores of the mafia movie.
Westerland (Country: Germany; Year: 2012; Director: Tim Staffel; Writer: Tim Staffel; Stars: Wolfram Schorlemmer, Burak Yigit, Muri Seven, Jule Böwe)
The island of Sylt in winter is a freezing cold, beautiful but desolate place. On the beach is a young man, Jesús, who has somehow wound up here from who knows where. Cem has a temporary job working at the town clerk’s office and hopes to study landscape architecture later on. He comes across Jesús just as he is about to put an end to it all by putting a plastic bag over his head. This wonderfully off-kilter opening marks the beginning of a laconic love story. In his film, director Tim Staffel explores what happens when someone with both feet firmly on the ground, with a family, friends and a future all mapped out, meets someone who has nothing and nobody and no longer believes in themselves. What will they make of each other? What will happen to them as a couple? How much pressure can their relationship take? As for Cem, he realises that everything he thought he wanted might not be so important any more, and Jesús, for whom nothing seemed important, suddenly realises that now there is someone who means something to him and for whom he too is important. So – a happy end? Not likely! Their mutual dependence soon begins to erode the couple relationship from the inside out.

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