Berlin-based graphic designer Claudia Schramke once again created the visuals for this year's Berlinale. But gone is the Berlinale bear, wondering the streets of the German city in search of great cinema. This time around the audience is key, as we finally return to the festival in full force, from the media side to its European Film Market in real life.
“The key visual for the 73rd Berlinale directs our attention to the indispensable core of a metropolitan film festival: the audience. We’re very pleased that with this year’s poster, we can honour those whose curiosity, enthusiasm and applause makes the Berlinale a vibrant, inspiring and joyful event,” commented Mariëtte Rissenbeek, Executive Director of the Berlinale.
In three different versions, the poster feels fresh, fun and we can't wait to attend the festival this year, headed by one of the coolest film festival directors around Carlo Chatrian.
Among the films announced are some in the Berlinale Special section, including Seneca – On the Creation of Earthquakes which was shot in late 2021 in Morocco. Born out of Robert Schwentke’s years of research into Roman history – and an exciting collaboration with John Malkovich, the film also stars Louis Hofmann, Alexander Fehling, Lilith Stangenberg, Tom Xander, as well as Julian Sands and Geraldine Chaplin. The film will enjoy a special gala at the festival and is a world premiere.
Todd Field's Venice title TÁR will also screen, a film about women of strength and the power of cancel culture starring Cate Blanchett and the Untitled Boris Becker Documentary by Alex Gibney, the latter world premiering at the festival.
In the Forum line up is Concrete Valley by Antoine Bourges, starring Hussam Douhna, Amani Ibrahim, Abdullah Nadaf, Lynn Nanume. The international premiere tells the story of a Syrian family that has lived in Canada for five years. As Farah tries to settle in with her community in Toronto, Rashid – an unlicensed doctor – struggles with the ruptures in his biography. The film, which world premiered in its production country of Canada at TIFF, in September deals with the everyday difficulties in a new country.
In Forum Expanded will be the European premiere of Comrade leader, comrade leader, how nice to see you by Walid Raad. The installation features video projections of waterfalls, which are inspired by the story of the “Fickle Falls” in Lebanon, which were named and renamed numerous times by militias engaged in the Lebanese Civil War, depending on their shifting alliances.
Also a European premiere is the exhibition by Cairo-based artist Jasmina Metwaly titled On This Shore, Here., with Alaa Abdulatif, a fable, using song and text to tell the story of a present frozen in Medusa’s gaze. Human and non-human protagonists appear: a historian from Alexandria, Carbon 12 and Carbon 14, as well as a Gorgone, who roams a city, detecting pasts and futures.
This year, the Talents of the talent development program Berlinale Talents with the theme “You Must Be Joking: Humour in Serious Times” were chosen from over 3,000 applications and will be coming from 68 countries to Berlin. The Talents Footprints – Mastercard Enablement Programme is going in the third round, Honor Swinton Byrne is a member of the Selection jury for sustainable projects. The TÁR cast and crew including Todd Field, Cate Blanchett, Nina Hoss und Hildur Guðnadóttir will speak about their creative collaboration in a public talk.
The final selection this year includes filmmakers from countries that have rarely been represented at Berlinale Talents before (Myanmar, Palestine, Nepal, Mongolia, Lesotho, Bangladesh, Costa Rica and for the first time Saint Lucia). Many of the Talents have already participated in renowned film projects or initiated them themselves. More than 40 Talents have been involved in previous Berlinale films as directors or in other capacities, among them Evelyn Rack, the editor of last year's Perspektive Deutsches Kino opening film Wir könnten genauso gut tot sein. They are all united by their motivation to make a difference in their living and working environment – be it artistic or socio-political. Among the participants from the SWANA region, is Melis Aksoy, a Turkish digital set designer who has worked on numerous award-winning US-American film and series projects, including American Horror Story, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and most recently Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities.
Also director Aboozar Amini, who lives and works in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Amsterdam. He is currently developing his first feature film The Cineaste, and his internationally acclaimed cinema documentary Kabul, City in the Wind (2018) is an exploration of his impressions of everyday life in Afghanistan. And four different talents hailing from Iran, including director Dornaz Hajiha. Her debut feature film Like a Fish on the Moon was selected in the Proxima Competition of the 56th Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2022. She is currently developing her second feature Diaphanous.