Films 2020

Alice Júnior

Engl. Title: Alice Junior
“So folks, you know me as Alice Júnior. I’m trans, hard to beat, and ready for whatever there is to be.” Fast-moving cuts set to pop samples and sound effects, a hint of glitz and a bagful of emojis. Alice Júnior is producing her latest YouTube video about the long-awaited first kiss. But when her father walks into her bedroom and announces in front of the camera that they will be leaving the vibrant Brazilian city of Recife and moving to a small, [...]

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Always Amber

At the age of 17, Amber opted for the gender-neutral Swedish pronoun “hen” and began consulting a therapist specialising in gender identities. “If I lived with my friends on a deserted island where there are no norms, I might not be here,” says Amber. They are part of a new queer generation that confidently demands freedoms and opportunities not offered to them by society. Lia Hietala and Hannah Reinikainen’s long-term observational documentary spans [...]

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Automotive

What is the value of work in the age of the digital revolution? In Ingolstadt, 20-year-old Sedanur spends her nights sorting car parts on the assembly line for the robots. In the vast factory as high as a house, forklifts circle each other beneath fluorescent lights and tempworkers fight to keep their posts. Times are tough because Audi is about to cut a tenth of its workforce. Sedanur has no desire to find a husband and have children. She dreams of driving her own Mercedes one day. But when [...]

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Babylebbe

Engl. Title: Babydyke
Frede accompanies her big sister to a queer party in the hope of winning back her ex-girlfriend. Labelled by the older girls as Babydyke, all she can do is take the plunge: Chin up and stay cool. This film describes the broad palette of interpersonal emotions with great sensitivity and dramatic intensity. In a rhythm of light and shadow, the gulf closes between own desires and the expectations of others.

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Berlin Alexanderplatz

Francis has survived his escape from North Africa. When he wakes up on a beach in the south of Europe, he is determined to live a regular, decent life from now on. But he winds up in present-day Berlin where a stateless person without a work permit is treated just as mercilessly as the labourer Franz Biberkopf in Döblin’s classic novel of German modernism. Francis initially resists an offer to deal drugs in Hasenheide park, but then comes under the influence of Reinhold, his neurotic, [...]

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Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

In their films, the brothers Bill and Turner Ross often train their camera on simple people leading far from glamorous lives. In this film they find their protagonists in the shadow of the glitzy world of Las Vegas, in a bar called Roaring 20s, which is on the brink of closure. Always observing, but nonetheless in the thick of it, they accompany the last 24 hours in and around the bar, enabling the viewer to immerse themselves in a microcosm that might well be found in many places in the world [...]

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Bushido zankoku monogatari

Engl. Title: Cruel Tale of Bushido
The attempted suicide of his fiancée prompts a Japanese salary-man to read his family chronicles and look back at the life of his ancestors. They were samurai, the military nobility caste who carried out acts of violence at the behest of feudal lords, but suffered evenmore so under their cruelty, often forced into ritual suicide (seppuku). The women were under constant threat of kidnapping and rape,and the men subjected to arbitrary disfigurement and homosexual slavery... [...]

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Charlatan

Jan Mikolášek is the epitome of aplomb and solidarity. He is talented, sensitive, assertive and enigmatic. In his youth and when he is older, regardless of whether he is in private or public, he is a man of action, reason and intuition. A faith healer. Just one glance at the urine bottle is enough for him to know what ails his patient. With fame comes fortune, and this at a time when Czechoslovakia is a pawn in a game being played by the major power blocs. Protected and used by [...]

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Die Letzte Stadt

Engl. Title: The Last City
An archaeologist and a weapons designer, who knew each other in a previous life as a filmmaker and a psychoanalyst, meet at an excavation site in the Negev desert and begin a conversation about love and war, which they continue in the Israeli city of Be’er Sheva. A series of encounters with alternating actors in different roles ensues, which leads the viewer through the cities of Athens, Berlin, Hong Kong and São Paulo. Among those appearing are: an old artist who meets his younger [...]

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Dispatches from Elsewhere

A chain of strange coincidences leads computer scientist Peter to the mysterious Jejune Institute. Its charismatic director Octavio promises Peter a way out of the invisibility and quiet desperation of his everyday life, offering him instead the gateway to a life full of magic, beauty and “divine nonchalance”. Peter plays along. But is this really a game? Is it an alternative reality? Or a conspiracy making a bid for social control? Together with Simone, Janice and Fredwynn, Peter [...]

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El Nombre del Hijo

Engl. Title: The Name of the Son
Lucho knows who he is. It’s the others who seem mixed up, inspecting him closely, addressing him as a girl and pestering him with questions. The time spent with his dad during a beach holiday draws attention to the process of transition that Lucho is experiencing. Struggling with his own insecurities, Lucho’s father tries hard to keep their close bond intact, while young Lucho attempts to come to terms with the development of a body going through puberty.

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Extractions

Extractions parallels resource extraction with the booming child apprehension industry. As the filmmaker reviews how these industries have affected her, she reflects on having her own eggs retrieved and frozen to make an Indigenous baby.

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Winner

Futur Drei

Engl. Title: No Hard Feelings
High-cut trousers, skin-tight t-shirt, short, peroxide-blond hair. On his birthday, Parvis celebrates by stealing a bottle from the bar at the club and dancing. The son of Iranian parents, he has established himself in the attic of his parents’ house in a quiet new housing estate in Lower Saxony and is busy trying out everything and anything from sex dates to raves. After getting caught shoplifting, he is sent to do community service in a refugee shelter where he falls in love with Amon, [...]

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Genius Loci

There is chaos everywhere: in her head and outside, in the big city. Things are taking on a life of their own. Young Reine is on the search, but she does not know what she is looking for. In delicate drawings and fluid animations, we see the world through her eyes and her perception becomes tangible.

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HaMa'azin

Engl. Title: Listening In
He is young and works for Israeli military intelligence. On headphones, he listens in on the conversations of Palestinians. The phonecalls of one gay couple in particular begin to fascinate him more and more. Privy to the complicated relationship between the two as it unfolds, he doesn’t know whether and, if so, in what way he should follow his feelings. For here, too, the private is political, and the most intimate things of all can lead to disaster.

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Inflorescence

Autumn again on planet Earth. Eternally united, a couple of pink rose petals endure the slings and arrows of a heavy thunderstorm. A romantic-conceptualist bedtime story of resistance and redundancy, or the awkward ambivalence of truth, dream, life and love. Let’s unite and blossom!

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Kokon

“We're like fish in a fish tank. We keep swimming round in circles, from one end of Kotti to the other and back again, until we eventually manage to jump out of the tank.” Berlin-Kreuzberg is Nora’s microcosm. Nora, the silent observer, is always tagging along: At parties, at school, at the pool, on rooftops and in apartments. Nora drifts around the monotonous housing blocks with her big sister and her friends, witnessing events that seem to cross-fade in the summer [...]

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Kød & Blod

Engl. Title: Wildland
“You’re too baked, sweetheart”, says Mads´ mother after greeting him with a kiss on the lips. In this family it is okay to bend the law, as long as you do it right. A twisted lesson the 17-year-old Ida is about to learn. Having recently lost her mother in a car accident, she has been taken in by her aunt and three cousins, whom she barely knows. Theirs is a loving home, but it soon transpires that the family, led by its caring but disciplinarian matriarch, engages in [...]

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La casa dell'amore

Engl. Title: The House of Love
Throughout its 77 minutes, the film never once leaves the small Milan apartment of Bianca Dolce Miele, a dark safe space illuminated by the warm light of the occasional candle, with objects arranged with ritualistic intention and a black cat always on the roam. A map of the heavens hangs above the bed, the outside world is accessed via telephone. “I’m always here, any time,” she promises her clients in a deep, throaty voice. “Give me half an hour to put on something [...]

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Las Mil y Una

Engl. Title: One in a Thousand
Clad in sportswear, 17-year-old Iris dribbles her basketball through the wide courtyards of her social housing estate somewhere in Argentina. She has been expelled from school and spends the warm days and nights with her two best friends – her cousins – in cramped rooms, fiddling with her mobile phone, or on the empty streets of the town. While playing hide-and-seek, the boys disappear with other boys, they strip off in front of the webcam and write passionate texts in which they [...]

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Meu nome é Bagdá

Engl. Title: My Name Is Baghdad
“You guys are awful. You don't even know the girl and the first thing you say is: ‘She's fucking hot.’ She's probably doing a whole lot of cool things you don't even know.” Rolling through São Paulo on her skateboard, Baghdad wears her hair short, her trousers pulled up high, and her sweater tucked into the waistband. Baghdad is cool; she is a girl who respects whom she wants to respect – everyone else might find wet clumps of toilet [...]

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Minyan

For a Jewish prayer community or “minyan” to be able to hold a service, it must consist of at least ten practising Jews. David, who was born into a Russian immigrant family, is 17 years old and regularly helps out at minyans in Brighton Beach, a district of New York that is characterised by Jewish life. His father, a former boxing coach, his mother and his beloved grandfather all take this for granted. But David, who is just starting to tentatively explore life in the East Village [...]

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Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt

Engl. Title: It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives
In the commentary, the word “gay” is uttered 90 times, which was still being used in the context of hate speech in 1971, two years after the abolition of Section 175 of the German criminal code, which criminalized homosexual acts between males. Those affected had not yet reclaimed the word. Delivered in a declamatory tone in voiceover to silent images showing clichéd gay scenes, the commentary provoked those unwilling to hear anything about it and those who were suffering [...]

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Panteres

Engl. Title: Panthers
Scarred, fat, pregnant, shaved, tattooed: Joana examines the bodies of the women in the changing room. Later, she studies her own reflection in the mirror with the same intensity. Can you change your body? Your gender? Femininity? “Break free”, screams the caption on her T-shirt, under an image of Freddie Mercury – and Joana wants to break free of everything and everyone: from her girlfriend Nina‘s bad mood to the other girls at school.

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Paris Calligrammes

From a topographic perspective, Ulrike Ottinger’s cinema is mostly located between Berlin and remote places in the Far East or the Far North. In Paris Calligrammes, she explores the landscape of her memories of the city that she called home for 20 years and that helped shape her beginnings as a painter and filmmaker. Ottinger moved to Paris in her twenties and immersed herself in the cultural scene of the 1950s populated by heroes of the avant-garde and a new generation of artists and [...]

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Petite Fille

Engl. Title: Little Girl
When she grows up, she will be a girl. This is something Sasha has dreamed of since childhood. Her family soon realises how serious she is. In addition to interviews with the parents, who acknowledge their daughter as such without hesitation, the film depicts the family’s tireless struggle against a hostile environment as well as their everyday lives. We see Sasha at play, practising ballet and during a visit to a therapist specialising in gender identities. At school, Sasha is not allowed [...]

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Winner

Playback. Ensayo de una Despedida

Engl. Title: Playback
 

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Winner

Rizi

Engl. Title: Days
Kang lives alone in a big house. Through a glass façade, he looks out onto the treetops lashed by wind and rain. He feels a strange pain of unknown origin which he can hardly bear and which grips his whole body. Non lives in a small apartment in Bangkok where he methodically prepares traditional dishes from his native village. When Kang meets Non in a hotel room, the two men share each other's loneliness. Tsai Ming-Liang’s new work concludes the exploration he began in Journey [...]

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Schwesterlein

Engl. Title: My little Sister
Lisa has given up her ambitions as a playwright in Berlin and moved to Switzerland with her children and husband, who runs an international school there. When her twin brother Sven, a star actor at Berlin’s Schaubühne theatre, falls ill with leukaemia, Lisa returns to the German capital. His hopes of getting back on the stage give Sven the strength he needs to fight the disease. But when his condition deteriorates and his mother, also an actor, proves unreliable, Lisa takes [...]

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Sex

Engl. Title: Sex
One kiss on the roof on a warm night in Copenhagen and Cathrine, in her early twenties, can no longer keep a grip on her life. On the one hand, there’s her colleague Selma, from whom she wants more after that first kiss. On the other, there’s her boyfriend Simon. For him, what little they have is actually plenty, and for some time now, even less has been enough for Simon in bed. For Cathrine, who works at a call centre giving tips on sex and love, it’s definitely not [...]

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Shirley

Two imposing personalities are at the centre of this intensely atmospheric drama: horror writer Shirley Jackson and her husband Stanley Hyman, a literary critic and college professor. When young graduate student Fred Nemser and his pregnant wife Rose move in with the Hymans in the autumn of 1964, they soon find themselves under the magnetic spell of their brilliant and proudly unconventional hosts. But Shirley’s need to nurture her writing is a ravenous beast that threatens to devour [...]

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Winner

Si c'était de l'amour

Engl. Title: If It Were Love
The film about Gisèle Vienne’s dance piece “Crowd” is a techno party gone rave, awash with repetitive movements, physical and emotional encounters between fifteen bodies charged with sexual energy. The camera keeps us plunged into the heart of the choreography, repeatedly zooming out to allow for an insight into the rehearsal process. Through staged one-on-one conversations between the performers, we learn about the background story of their characters. In this way, [...]

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Suk Suk

With practised movements, Hong Kong taxi driver Pak gets ready, polishes the traditional bright red paint of his car to a high shine and picks up his granddaughter from school. After years of driving a cab to support his family, he has now come to the end of his career, but he refuses to fully quit his job. In search of anonymous sex, he meets Hoi, who is retired, divorced and also a grandfather. After a first fleeting encounter, they begin to spend time together more often. But just [...]

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The Long Good Friday

Cockney gang boss Harold Shand wants to go legit and make London the “capital of Europe” by building an Olympic stadium in the Docklands. He is hoping to persuade the New York mafia to invest in the venture. But no sooner have its representatives arrived before Harold runs into problems. Two members of his gang have been murdered and he himself is almost killed by a bomb. To save face with the Americans, he needs to find the culprits right away – and he’s not squeamish [...]

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The Twentieth Century

Toronto, 1899. The young William Lyon Mackenzie King is running for the office of prime minister. The satirical and anarchic fantasy biopic The Twentieth Century explores the tribulations of the young politician, who would go on to become a long-serving prime minister of Canada. Serious Oedipal conflicts, an obsession with worn shoes and anti-masturbation therapies make it difficult for the young Mackenzie King to pursue his calling. Driven on by his authoritarian mother, he stumbles through [...]

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Trigonometry

In crowded, expensive London, a cash-strapped couple open their small flat to a third person. Gemma is a chef who runs a café; her boyfriend Kieran is a paramedic – and Ray, who moves in with the young couple, is at a loss. Until recently, she was a world-class synchronised swimmer, but now she’s looking for a new direction, job and place in life. She discovers two people who love each other very much, but who don’t really know where they are going – in terms [...]

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UNTITLED SEQUENCE OF GAPS

Composed of short vignettes in different techniques and materialities, UNTITLED SEQUENCE OF GAPS uses the form of an essay film to approach trauma-related memory loss via reflections on light outside the visible spectrum – on what is felt but never seen. Carefully shifting between planetary macro scales, physical phenomena and individual accounts of affective subject formation, the artist's voice considers violence and its workings, class and queerness not through representation but [...]

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Vento Seco

Engl. Title: Dry Wind
 

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Vil, má

Engl. Title: Divinely Evil
A drawing room with salmon-coloured walls, tapestries, busts, house plants, a dressmaker’s dummy. In a velvet armchair with gold trim sits Wilma Azevedo, 74, Brazil’s “queen of sadomasochistic literature”. She is asked by the director to tell the story of her life, which quickly branches out into a series of detailed erotic anecdotes involving green bananas, dildos made of sandpaper and over-stimulated nerves. In her heyday, she received 300 love letters a month, an [...]

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Welcome to Chechnya

In 2017, the LGBTQI* community, human rights defenders and allies all over the world were shocked by the devastating news of crimes being committed in the Russian republic of Chechnya. In a coordinated action, the authorities were rounding up gay and bisexual men and women, and taking them to illegal prison facilities where they were tortured and forced to out others, with the result that they were either executed or released to their families where they were often subjected to “honour [...]

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Who Can Predict What Will Move You

“Nervous?” – “A little.” Two young men shooting hoops somewhere in Brooklyn. In the gradually gathering dusk, their shadows dance, entwined, to the cadence of basketball meeting pavement. Farewell is in the air. Emotions emerge to the surface. Tentatively, gently, director Livia Huang’s densely atmospheric film tells of desire and intimacy through gazes and gestures. What is memory, what is perhaps merely a dream? Or is everything dance in the end? [...]

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