The 71st Berlin Film Festival have announced their competition lineup today, with 15 titles selected to compete for their coveted Golden Bear main prize, along with some special titles that will be screening out of competition.
Last year’s winner was Mohammad Rasoulof’s anthology film There Is No Evil, from Iran. The Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize went to Never Rarely Sometimes Always, one of our favorite films of 2020. Other prize winners from last year’s selection included the Hong Sang-soo film The Woman Who Ran, and Undine, from director Christian Petzold.
This year’s festival has some hot properties coming, with perhaps the buzziest being the new feature from Portrait of a Lady on Fire director Céline Sciamma. Titled Petite Maman, plot details are unknown about Sciamma’s follow-up to one of the most acclaimed films of the last decade, but we know that it’ll see her returning to her earlier themes of kids and rites of passage, with some elements of magical realism.
Another intriguing title is Nebenan (Next Door), the directing debut of actor Daniel Brühl. Said to explore ideas of gentrification and social inequality in Berlin, the award-winning German star of films like Rush and Inglourious Basterds, as well as the upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, will also be starring in the film alongside Phantom Thread actress Vicky Krieps.
The competition slate will also include another new film from Hong Sang-soo, who has shown no signs of slowing down his rapid output, as well as a Dan Stevens and Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann) starring sci-film from director Maria Schrader.
The announced out of competition titles include the Michelle Pfeiffer vehicle French Exit, as well as The Mauritanian, a film which our Joey Magidson was very high on when hereviewed it last month.
For the full list of 2021 Berlin Film Festival competition titles, and those special out of competition selections, see below:
“Albatros” (Drift Away)
by Xavier Beauvois
with Jérémie Renier, Marie-Julie Maille, Victor Belmondo
Set in northern France, the film, which explores philosophical and existential questions, follows a police officer on a journey of self-discovery.
“Babardeală cu buclucsau porno balamuc” (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn)
by Radu Jude
with Katia Pascariu, Claudia Ieremia, Olimpia Mălai
An irreverent, yet political film that takes a look at contemporary Romania seen through the filters of a revenge porn story.
“Fabian oder Der Gang vor die Hunde” (Fabian – Going to the Dogs)
by Dominik Graf
with Tom Schilling, Saskia Rosendahl, Albrecht Schuch
Based on the well-known novel “Fabian: The Story of a Moralist,” by Erich Kästner, the coming-of-age film is a moral journey through time and space set during the end of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s.
“Ghasideyeh gave sefid” (Ballad of a White Cow)
by Behtash Sanaeeha, Maryam Moghaddam
with Maryam Moghaddam, Alireza Sanifar
Exploring themes of guilt and atonement, the film follows a woman whose husband has been unjustly executed in contemporary Iran.
“Guzen to sozo” (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy)
by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
with Kotone Furukawa, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Fusako Urabe
A bittersweet tribute to women where the writing flows organically with the characters.
“Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse” (Mr Bachmann and His Class)
by Maria Speth
with Dieter Bachmann and pupils of class 6b
Filmed and edited over the last decade, this documentary is a tribute to a great teacher and looks at the classroom as a microcosm of society.
“Ich bin dein Mensch” (I’m Your Man)
by Maria Schrader
with Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller
This sci-fi film flips the traditional romantic comedy and features a Prince Charming who is not chosen by a woman, but designed to her taste.
Republic of Korea
by Hong Sangsoo
with Shin Seokho, Park Miso, Kim Minhee
Partly shot in Berlin, the film follows a young man who tries to find his way in the face of his parents’ wishes and impositions.
by Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige
with Rim Turki, Manal Issa, Paloma Vauthier
Three generations of women who are relocated to Canada, deal with memories of their country of origin, Lebanon.
“Nebenan” (Next Door)
by Daniel Brühl
with Daniel Brühl, Peter Kurth
A tribute to the contradiction of Berlin in the 21st century, the film explores several characters, including a famous film actor and his neighbor, as their lives collide.
by Céline Sciamma
with Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Nina Meurisse
The director returns to her pet themes of kids and rites of passage, shot through with magic realism.
Ras vkhedavt, rodesac cas vukurebt? (What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?)
by Alexandre Koberidze
with Ani Karseladze, Giorgi Bochorishvili, Vakhtang Fanchulidze
In Georgia, a young man and woman meet and are separated by destiny.
“Rengeteg – mindenhol látlak” (Forest – I See You Everywhere)
by Bence Fliegauf
with Laura Podlovics, István Lénárt, Lilla Kizlinger, Zsolt Végh, László Cziffer, Juli Jakab, Ági Gubík
A sequel to Fliegauf’s 2003 Berlin title “Forest,” the Hungary-set film challenges physicality and shatters boundaries.
“Természetes fény” (Natural Light)
by Dénes Nagy
with Ferenc Szabó, Tamás Garbacz, László Bajkó
An officer from the Hungarian army is ordered to scout an area where Russian partisans fight against the occupation of the Third Reich.
“Una Película de Policías” (A Cop Movie)
by Alonso Ruizpalacios
with Mónica Del Carmen, Raúl Briones
Set on the mean streets of Mexico city, fiction and documentary intertwine in this portrayal of the life of a police officer.
Berlinale Special Titles
by Lina Roessler
with Michael Caine, Aubrey Plaza
by Aliaksei Paluyan
with Maryna Yakubovich, Pavel Haradnizky, Denis Tarasenka
by Azazel Jacobs
with Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, Valerie Mahaffey, Imogen Poots
“Je suis Karl”
by Christian Schwochow
with Luna Wedler, Jannis Niewöhner, Milan Peschel
by Natalie Morales
with Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass, Desean Terry
Hong Kong/People’s Republic of China
by Cheang Soi
with Lam Ka Tung, Liu Cya, Lee Mason, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi
by Kevin Macdonald
with Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch
“Per Lucio” (For Lucio)
by Pietro Marcello
by Tim Fehlbaum
with Nora Arnezedar, Iain Glen, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina
by Dan Lindsay, T. J. Martin
with Tina Turner, Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey, Katori Hall
“Wer wir waren” (Who We Were)
by Marc Bauder
with Alexander Gerst, Sylvia Erle, Dennis Snower, Matthieu Ricard