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February Events...

  • Athena Film Festival
  • Belgrade International Film Festival
  • Berlinale
  • Dublin International Film Festival
  • Festival des Images aux Mots
  • Festival Massimadi
  • Glasgow Film Festival
  • LGBT New Renaissance Film Festival - Amsterdam
  • Magnolia Independent Film Festival
  • Pride: Bloomington's LGBTQ Film Festival
  • Teddy Award
  • Zinegoak Bilbao International GLT Film Festival
Teddy Award

Teddy Award

Thursday, 20 February 2020 until Sunday, 01 March 2020

The TEDDY AWARD is a societal engaged political award, which is given to films and people, that communicate queer themes and content on a large scale and contribute with this to more tolerance, acceptance, solidarity and equality in society.

The TEDDY AWARD has with this not only cultural importance. As long as queer life is threatened in parts of the world with the capital punishment and is even in towns like Berlin a homo- and transphobe power in the agenda, TEDDY AWARD also carries a political significance and responsibility.

THE AWARD

Within the scope of the International Film Festival the TEDDY will award the queer film Award's, in the categories the best feature, the best documentaries / essay film and the best short film, as well as the Special Teddy for artistic life's work given to an outstanding personality. Movies from all sections of the International Film Festival Berlin – most of them world premieres – compete every year for the TEDDY AWARD. The line-up of the present TEDDY AWARD winners goes from international star-directors such as: Pedro Almodóvar, Gus van Sant, Derek Jarman and Werner Schroeter to international on-screen stars such as Helmut Berger, Joe Dallesandra, John Hurt and Oscar-Winner Tilda Swinton.

The TEDDY AWARD is a non-profit event. The TEDDY AWARD finances itself only by contributions of sustaining members and patrons of the Teddy e.V., by donation of supporters, the contribution of many voluntary helpers as well as sponsors and the earnings of the award gala.


THE GALA

At the festive TEDDY AWARD GALA with more than 3000 guests from art, culture, economy and politics the TEDDY AWARDs will be awarded. The TEDDY AWARD GALA is the glamorous highlight in the cultural agenda of Berlin, not least because of the hottest party of the Berlinale, which traditionally takes place after the awards show.


BUT THE TEDDY AWARD IS MORE THAN THAT

The TEDDY AWARD is a leading event for gay-lesbian film festivals around the world. More than 120 festival managers from all parts of the world meet annually in the scope of the TEDDY AWARDS in Berlin at the “Programmers Meeting”, the worldwide biggest meeting of queer film festival makers. Many of the represented festivals at the programmers meeting take place under big reprisal. The TEDDY AWARD ministers these problems and tries to support and patronize the festivals.

For instance was it possible to organize a gay-lesbian film festival in St. Petersburg unter the patronage of the TEDDY AWARD – with positive feedback by the Russian media-, after the festival had been prohibited by the Russian authorities in the preceding years and could take place only in a small and hidden situation in the St. Petersburg Goethe-Institut.
Similar commitment shows the TEDDY AWARD currently amongst others in Kiev, Jakarta and Sarajevo. The international emission and reputation of the TEDDY AWARD helps in these countries to break up existing crustifications and to integrate queer life in the society.

EXCHANGE AND INFORMATION

In this span between cultural and political mandate the TEDDY AWARD arranges during the Berlinale several panels for and with international festival makers, to accelerate the network and solidarity among the festivals and to debate the development of queer films. Some of the panels take place in cooperation with the Talent Campus Berlinale and leave purposely the programmers-group to get producers, authors and directors offsprings involved. One topic will be among others the construction of an internetbased, central festival channel for exchange, information and recent news coverage.

For this the TEDDY AWARD will initiated the foundation of the Queer Academy in Berlin and as a first step – especially for the festivals in problematic countries – provide webspace and videostreaming capacities with corresponding logistical infrastructure and invite all countries to participate in the creation of a queer memory.


 

Some of the Films...

  • If It Were Love
  • Cocoon
  • No Hard Feelings
  • Wildland
  • Days
  • Suk Suk
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • My Name is Baghdad
  • Paris Calligrammes
  • Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
  • Welcome to Chechnya
  • Alice Júnior
  • Last City (The)
  • Dry Wind
  • My Little Sister
  • One in a Thousand
  • Charlatan

 


2020 films...

FEATURE FILM

Alice Júnior

Director: Gil Baroni, Brazil, 2019

“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 and 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, conservative town in the south, Alice has to prepare herself for the prudery and small-mindedness she will confront there… read more

Berlin Alexanderplatz

Director: Burhan Qurbani, Germany / Netherlands, 2020

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, sex-addicted pal who takes him in. When Francis meets club owner Eva and, after several dramatic experiences, the escort girl Mieze, he feels he’s found something for the first time, something he’s never known before: a little bit of happiness… read more

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

Director: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross, USA, 2020

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 but that nobody likes to look at too closely… read more

Charlatan 

Director: Agnieszka Holland, Czech Republic/Ireland/Poland/Slovakia, 2020

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 both the National Socialist and Communist regimes, he steps in wherever the system fails… read more

Die letzte Stadt (The Last City)

Director: Heinz Emigholz, Germany, 2020

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… read more

Futur Drei (No Hard Feelings)

Director: Faraz Shariat, Germany, 2020

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, who has fled Iran with his sister Banafshe Arezu. The trio enjoys a summer of fierce partying till dawn, coloured by the realisation that, in their different ways, none of them is at home in Germany… read more

Kød & Blod (Wildland)

Director: Jeanette Nordahl, Denmark, 2020

“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 criminal activities. As boundaries keep on being pushed, Ida finds herself torn between her safety and the allure of her cousins’ ferocious behaviour. When the clan descends into conflict with the police, Ida has to decide what is more dear to her: the loyalty to her new family or her own life… read more

KOKON

Director: Leonie Krippendorff, Germany, 2020

“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 light… read more

Las mil y una (One in a Thousand)

Director: Clarisa Navas, Argentina / Germany, 2020

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 rail against a heteronormative society. There is a deceptive lightness in the air and the promise that, when it comes to love and sex, anything is possible. When cool and selfconfident Renata enters the scene, Iris is fascinated, and it is not long before they begin flirting. But on the estate, the rumours about Renata’s past are getting louder and louder… read more

Meu nome é Bagdá (My name is Baghdad)

Director: Caru Alves de Souza, Brazil, 2020

“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 paper hurled their way. She lives in a house of strong-willed, emancipated women and spends her days at the skatepark with a group of guys who like to hang around shirtless, playing cards and plucking their chest hair… read more

Minyan

Director: Eric Steel, USA, 2020

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 gay scene, gradually begins to question the strict rules of his community and makes friends with two elderly gay Jews. At the same time, David’s sexual awakening cannot help but be affected by the emergence of HIV and AIDS… read more

Rizi (Days)

Director: Tsai Ming-Liang, Taiwan, 2019

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… read more

Schwesterlein (My Little Sister)

Director: Stéphanie Chuat, Veronique Reymond, Switzerland, 2020

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 the reins and whisks her brother back to Switzerland. She hopes that new treatments, family life and mountain air will work a miracle… read more

Shirley

Director: Josephine Decker, USA, 2020

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 Fred and Rose’s own relationship… read more

Suk Suk

Director: Ray Yeung, Hongkong / China, 2019

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 one late-night text message threatens to throw their everyday lives off balance. In a bathhouse, they find a place for tender moments of intimacy… read more

The Twentieth Century

Director: Matthew Rankin, Canada, 2019

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 a claustrophobic world in the grip of a bitter winter in search of love… read more

Vento Seco (Dry Wind)

Director: Daniel Nolasco, Brazil, 2020

The area around Catalan in Brazil’s state of Goiás is dry, very dry. Sandro’s life here is somewhat monotonous. He works in a fertiliser factory, goes swimming and spends his evenings doing jigsaw puzzles of landscapes. Sandro has a purely sexual relationship with his colleague Ricardo. He always seems to be a bit of an outsider, not comfortable in his own skin, not really belonging. When Maicon, a man straight out of a Tom-of-Finland illustration, shows up in their small town and flirts with Ricardo, Sandro’s burgeoning feelings of jealousy set a change in motion… read more

DOCUMENTARY / ESSAY

Always Amber

Director: Lia Hietala, Hannah Reinikainen, Sweden, 2020

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 three years and portrays not only Amber’s transition, but also the friendship with Sebastian. Supporting each other during their transitions, the two are for a long time inseparable. Their friendship breaks apart when they first experience romantic love, yet each remains a presence for the other… read more

Automotive

Director: Jonas Heldt, Germany, 2020

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 temp workers fight to keep their posts. Times are tough because Audi is about to cut a tenth of its workforce… read more

La casa dell’amore (The House of Love)

Director: Luca Ferri, Italy, 2020

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 sexy for you.” Bianca’s appearances in this film are self-determined and withstand any kind of normative gaze… read more

Paris Calligramme

Director: Ulrike Ottinger, Germany / France, 2019

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 intellectuals… read more

Petite fille (Little Girl)

Director: Sébastien Lifshitz, France, 2020

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 to appear as a girl but must wear gender-specific boys’ clothes. Tenderly filmed images and close-ups of Sasha’s face create a gentle intimacy. Sometimes, it is as if she does not understand why everything is so complicated and why she cannot simply be what she is and wear what she wants… read more

Si c’était de l’amour (If It Were Love)

Director: Patric Chiha, France, 2020

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, the characters in the choreography become the characters of the film: there is a trans boy, a “Nazi” boy that desires a gay boy, a girl attracted to troubled people, and a woman who exudes raw sexuality… read more

Vil, má (Divinely Evil)

Director: Gustavo Vinagre, Brazil, 2019

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 incredible success story. Sometime her memory fails her, at which point the young actress in the background, who is supposed to play her in an upcoming film, comes to her aid… read more

Welcome to Chechnya

Director: David France, USA, 2020

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 killings”. In an interview, Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied all accusations, claiming that there are no queer people in Chechnya… read more

SHORT FILM

Babylebbe (Babydyke)

Director: Tone Ottilie, Denmark, 2019

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… read more

El nombre del hijo (The Name of the Son)

Director: Martina Matzkin, Argentina, 2019

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… read more

Extractions

Director: Thirza Cuthand, Canada, 2019

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… read more

Genius Loci

Director: Adrien Mérigeau, France, 2019

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… read more

HaMa’azin (Listening In)

Director: Omer Sterenberg, Israel, 2019

He is young and works for Israeli military intelligence. On headphones, he listens in on the conversations of Palestinians. The phone calls 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… read more

Inflorescence

Director: Nicolaas Schmidt, Germany, 2020

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!… read more

Panteres (Panthers)

Director: Èrika Sánchez, Spain, 2020

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… read more

Playback. Ensayo de una despedida

Director: Agustina Comedi, Argentina, 2019

Argentina in the late 1980s: Catholic, conservative and shaped by a military dictatorship. “La Delpi”, the sole survivor of a group of transgender women and drag queens, talks about how their shows in basement theatres galvanised the community and helped them in their struggle against AIDS and police violence. How they healed their wounds with lipstick, playback performances and improvised stage outfits. And how they invented happy endings for those who were to die. A farewell letter compiled from VHS memories… read more

Untitled Sequence of Gaps

Director: Vika Kirchenbauer, Germany, 2020

Composed of 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. Shifting between planetary macro scales, physical phenomena, and individual accounts of affective subject formation, the film considers violence and its workings, class and queerness not through representation but from within… read more

Who Can Predict What Will Move You

Director: Livia Huang, USA, 2019

“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?… read more

SERIES

Dispatches from Elsewhere

Creator: Jason Segel, USA, 2019

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 tries to decipher the signs and symbols and to get to the bottom of the institute’s secrets… read more

Sex

Creator: Clara Mendes / Director: Amalie Næsby Fick, Denmark, 2020

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 enough, and after Selma’s kiss she doesn’t know what to do. She’s hungry, helpless and lonely. Torn between regret and desire, she drags everyone who loves her and who she loves into her chaos… read more

Trigonometry

Creators: Duncan Macmillan, Effie Woods / Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari (Ep. 1-5), Stella Corradi (Ep. 6-8), United Kingdom, 2020

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 of the café, sex, or their lives. What commences is a modern-day love story that will change all of their lives forever… read more

BERLINALE CLASSICS

Bushido zankoku monogatari (Cruel Tale of Bushido)

Director: Tadashi Imai, Japan, 1963

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 even more 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…

In a radical departure from the usual romanticisation of the samurai, director Tadashi Imai – using period sets and sometimes graphic images – made a film fundamentally critical of medieval Japan’s feudal system and the inhumane samurai code called bushido… read more

BERLINALE TRIBUTE

The Long Good Friday

Director: John Mackenzie, United Kingdom, 1980

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 about how he does it… read more

FORUM ANNIVERSARY PROGRAMME

Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt  (It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives)

Director: Rosa von Praunheim, Federal Republic of Germany, 1971

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 from the use of the term in equal measure. The film’s critique, expressed from a deliberately “diffuse artistic stance” (Praunheim), mixed elements of fiction and documentary films as well as of polemics and appeal, thereby queering classical film narratives. It was directed at the gay scene itself in particular, which Praunheim accused of self-imposed invisibility… read more