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Berlinale 2024 Program Unveiled

todayJanuary 22, 2024

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Dive into the 74th Berlin International Film Festival – A Global Canvas of Stories and Dialogue.

The 74th Berlin International Film Festival, also known as Berlinale, has officially revealed its program for 2024, set to take place from February 15 to 24, 2024, and promises a thought-provoking lineup that addresses current global challenges while celebrating the art of cinema.

Opening Statement

Mariëtte Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian
Mariëtte Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian

Mariëtte Rissenbeek, Executive Director, emphasized the festival’s commitment to fostering dialogue and exchanging ideas in the face of global challenges. The ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, the war in Ukraine, and various conflicts worldwide serve as a backdrop for this year’s events, urging participants to engage in conversations that strengthen society’s ability to address conflicts.

The “AfroBerlin” partnership event expands the European Film Market’s conference and networking program to provide more opportunities for filmmakers from underrepresented communities and the Global South. Support continues for independent filmmakers from Iran, Belarus, and the Ukrainian film industry.

The special project “Berlinale Meets Fußball” explores the intersection of cinema and sports, commissioning eleven short films about youth football teams in Germany. This project highlights the significance of community, diversity, and inclusion for young football players.

Word to Carlo Chatrian

Carlo Chatrian, Artistic Director, likened the festival program to a tree with roots in the past and branches reaching into the future: “The work undertaken in collaboration with a wonderful team translates into expectations we all have for the tales that have stimulated our minds and that we are now offering to the festivalgoers. If I were to try and capture the entire programme in a glance, I would not see a dominant colour but, instead, an underlying idea.”

The Artistic Director also emphasized the enduring nature of film images, contrasting them with the transient nature of other media: “…film relies on the persistence of images. Images that, sometimes for obvious but more often mysterious reasons, remain captured in our minds. Images that endure, like trees in a storm. In the silent tragedy of images without bodies, of figures and data created out of nothing, of manipulated sounds, the moving images of this festival are precious, like a forest facing extinction.”

Competition Highlights

Another End by Piero Messina
Another End by Piero Messina

The Competition section of the Berlinale features 20 films from 30 countries, including two first features and two documentary forms. Women directed or co-directed six films, showcasing a balance between revered auteurs and emerging voices in independent cinema.

“We are particularly proud of this year’s selection, which achieves the best possible balance between auteurs we cherish and admire and powerful new voices in the independent cinema landscape,” said Carlo Chatrian.

Among the titles, “La Cocina” by Alonso Ruizpalacios is a love story set in a Manhattan restaurant dealing with missing money and romantic entanglements, starring Rooney Mara and Raúl Briones. Also, “Another End” by Piero Messina is a drama featuring Gael García Bernal and Renate Reinsve, exploring themes of loss and new beginnings.

“Small Things Like These” by Tim Mielants: the opening film, starring Cillian Murphy, delves into the shocking truths about Ireland’s Magdalene laundries in the 1980s. “Gloria!” by Margherita Vicario, starring Galatea Bellugi, Carlotta Gamba, and Veronica Lucchesi, is set in a women’s institute in Venice at the end of the 18th century.

There will be no shortage of chills with “The Devil’s Bath” by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, a movie based on an unknown chapter of European history—a film about women, religion and ritual murders.

Isabelle Hupper is in the Competition section with Hong Sangsoo’s“A Traveler’s Needs”.

Encounters Section

"Arcadia" by Yorgos Zois
“Arcadia” by Yorgos Zois

According to Carlo Chatrian, Artistic Director of the Berlinale, each film selected in Encounters challenges the traditional ways we evaluate cinema. The lineup features an array of genres, including surreal detections, ironic tales, sentimental comedies, observational documentaries, parables, and therapeutic exercises. Together, these films paint a rich picture of the world in the 21st century, capturing its beauty and tragedies.

The Encounters section boasts a global representation, with films from 17 countries allowing filmmakers to experiment with storytelling techniques and narrative structures. Including two first features and one debut documentary form adds an element of discovery, showcasing emerging talents unafraid to take risks.

Some notable films in the Encounters section include “Arcadia” by Yorgos Zois, offering a unique exploration of its characters through surreal elements; “Cidade; Campo” by Juliana Rojas, a film that weaves a narrative around urban and rural landscapes; and “Demba” by Mamadou Dia, a compelling story that unfolds in the dynamic backdrop of Senegal.

Directors Guillaume Cailleau and Ben Russell bring “Direct Action”, a documentary form that promises to challenge traditional notions of non-fiction storytelling.

Berlinale Special

“Love Lies Bleeding” by Rose Glass
“Love Lies Bleeding” by Rose Glass

Featuring a mix of seven documentary forms, ten feature films, and two series, Berlinale Special ensures a rich and varied program that caters to diverse tastes and preferences. The section boasts 16 world premieres, underlining the festival’s commitment to presenting fresh and compelling content to its global audience.

Chatrian described Berlinale Special as offering a rich lineup with three programming strands. The section not only showcases the latest works by established masters such as Abel Ferrara, Amos Gitai, Tsai Ming-Liang, and Nicolas Philibert but also explores genre films and series, providing a comprehensive cinematic experience.

One of the notable entries is “Cuckoo,” directed by Tilman Singer and starring Dan Stevens, Jessica Henwick, and Jan Bluthardt. This German film, making its world premiere at Berlinale, promises a unique blend of horror and drama, adding an element of suspense to the festival.

“Love Lies Bleeding” by Rose Glass, featuring Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian, Ed Harris, Dave Franco, and Jena Malone, is another highlight in the Berlinale Special lineup. This U.S./UK production, which had its international premiere in 2023, explores a queer crime thriller and adds a touch of mystery to the festival.

The inclusion of films like “Seven Veils” by Atom Egoyan, “Spaceman” by Johan Renck, and “Treasure” by Julia von Heinz further elevates the prestige of Berlinale Special. With their international premieres, these films bring together acclaimed directors and talented casts, promising a captivating blend of storytelling and performances.

Written by: Federica Scarpa




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