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Berlinale Forum 2011 – Utopians


Director: Zbigniew Bzymek
USA 2011
Cast includes Jim Fletcher (Roger), Courtney Webster (Zoe), Lauren Hind (Maya), Arthur French (Morris), Jessica Jelliffe (Deborah), and Sacha Yanow (Agnes)

Roger is arguably the worst yoga teacher in the world, and your home-renovation contractor from hell. But he’s a good egg. A single dad after the death of his wife, Roger’s life suddenly gets complicated when his daughter Zoe returns home from military service, on a mission to rescue her certified schizophrenic girlfriend Maya from institutionalization.

Roger’s increasingly frustrated students start to abandon him as he comes to class later and later, retreats into his own head for rambling, free-associative patter that takes the place of actual yoga instruction, and starts bringing a stray pit bull to class.

Tension grows as Maya is released from institutional care and comes to live/camp with Roger and Zoe. Roger’s friend Morris offers a live-in renovation job in his well-furnished house, and the newly formed family move in and promptly begin to decompensate, as the psychiatrists say, or perhaps just begin to find their way.

A perfect cast is led by Jim Fletcher (recently starring as Gatsby in the Elevator Repair Service’s marathon performance of Gatz), Courtney Webster, and Lauren Hind, with strong support by Arthur French, Jessica Jelliffe, and Sacha Yanow. Courtney Webster and Lauren Hind pulled double duty as producers.

Shot on location in Brooklyn in HDCam, with credits to Woodhull Hospital as well as to key artwork, including one fantastic painting of the fall of Nelson at Trafalgar.

The score is by Harvey Valdes, capturing the cold sounds of madness in one of the “longest-lasting guitar improvisations since Dead Man.”

A feature debut for director Zbigniew Bzymek, who is an associate artist at The Wooster Group, where he makes short doc videos and develops video design for productions, including the space vampire opera La Didone.

Read the Forum essay. Visit the film website.

Berlinale Forum Announces 2011 Program


With 39 films in the main program and 6 films as specials, the 41st Forum of the Berlinale will be screening 24 world premieres and 12 international premieres February 10 through 20. In addition, Forum will show 8 films by the seminal Japanese director Shibuya Minoru, who directed more than four dozen films between 1937 and 1966.

Last year, Berlinale Forum selected Winter’s Bone, The Oath, Sawako Decides, among other important finds.

More to come, but for now, here’s the raw list for this year:

Main Programme
Amnesty by Bujar Alimani, Albania/Greece/France – WP
Auf der Suche (Looking for Simon) by Jan Krüger, Germany/France – WP
Ausente (Absent) by Marco Berger, Argentina – WP
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye by Marie Losier, USA/France – WP
Brownian Movement by Nanouk Leopold, The Netherlands/Germany/Belgium – EP
Cheonggyecheon Medley: A Dream of Iron by Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Republic of Korea – IP
Day Is Done by Thomas Imbach, Switzerland – WP
Dom (The House) by Zuzana Liová, Slowak Republic/Czech Republic – WP
E-Love by Anne Villaceque, France – IP
De Engel van Doel (An Angel in Doel) by Tom Fassaert, The Netherlands/Belgium – WP
En terrains connus (Familiar Ground) by Stéphane Lafleur, Canada – WP
FIT by Hirosue Hiromasa, Japan – IP
Folge mir (Follow Me) by Johannes Hammel, Austria – IP
Halaw (Ways of the Sea) by Sheron Dayoc, The Philippines – EP
Heaven’s Story by Zeze Takahisa, Japan – IP
Hi-So by Aditya Assarat, Thailand – EP
Jagadangchak: shidaejeongshin kwa hyeonshilchamyeo (Self Referential Traverse: Zeitgeist and Engagement) by Kim Sun, Republic of Korea – WP
Kazoku X (Household X) by Yoshida Kōki, Japan – IP
Man chu (Late Autumn) by Kim Tae-Yong, Republic of Korea/Hongkong, China/USA – EP
Made in Poland by Przemysław Wojcieszek, Poland – IP
Les mains libres (Free Hands) by Brigitte Sy, France – IP
El mocito (The Young Butler) by Marcela Said, Jean de Certeau, Chile – WP
Nesvatbov (Matchmaking Mayor) by Erika Hníková, Czech Republic – IP
Ocio (Idleness) by Alejandro Lingenti, Juan Villegas, Argentina – IP
Osmdesát dopisů (Eighty Letters) by Václav Kadrnka, Czech Republic – WP
Os residentes (The Residents) by Tiago Mata Machado, Brasil – IP
Patang (The Kite) by Prashant Bhargava, India/USA – WP
Poor kor karn rai (The Terrorists) by Thunska Pansittivorakul, Germany/Thailand – WP
Sekai Good Morning!! (Good Morning to the World!!) by Hirohara Satoru, Japan – EP
Silver Bullets/Art History by Joe Swanberg, USA – WP
State of Violence by Khalo Matabane, Republic of South Africa/France – EP
Submarine by Richard Ayoade, Great Britain – EP
Swans by Hugo Vieira da Silva, Germany/Portugal – WP
Take Shelter by Jeff Nichols, USA – IP
Territoire perdu by Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd, France/Belgium – WP
Traumfabrik Kabul (Kabul Dream Factory) by Sebastian Heidinger, Germany/Afghanistan – WP
Unter Kontrolle (Under Control) by Volker Sattel, Germany – WP
Utopians by Zbigniew Bzymek, USA – WP
Viva Riva! by Djo Tunda Wa Munga, Democratic Republic of Congo/France/Belgium – EP

Special Screenings
Dreileben – WP
Etwas besseres als den Tod by Christian Petzold, Germany
Komm mir nicht nach by Dominik Graf, Germany
Eine Minute Dunkel by Christoph Hochhäusler, Germany
Eine Serie von Gedanken by Heinz Emigholz, Germany – WP
Himmel und Erde by Michael Pilz, Austria, 1979-82 (Revival screening)
Sleepless Nights Stories by Jonas Mekas, USA – WP
The Stool Pigeon by Dante Lam, Hongkong, China – EP
Twenty Cigarettes by James Benning, USA – WP

Shibuya Minoru
Honjitsu kyushin (Doctor’s Day Off) by Shibuya Minoru, Japan 1952
Gendaijin (Modern People) by Shibuya Minoru, Japan 1952
Seigi-ha (Righteousness) by Shibuya Minoru, Japan 1957
Akujo no kisetsu (The Days of Evil Women) by Shibuya Minoru, Japan 1958
Mozu (The Shrikes) by Shibuya Minoru, Japan 1961
Kojin kojitsu (A Good Man, a Good Day) by Shibuya Minoru, Japan 1961
Yopparai tengoku (Drunkard’s Paradise) by Shibuya Minoru, Japan 1962
Daikon to ninjin (The Radish and the Carrot) by Shibuya Minoru, Japan 1964

EP = European premiere
IP = International premiere
WP = World premiere

New York Film Festival – Mistérios de Lisboa / Mysteries of Lisbon


10 October
New York Film Festival
Mysteries of Lisbon (Mistérios de Lisboa)
Raúl Ruiz, 2010, Portugal/France, 272m

Léa Seydoux … Branca de Montfort
Melvil Poupaud … Ernesto Lacroze
Clotilde Hesme … Elisa de Montfort
José Afonso Pimentel … Pedro da Silva Adulto
Catarina Wallenstein … Condessa de Arosa
Maria João Bastos … Ângela de Lima
Lena Friedrich … Moçoila
Filipe Vargas … D. Paulo de Albuquerque
Malik Zidi … Visconde Armagnac
Joana Pinhão Botelho … Criadita
Albano Jerónimo … Conde de Santa Bárbara
Ricardo Pereira … Alberto de Magalhães & Come-Facas
Carloto Cotta … D. Álvaro de Albuquerque
Adriano Luz … Padre Dinis & Sabino Cabra & Sebastião de Melo
Margarida Vila-Nova … Marquesa de Alfarela

A breathtaking visualization of Camilo Castelo Branco’s 1854 “diary of suffering” Mistérios de Lisboa. Distilled from a 6-hour television production.

The story begins and ends with teenage boy living under the care of a mysterious priest and desperate to discover his parentage. Gradually introduced to his mother, a beautiful countess married to a sadistic nobleman, the boy slowly learns pieces of his story, always a step behind us, with tragic consequences.

Layers of confession, penance and forgiveness. Expert art direction and camerawork, including one unforgettable sequence in which the narrator’s mother gives permission for the priest to tell her son the story of his birth. Opens in sun, which becomes overcast as she withdraws.

Update: US Distributor – Music Box Films (2011)

Stillness in Motion: Selections from “American Movie Critics”


American Movie Critics: An Anthology from the Silents Until Now. Edited by Phillip Lopate. New York: Library of America, 2006. [Amazon]

A fascinating book. Wonderful for updating your Netflix list, and also for getting a sense of America’s love affair with the movies from the start.

Some quotes:

“The rhythm of the play is marked by unnatural rapidity. As the words are absent which, in the drama as in life, fill the gaps between the actions, the gestures and deeds themselves can follow one another much more quickly. Happenings which would fill an hour on stage can fill hardly more than twenty minutes on the screen. This heightens the feeling of vitality in the spectator. He feels as if he were passing through life with a sharper accent which stirs his personal energies.” – Hugo Munsterberg (b. 1863)

“First of all, reality (today anyway) is largely the invention of journalism and is based on the formulas of the neat, transmissible word-summary of action past. Visual media simply convert this formula into sight terms. In both fiction and so-called fact media, or a fusion of them, the same banal process always takes place: the technicians invent a plausible simulacrum of what is supposed to happen or have happened in life. A newsreel or documentary film is supposed (a) to represent accomplished fact or (b) typical and/or current and continuous fact. Each is an item, more or less edited, detached from the whole continuum of reality yet presumed to stand for reality-reality in an ontological sense, the “world,” and so on.” – Parker Tyler (b. 1904)

“The Astaire-Rogers dance films were romances, or rather, chapters in a single epic romance…. in those years dancing was transformed into a vehicle of serious emotion between a man and a woman. It never happened in movies again.” – Arlene Croce (b. 1934)

“…audiences who have been forced to wade through the thick middle-class padding of more expensively made movies to get to the action enjoy the nose-thumbing at “good taste” of cheap movies that stick to the raw materials. At some basic level, they like the pictures to be cheaply done, they enjoy the crudeness; it’s a breather, a vacation from proper behavior and good taste and required responses.” – Pauline Kael (b. 1919)

“People like me who champion pornography on the grounds that it is life-enhancing are constantly being told that it isn’t truly life-enhancing, because it is only a travesty of the real thing. The difficulty with that argument is knowing what the real thing is. Whenever I ask for a definition, my interlocutor begins to sputter; precisely as “everyone” knows that blue movies are boring, “everyone” knows what the real thing is. But I don’t. Or I do and I don’t. I live bathed in a continuous erotic glow, and I recognize pornography as among the thousand blessed things that heighten this glow. Like sunlight, like water, like the smell and taste of skin, it helps make me happy. I foresee that with every passing year it will become increasingly precious to me: a vade mecum when the adventure of old age begins.” – Brendan Gill (b. 1914)

“Film is stillness in motion. There is no such thing as a moving picture. All pictures are still pictures. The illusion of movement in film comes from passing a succession of perfectly frozen images before a lens so rapidly, with a convenient eyeblink between them, that we are deceived into thinking that stillness is action. Take the film out of the projector and look at any one frame – as you now must, if you wish to see it at all – and you will see what Keaton may have seen all his life: rigidity at the heart of things, rigidity as the very condition of apparent activity. Keaton may have taken his esthetic – even his attitude toward life – from the knowledge he derived every time he finished a strip of celluloid. What was printed on the celluloid was immobile, silent as the tomb, an extract and an abstract from the void. It was also, at the same time, part of a continuum, and when the continuum was seen whole – miracle of miracles that this should be possible – what had been indisputably dead leapt to unreal, yet mysteriously persuasive, life. Now Zero moves, has being, joins the tangible – without ceasing to be Zero. Whether he arrived at his identity consciously or not, Keaton became what film is.” Walter Kerr (b. 1913)

Films recommended by selected critics, not yet on Netflix:

Edgar Allan Poe (1909)
Man’s Genesis (1912)
Greed (1924)
Moana of the South Seas (1926)
Hog Wild (1930)
The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933)
The Devil Is a Woman (1935)
Ceiling Zero (1936)
Elephant Boy (1937)
God’s Stepchildren (1938)
Youth Runs Wild (1944)
Counter-Attack (1945)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
Saratoga Trunk (1945)
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Intruder in the Dust (1949)
The Tall Target (1951)
Banditi a Milano (1968)
High School (1968)
The Coming Thing (1970)
Law and Order (1969)
Hospital (1970)
The Gland Hotel (1975)
Welfare (1975)
Meat (1976)
Cheek to Cheek (1986)

Films I Want to See in New York – 8 – Winter’s Bone


Watch This Film

Winter’s Bone
Debra Granik, USA
2010, 100 min

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence (Ree), John Hawkes (Teardrop), Kevin Breznahan (Little Arthur), Dale Dickey (Merab), Garret Dillahunt (Sheriff Baskin), Sheryl Lee (April), Lauren Sweetser (Gail), Tate Taylor (Satterfield)

Opening June 11, Angelika and Lincoln Plaza.

“It ain’t much, but it’s all we have.”

Winner of two independent juries’ prizes at this year’s Berlinale, Winter’s Bone is the unflinching telling of a Ozark Mountain girl’s desperate quest to keep her family intact by finding a father who vanished after posting their home as bond.

Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), the sole support of her younger brother and sister and mentally ill mother, is a classic film heroine who when up against impossible odds won’t take no for an answer. Dead or alive, she must find her meth-cooking father, defying a near-cultic criminal syndicate that manufactures, supplies, and supports crank culture in the Ozarks.

Based on a novel by David Woodrell and set on location in Christian and Taney counties in southwest Missouri, Winter’s Bone uses experienced actors in the lead roles and local actors and residents for most of the secondary parts. Dale Dickey is electric in the role of Merab, wife and gatekeeper to the local crime lord. John Hawkes shows unexpected tenderness and loyalty as Ree’s fearsome, addicted uncle. And Jennifer Lawrence inhabits the lead role with hardscrabble grit and enduring vulnerability as she tries to see her brother and sister through their own childhoods.

After several scouting trips to the area, and with help from local guides to one of the North America’s more exotic and dangerous locations, cinematographer Michael McDonough and production crew manage to skirt hillbilly cliche in settings of meth labs, run-down farms, and honky tonks.

In one expert nighttime composition, Ree waits in her uncle’s truck while he engages the opposition with some calculated violence, an American flag darkly reflected in windshield.

Update: US Distributor – Roadside Attractions (2010)

Films I Want to See in New York – 7 – Putty Hill


Putty Hill
Matthew Porterfield, USA
2010, 89 min

Cast: Sky Ferreira (Jenny), Zoe Vance (Zoe), James Siebor, Jr. (James), Dustin Ray (Dustin), Cody Ray (Cody), Charles “Spike” Sauers (Spike), Catherine Evans (Cathy), Virginia Heath (Virginia), Casey Weibust (Casey), Drew Harris (Geoff), Marina Siebor (Marina)

To be screened at BAMcinemaFEST, Sun, Jun 13 at 8:45pm

A junkie’s house, a boy’s death. Girls smoking in the woods. Cops on the hunt for a bank robber. Grandma is a good egg. Tagger – Rest in Peace, Cory.

A girl comes home to her estranged father’s tattoo party. A karaoke wake. Visiting a dead brother’s junkie lair at night. All he kept was his skateboard. The friendship of girls.

Putty Hill in the Northeast of Baltimore is both urban and bucolic. A filmmaker was working a coming-of-age tale about a group of metal-heads skirting the fringes of Baltimore. It was a timely script, but financing fell through. To rescue the work of everyone involved, he shot a new film in 12 days. Director Matt Porterfield:

“Putty Hill is not quite like anything I’ve ever seen. On a most basic level, it is an amalgam of traditional forms of documentary and narrative realism. But it is an approach to realism in opposition to the anthropological, lyrical, and romantic currents present in most of the genre. More importantly, though the structure of the film was plotted, the details of individual scenes were largely improvised, breathing life into the dialogue and bringing an enhanced degree of naturalism to the relationships between characters. I had already established firm bonds with my cast working with them on Metal Gods, so they trusted me enough to take risks and bring a level of emotional honesty to the material.”

A triumph of salvage. Not to be missed.

US Release: Feb 18, 2011 (Cinema Guild)

Films I Want to See in New York – 6 – Sawako Decides


Kawa no soko kara konnichi wa / Sawako Decides
Ishii Yuya, Japan
2009, 112 min

Cast: Mitsushima Hikari (Sawako), Endo Masashi (Kenichi), Aihara Kira (Kayoko), Shiga Kotaro (Sawakos Vater Tadao), Iwamatsu Ryo (Nobuo).

To be screened at Japan Cuts Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema (July 1 – 16, 2010)

After five years, five jobs, and five boyfriends, Sawako (Mitsushima Hikari) still has not fully arrived in Tokyo. Her favorite phrases are “can’t be helped” and “working class is why.”

Kenichi (Endo Masashi), a toy designer at the toy company, has determined to live an “eco lifestyle.” Sawako spends evenings with him and his daughter Kayoko (Ahira Kira), while he clumsily knits a sweater vest, baby blue like his own, intended for Sawako. Instead of a good-night kiss at her door, Kenichi asks Sawako for her empty cans to recycle.

In Sawako Decides (literal translation of the Japanese title is “Hello From the River Bed”), we learn the power of a “lower-middling woman” – chu no ge no on-na.

Yuya may have hit on the trope of the decade with his observation that “the image of small shellfish squirming in the riverbed also contains a hopeless gravity that was a perfect fit.” He says his influences are musical even more than cinematic, and I believe him; Sawako Decides is wonderfully paced. And Mitsushima Hikari is an expressive, physically precise comic genius.

Films I Want to See in New York – 5 – Double Tide


Double Tide
Sharon Lockhart, USA/Austria
2009, 99 min

For two weeks each year in South Bristol, Maine, low tide occurs twice within daylight hours—once at dawn and once at dusk. From the perspective of her stationary camera, filmmaker Sharon Lockhart documents the progress of a solitary clammer (Jen Casad) in these magic hours as she hauls her heavy skid out into the shallow cove and makes her way across the mudflat.

The clammer works for 45 minutes in the fog of dawn. Slowly, sunlight touches the landscape. Colors and features emerge, a Japanese landscape painting come to life. These are momentous events.

No words or music accompany the clammer at her centuries-old, physically demanding, solitary work. The intermittent buzz of an insect, the slap of boots in mud, a sharp sucking pop as she pulls clams from their nests, the dull thunk as they land in her bucket, a distant foghorn.

The screens breaks to black, then the 45-minute cycle repeats in the late afternoon, twilight sun, blue sky. A completely different picture – somehow the clammer seems much bigger, her world smaller.

Once she finds something that hurts – says “Oh!” and pulls back her hand. She tires, her hand seems to cramp. A cough. Nearby children’s voices as she finishes her work, washing heavy buckets of clams as darkness falls.

Double Tide is Lockhart’s fourth film about work (after (Nō, Lunch Break and Exit).

Update: US Release – Nov 12, 2010

Berlinale Forum – Born of Dissent, All Grown Up, with Integrity Intact


Born of dissent, the International Forum of New Cinema serves filmmakers and audiences who – while appreciative of cinema’s power to entertain and knowledgeable of the tools of entertainment – want something more.

The singular value of the Berlinale Forum – the most consciously political section of the most political of the mega film festivals – is to be found in its evergreen ability to change our minds as the world changes around us.

“The Forum has always defended cinema’s role as a forum of artistic expression beyond imposed limits or categorizations, focusing on the new and unusual, whether seeking to preserve the experimental qualities of cinema or arouse the interest of audiences for expressive cinema from off the beaten track, ‘Expanded Cinema’, the filmic avant-garde, documentary film projects that shatter formal boundaries as well as popular world cinema have all found their place at the Forum…”

Christoph Terhechte[1]

Over the past four decades, international audiences have first seen films like Sátántangó and Shoah; films by Peter Watkins and Frederick Wiseman, at this unique festival-within-festival.

“The Forum thus has to be many things at once, goals which conflict with each other; a venue to reveal otherwise undiscovered geographic-cinematic territory; a place for the premiere of such films that, still today – though maybe not in the next decade – have a small chance of commercial distribution internationally; an integral part of a public event which services hundreds of thousands of Berliners but also visiting members of the media and festival programmers, who are looking for films to write about and bring home to their own festivals and who both thrive on negativity…”

Mark Peranson[1]

In my brief four years of attending Forum, I’ve been impressed by the skill, knowledge, and passion of Forum interrogators during the all-important dialogs at the end of each screening. Here we see the heart of the project, the dedication to help give audiences orientation in the evolving world of cinema.

Taking advantage of the special attention span that occurs when people go crazy seeing as many films as possible for ten days, and filmmakers from around the world have an opportunity to engage with a knowledgeable audience and with each other, the Forum programmers help to show us a new way, often through films that don’t fit into the mainstream festival and distribution system.

This year, I was fortunate to see twenty of the thirty-four films on the Forum main slate, and a retrospective screening of three groundbreaking films by Bill Forsyth.

Seeing Red
I was interested to see the rapid emergence of the Red camera this year, employed to impressive effect in Imani (which recounts a day in the lives of three people in Kampala and in Gulu province, in Uganda); Im Schatten (a straight-up crime film juxtaposing the mechanics of a career outside the law with clear-eyed views of industrial Berlin); Fin (a subdued, tense psycho-thriller in which an 18-year-old recruits two younger teenagers for a mysterious, unnamed action at a mining site); El recuento de los daños (a novel telling of the tragedy of the victims of Argentina’s military dictatorship); and Yoŭ yī tiān (a wholly original film, in which none of multiple narrative streams can be pinpointed as reality).

Ethnography, Sometimes from Unexpected Locales
Several fine films explored new aspects of ethnography in the film medium. In Paltadacho Munis, a tale of loneliness, compassion and the eternal struggle against bigotry, a widowed forest ranger in the Western Ghats of India’s Goa district struck up an unlikely relationship with a madwoman he finds lost and alone in the woods. Putty Hill set a tale of death and coming of age on the fringes of Baltimore. Director Yang Rui spent three years with the Wa people in southwestern China, on the border with Burma, to film Fan shan, tale of human sacrifice, young love, a Russian hand grenade, and a hopeless television set. Winter’s Bone is the unflinching telling of a Ozark Mountain girl’s desperate quest to keep her family intact by finding a father who vanished after posting their home as bond. From the perspective of her stationary camera, filmmaker Sharon Lockhart documented the progress of a solitary clammer in Double Tide over two magic hours in a profession as old as there have been human inhabitants of this area. The Oath – also a selection of this year’s New Directors/New Films series – explored the twin tragedies of 9/11 and America’s reaction to the attacks by tracing the story of Salim Hamdan, largely from the perspective of his friend Nasser al-Bahri, a.k.a. Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden’s chief bodyguard until his arrest shortly before the attacks.

Globalized Angst via Europe
A number of European filmmakers contributed novel perspectives on modern life in a global culture. Through interviews, a video diary, and film clips, filmmaker Gamma Bak documented her adult life as a “child of freedom,” punctuated by seven episodes of schizoid-affective psychosis in Schnupfen im Kopf. Pus explored a dystopian Turkey. First and foremost a good movie about a woman who loses her job and has problems, Eine flexible Frau also revealed work and life for a woman in the New Berlin, and countless other “cities of women” of the new global capitalism. Der Tag des Spatzen followed connections between sparrows and humans from Leeuwarden to the Buechel air base in the Mosel valley, the villages and forests of the Eifel region, the coast of the Baltic Sea, and cities Bonn and Berlin. In Bibliothèque Pascal, Szabolcs Hajdu employed ravishing cinematography with unique humanity and irony to relate a tale of the brutal sex traffic between the former USSR and the UK as a metaphor for the rape of imagination that rules the global culture business. In a miracle of focused sight and sound, stories of nine travelers unfolded in the context of an extended documentary view of a morning at Orly airport. In Indigène d’Eurasie, director Sharunas Bartas plays the character of a ruthless killer who is not a bad man.

Asian New Wave
Young Asian filmmakers continued to break new ground. Kawa no soko kara konnichi wa demonstrated the power of a “lower-middling woman” – chu no ge no on-na – through a perfect performance by Mitsushima Hikari, an expressive, physically precise comic genius. Kenta to Jun to Kayo chan no kuni, Omori Tatsushi’s second feature, cast Love Exposure’s Ando Sakura as Kayo, a lonely girl who encounters two dim-witted orphans on the eve of a final attempt to break out of their miserable lives. Na-neun gon-kyeong-e cheo-haet-da! explored the lives of young professionals and office workers in Seoul through the misadventures of a vulnerable man stuck between poetry and the law exam.

Another Chance
For each film they select, the Forum curators buy a print, pay for subtitles, and archive – often showing to Berlin audiences in the Arsenal Kino long after the February snow of Berlinale has melted. That makes me hopeful that I will yet see the films that I missed this year: Aisheen (Still Alive in Gaza); Yiye Taibei/Au Revoir Taipei; La belle visite; Soreret/Black Bus; La bocca del Lupo/The Mouth of the Wolf; Congo in Four Acts; El vuelco del cangrejo/Crab Trap; Kanikosen (actually saw this at New York Film Festival, but lost my essay); Neo-wa na-eui i-shib-il-seki/Our Fantastic 21st Century; Portretul luptatorului la tenerete/Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man; Sona, mo hitori no watashi/Sona, the Other Myself; Sunny Land; Ya/I Am.

1. Dialoge mit Filmen: 4 Jahrsehnte Forum/Dialogues with Films: 4 Decades of the Forum. Berlin: Arsenal – Institut fur Film und Videokunst e.V., n.d.