Official Competition (12)
Split into three segments, each told from a different perspective, Marco Van Geffen's smart thriller Among Us focuses on the lives of immigrant workers in Europe. Ewa, a vulnerable and shy young girl from Poland, travels to The Netherlands to work as an au pair for a young couple. From the onset, the relationship is strained. Exacerbating the sense of unease are media reports about a sexual predator on the loose. Despite these thriller elements, van Geffen is far more interested in exploring social and cultural prejudices than adhering to generic conventions.
After 12 years of separation, Simon knocks on his father's door. But embittered by his divorce, he leaves the boy outside. Björn is adopted, and his parents are getting a divorce. He starts to question his own life, and death. Kristoffer shares a trouble past with his mother, which will eventually lead him to an irreparable deed. Three parallel storylines, three disturbed families, three hurt teenagers who each decide to radically and irreversibly break the negative spiral for a new start. Swedish director Shaker K. Tahrer violently confronts his audience with the traumas of life.
Cemal has just fond out he is sterile. He convinces his wife to fake her pregnancy and to adopt a child. When the child Can arrives, it is rejected by the mother. Unable to cope with the situation, Cemal leaves... Sterility is still a contraversial issue in a patriarchal society and the male crisis is still a very unexploited topic in Turkish cinema. Tackling these taboes and relating themes such as guilt and family values shows the courage of director Rasit Çelikeser in this very modern film. Received the special award of the Jury at Sundance Film Festival.
Maja Miloš' first feature film explores the tension between apathy and unrestrained euphoria of teenagers captured in dismal Serbian everyday reality. Maja’s characters find escape in the parallel world of sex, drugs and video tapes, bound by energy they cannot control. Combining fast, explicit imagery with an atmosphere of dreamy melancholy, Maja’s film is sure to raise some eyebrows in European cinema.
Tetouan, the Atlantic port city in the north of Morocco. Three young men decide to rob a jewellery store. They are among the hopelessly unemployed street population of Morocco’s provincial cities, common thugs in the eyes of many but bound by solidarity and friendship. They see the heist as a means to break out of a cycle of poverty that weighs on their destiny like a life sentence. The noir motifs woven into Death for Sale constitute a poetic matrix through which director Faouzi Bensaïdi draws his incisive and intricate portrait of a city left to fend for itself, torn between smugglers and corrupt officials, and prey to extremism and dejection. Art Cinema Award in Berlin
Jojo, a lively 10-year old with a difficult home life marked by a volatile father and an absent mother, finds solace in an abandonned baby jackdaw. Throught the special friendship he builds with the bird, the wall between him and his father will be brought down. This strong debut by Dutch director Boudewijn Koole goes straight to the heart, and has been awarded the prize for best first film and best film of the category Kplus in Berlin.
A German couple and their son migrate temporarily to the Norwegian town Hammerfest next to the Polar circle. Between November 22nd and January 21st, the sun never rises. One has to get used to the unbearable darkness and silence. During a very quiet night, destiny hits: driving back from work, Maria hits something... or is it someone? German director Matthias Glasner photography manages to capture the loneliness of these vast frozen areas. In an almost hostile environment, he disrupts the serenity of the moral man while confronted to numerous dilemmas. Guilt, complicity, pardon, compassion. Outside, it is still night. Inside, people are searching for themselves and each other. Soon, the sun will rise.
Rachid is 19 years old and works for an East London gang as a drug dealer. He is a rolemodel for his 14 year old brother Mo. When Rachid starts talking about changing his life and when his homosexuality is revealed, everybody starts questionning him. His gang of course, but also Mo, who quickly follows his brothers' criminal path. The first feature film of British director Sally El Hosaini is full of challenges: immigration, drugs, violence, homosexuality in the Egyptian community... All these themes are handled in a very direct way, with in the background, the complexity of a brotherly relationship. Label europa Cinemas for best European film in the panorama section of Berlin.
Spanish thriller and horror master Enrique Urbizu concocts a tense, briskly paced genre thriller around the old story of a good cop gone bad, who ends up fighting a lonely battle against a ring of international criminals. Engrossing action, a rock solid performance by Urbizu regular José Coronado (Box 507) and energetic tech work all keep this police procedural on track. Urbizu wrote the script for Polanski's The 9th Gate and was awarded 6 Goya's for best feature film, best director and best leading actor for Coronado. And an American remake is already planned...
The story is set just after the second world war, in Masuria, a region in North-East Poland, whose zone has become Polish again after have been German. Tadeusz is Polish and meets Róża, a woman broken by years of struggle. Wojciech Smarzowski and director of photography Piotr Sobociński Jr bring us much more than a dramatic love story. They deliver a moving account in memory of the drama of teh Masurians. Because for the soldiers of the Red Army, Masuria was germany, and Masurian, citizens of the worse kind. Not really German, neither completely Polish. A despised people with a torn land. Rose received 7 Eagles from the Polish Film academy, including for best film of the year.
Marina, thirty something, is raped by a dubious policeman. This brutal agression makes her a willing victim, obsessed by just one thing: to have sex with her agressor. Russian director Angelina Nikonova's first film has shocked some of her fellow citizens. The film is raw and hard, portraying the degeneration of contemporary Russia's society, and is written by two women, Nikonova and leading character Olga Dihovichnaya. A film with balls.
Mehmet, soon to be a father, visits his mother in an almost deserted Turkish village. And starts asking questions. About his father, who left the country and died during an accident at work. But the old lady does not want to stir up the past. This debut by documentary makers Orhan Eskiköy and Zeynel Doğan is partly inspired by the story of Doğan's family. A mix of documentary (the personal sound recordings) and fiction telling the tragic tale of a Kurdish family between 1789 and 2009. A reflection on the country, Turkey and its past – and on identity.