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Berlinale 2012. First Round of Panorama Titles

New work by Tony Gatlif, Malgoska Szumowska, Ira Sachs, Volker Schlöndorff, Cao Hamburger, Pen-ek Ratanaruang…
The Daily
The Berlinale's announced today that 20 films are now lined up for its Panorama program. All in all, around 50 titles will make up the main program, Panorama Special and Panorama Dokumente.

10+10 by Hou Hsiao-hsien, Wang Toon, Wu Nien-Jen, Sylvia Chang, Chen Guo-Fu, Wei Te-Sheng, Chung Meng-Hung, Chang Tso-Chi, Arvin Chen, Yang Ya-Che and others, Taiwan — see a full report from the Taipei Film Commission: "Funded by the Golden Horse Film Festival and the Republic of China Centenary Foundation, 10+10 [is] a movie comprised of 20 short films by 10 renowned and 10 emerging Taiwanese filmmakers."
Die Wand (The Wall) by Julian Roman Pölsler, Austria/Germany
With Martina Gedeck — Synopsis from The Match Factory: "(1.) The wall is a highly unusual exploration of solitude and survival. (2.) It is the story of a woman who is separated from the shooting-party that she has been exploring the countryside with. (3.) Her dog is her only companion. (4.) Unperturbed, she attempts to return to the village where the party is staying. (5.) As they walk she is suddenly aware of the dog's bloodied nose and unsteady gait. (6.) Further towards the village she stumbles up against an invisible wall. (7.) After much exploration it is clear that this will prevent her return and the greater part of the story concerns her astonishing survival in a situation that demands a reversion to nature. (8.) This difficult but semi-idealized life seems destined to continue uninterrupted until she suspects the presence of something or someone... "
Dollhouse by Kirsten Sheridan, Ireland
With Seana Kerslake, Jonny Ward, Ciaran McCabe, Kate Brennan, Shane Curry
Elles by Malgoska Szumowska, France/Poland/Germany
With Juliette Binoche, Anais Demoustier, Joanna Kulig — Writing for Cinema Scope last fall, Sergio Baldini advised: "Rather than suffer this pretentious failure, you’d be better off seeing Emmanuelle Bercot’s excellent Mes chères études, a film on the same subject made for television in 2010." At Fandor, Michał Oleszczyk found Elles to be a "deeply confused movie; possibly the TIFF 2011 nadir as far as I’m concerned."
Fon Tok Kuen Fah (Headshot) by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Thailand/France
With Nopachai Jayanama, Sirin Horwang, Chanokporn Sayoungkul, Apisit Opasaimlikit, Krerkkiat Punpiputt — In September, Dan Sallitt noted that the film "visits Job-like punishment on its honest-cop hero in order to make him join an underground vigilante group. What drew Ratanaruang to this unsuitable and rather dopey material I couldn't say, but eventually he manages to bring the movie at least partway around to the things he cares about — like the hum of a moving car at night with a man and woman inside."
From Seoul to Varanasi by Kyuhwan Jeon, Republic of Korea
With Donghwan Yoon, Wonjung Chio — From Korean Cinema Today: "Varanasi, India is one of Hindu's holy places, a city where both life and death are known to co-exist. For many decades now, terrorist bombings took place here, day after day, with continuous hostile relations between Hindu and Islam sectors. Director Jeon, who has been persistently delving into the dark side of Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, through his 'Town trilogy' —  Mozart Town, Animal Town and Dance Town, couldn’t just let go of an ironic fate of Varanasi. Setting his mind up on experimenting on an unconventional genre, he chose his fourth directorial effort to be a melodrama."
Hot boy noi loan - cau chuyen ve thang cuoi, co gai diem va con vit (Lost in Paradise) by Vu Ngoc Dang, Vietnam
With Isabel Vendrell Cortès — From the Berlinale: "Inspired by Stéphane Hessel's bestseller Time for Outrage! this French film allows viewers, in both enacted scenes and real situations, to see the recent protests of our times through the eyes of an illegal woman immigrant. She experiences the Occupy movement, the poverty of those who share her fate, and the dissatisfaction of a young generation of European society in revolt." Ray Pride has more.
With Thure Lindhardt, Zachary Booth, Julianne Nicholson, Souleymane Sy Savane, Paprika Steen — From the Sundance synopsis: "Keep the Lights On chronicles the emotionally and sexually charged journey through the love, addiction, and friendship of two men. Documentary filmmaker Erik and closeted lawyer Paul meet through a casual encounter, but they find a deeper connection and become a couple. Individually and together, they are risk takers — compulsive, and fueled by drugs and sex. In an almost decade-long relationship defined by highs, lows, and dysfunctional patterns, Erik struggles to negotiate his own boundaries and dignity, and to be true to himself."
Kuma by Umut Dag, Austria
With Nihal Koldas, Begüm Akkaya, Vedat Erincin, Murathan Muslu, Alev Irmak — From the Austrian Film Commission: "Fatma lives in Vienna with her family, and they maintain the traditions of their old homeland, Turkey. When the young Turkish woman Ayse marries into the family, the two women develop a friendship based on deep trust. Kuma is the story of this relationship, and of the rift that develops between them when Ayse oversteps the limits Fatma has laid down?"
La mer à l'aube (Calm at Sea) by Volker Schlöndorff, France/Germany
With Léo Paul Salmain, Ulrich Matthes, Martin Loizillon, Jacob Matschenz, André Jung, Harald Schrott, Thomas Arnold, Christopher Buchholz — Schlöndorff at the Morelia International Film Festival in October: "It takes place during the Second World War. I have a 19-year-old daughter who always asks me, 'Why the war again? Enough!' I tell her it's my epoch — in times of war, people experience life more dramatically and their stories are more interesting. It really doesn't matter if the film was made about the Roman Empire... Human behavior is always the same."
With Elliot Paquet, Dominik Wojcik — From the IMDb: "Two teenagers spend together a night around the town. One tries desperately to kiss a girl while a desire for his friend overwhelms the other one."
With Ephraim Sykes, Miss Barbie-Q, Phillip Evelyn, Andre Myers, James AlsopJason Anderson for Cinema Scope: "Set in the LA version of the Harlem drag-ball milieu immortalized in the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning (its star Willi Ninja gets a well-deserved shoutout here), Leave It On the Floor is a queer-as-all-get-out musical drama that far outperforms and outclasses any of its glossier Hollywood competition of recent years, even without the presence of a lipsticked John Travolta."
Mei-wei (My Way) by Kang Je-kyu, Republic of Korea
With Maggie Tapert, Ignacio Rivera — Not much at the site yet, but on Facebook, we read: "Set in the international creative melting pot Berlin, this raunchy romantic comedy of errors confronts the last lesbian taboo: Mommy. A take on screwball romantic comedies and porn topped off w/Dunye's ingenious form of storytelling."
Parada (The Parade) by Srdjan Dragojevic, Serbia/Republic of Croatia/ Macedonia/Slovenia
With Nikola Kojo, Milos Samolov, Hristina Popovic, Goran Jevtic, Toni Mihailovski — From F&ME: "A homophobic, middle-aged, Serbian gangster ends up sacrificing himself to protect gay freedom in his country."
The Woman Who Brushed Off Her Tears by Teona Strugar Mitevska, Macedonia/Germany/Slovenia/Belgium
With Victoria Abril, Labina Mitevska, Jean Marie Galey, Arben Bajraktaraj — From Sisters and Brother Mitevski Production: "This is a story of two very different mothers: one that needs to punish in order to be and the other that is forced to accept in order to exist. One that that cannot leave after she finds out the painful truth, the other that is caught in the rules and ways she is not able to escape. "
With Nadhira Mohamed, Memona Mohamed, Aziza Brahim, Ainina Sidameg, Ahmed Molud — FilmAffinity has a synopsis in Spanish. It's also been known as Tears of Sand, evidently.
Xingu by Cao Hamburger, Brazil
With João Miguel, Felipe Camargo, Caio Blat, Maria Flor — From Giordano Rappuccini at last fall's Amazonas Film Festival: "Xingu is about the real-life Villas-Boas brothers who worked for over 25 years to create a homeland for the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. Produced by [Fernando] Meirelles, the movie received a standing ovation by the mostly Brazilian audience."
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DEATH FOR SALE is a Moroccan film and represents Morocco, its first producer. Morocco became independent from France (and Spain) in 1956. Let’s hope it will soon become likewise on these pages as well!
Thanks for catching that, Jamal. The festival had it down as an exclusively French production, but I’ve added Morocco — first! — and Belgium, too, since that’s what we’ve got in our database. Thanks again!

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