Berlin Festival Unveils First Panorama Titles

I Am Not Your Negro - Still 1 - H -2016
Courtesy of TIFF

Raoul Peck's 'I Am Not Your Negro' and Kitty Green's 'Casting JonBenet' are among the titles that will screen in the sidebar.

The Berlin Film Festival has unveiled the first 11 films that will screen in its Panorama sidebar.

Politics and history take center stage in the lineup so far, with several titles reflecting on the history of black people from Africa to the Americas and a number examining the political upheaval of today.

The 2017 Panorama will open with The Wound from director John Trengove, the story of a South African businessman from Johannesburg who takes his son to witness the circumcision ceremony of his old tribe.

Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck, whose new feature The Young Karl Marx has landed a special gala screening in Berlin, will also show his acclaimed I Am Not Your Negro, in the Panorama section. The documentary on the life and work of great African-American writer James Baldwin is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

Vazante, the first solo directorial effort from Brazilian filmmaker Daniela Thomas (Linha de Passe), examines the exploitation of black slaves in her country, the last nation to officially abolish slavery.

Modern-day politics are represented by Fernando Leon de Aranoa's documentary Politics, Instruction Manual, an in-depth look at the rise of left-wing populist movement Podemos in Spain, one of the few European countries that has seen progressive politics blossom in the past few years. Another doc, Fighting Through the Night, from Canadian filmmaker Sylvain L’Esperance, examines the political situation in Greece. Also heading to Berlin are Kitty Green's Casting JonBenet, a documentary about the violent, and still unsolved, murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey 20 years ago; and the Austrian experimental nonfiction film Untitled, from the directing team of Michael Glawogger and Monika Willi.

Among the dramas in Panorama's lineup are Honeygiver Among the Dogs, a film noir out of Bhutan, which will have its European premiere in Berlin; Centaur from Kyrgyzstan director Aktan Arym Kubat; the Taiwanese feature Small Talk from Hui-chen Huang; and Pendular, a drama from up-and-coming Brazilian filmmaker Julia Murat (Found Memories).

The remainder of the Panorama lineup will be announced in January.

The 2017 Berlin Film Festival runs Feb. 8-18.