Berlin: Forum Sidebar Sets Arab Focus, Gerard Depardieu Thriller

Mexican films also will be in the spotlight in the section, which will feature 44 movies, including 34 world premieres.

The Berlin International Film Festival's 46th Forum sidebar will screen a total of 44 films in its main program, including 34 world premieres and nine international premieres, it was announced Tuesday.

One focus of this year’s lineup is the Arab region. "Films shot by often young directors from an area that stretches between Egypt and Saudi Arabia explore both the past and present of their homelands," organizers said.

The Forum section will, among others, screen The Wandering, a fantasy thriller from French director Guillaume Nicloux that stars Gerard Depardieu as a solitary hunter in the woods. "This stout protagonist loses first his dog and then his way," says a film description. "A summer stroll soon morphs into a fantastical excursion from which there is no escape."

Meanwhile, A Magical Substance Flows Into Me from Jumana Manna looks at Palestinian musical diversity, while Tamer El Said’s In the Last Days of the City sends his alter ego through the director’s home city of Cairo, which is in a state of uproar.

Also part of the lineup is Mahmoud Sabbagh's Barakah Meets Barakah, a Saudi Arabian love story. And Maher Abi Samra’s documentary A Maid for Each deals with the employment of maids in middle-class Lebanese households, "a practice at once omnipresent and kept largely under wraps," according to a description.

Meanwhile, documentary Ta’ang, by Chinese director Wang Bing, shows "everyday life in a largely unknown conflict." The Forum title focuses on the Ta’ang minority fight for independence against the Burmese army on the border with China.

"The full range of current Mexican cinema is on display in this year’s program," Berlin organizers also promise. Among the Forum films from the country is Joaquin del Paso’s utopian feature Panamerican Machinery, a portrait of a factory on the edge of Mexico City in which productivity and progress are foreign concepts. "When the boss of the small company dies and the staff realize he’s been paying their wages from his own pocket for years, they are forced to take drastic measures," says a plot description.

Here is the full Forum sidebar program:

A Magical Substance Flows into Me by Jumana Manna, Palestinian Territories / United Kingdom / United Arab Emirates — World Premiere

In the Last Days of the City by Tamer El Said, Egypt / Germany / United Kingdom — World Premiere

And-Ek Ghes ... by Colorado Velcu, Philip Scheffner, Germany — World Premiere

A Road by Daichi Sugimoto, Japan — International Premiere

Baden Baden by Rachel Lang, Belgium / France — International Premiere

Barakah Meets Barakah by Mahmoud Sabbagh, Saudi Arabia — World Premiere

Between Fences by Avi Mograbi, Israel / France — World Premiere

The Wandering by Guillaume Nicloux, France — World Premiere

Deadweight by Axel Koenzen, Germany / Finland — World Premiere

Depth Two by Ognjen Glavonic, Serbia — World Premiere

Eldorado XXI by Salome Lamas, Portugal / France — World Premiere

Elixir by Daniil Zinchenko, Russian Federation — International Premiere

Fantastic by Offer Egozy, USA — World Premiere

City of Jade by Midi Z, Taiwan / Myanmar — World Premiere

The Son of Joseph by Eugène Green, France / Belgium — World Premiere

The Dreamed Ones by Ruth Beckermann, Austria — World Premiere

Havarie by Philip Scheffner, Germany — World Premiere

火Hee by Kaori Momoi, Japan — World Premiere

Homo sapiens by Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria — World Premiere

How Heavy This Hammer by Kazik Radwanski, Canada — International Premiere

IIllegitimate by Adrian Sitaru, Rumania / Poland / France — World Premiere

Inertia by Idan Haguel, Israel — International Premiere

Kate Plays Christine by Robert Greene, USA — International Premiere

Piece of Land by Volker Koepp, Germany — World Premiere

Old Stone by Johnny Ma, People’s Republic of China / Canada — World Premiere

Lily Lane by Bence Fliegauf, Hungary — World Premiere

A Maid for Each by Maher Abi Samra, Lebanon / France / Norway — World Premiere

Houses Without Doors by Avo Kaprealian, Syria / Lebanon — World Premiere

Panamerican Machinery by Joaquín del Paso, Mexico / Poland — World Premiere

We Are Never Alone by Petr Vaclav, Czech Republic / France — World Premiere

P.S. Jerusalem by Danae Elon, Canada — European Premiere

An Outpost of Progress by Hugo Vieira da Silva, Portugal — World Premiere

The Revolution Won’t Be Televised by Rama Thiaw, Senegal — World Premiere

Rio Corgo by Maya Kosa, Sergio da Costa, Switzerland / Portugal — International Premiere

Those Who Jump by Moritz Siebert, Estephan Wagner, Abou Bakar Sidibé, Denmark — World Premiere

Short Stay by Ted Fendt, USA — World Premiere

Ta’ang by Wang Bing, Hong Kong, China / People’s Republic of China / France — World Premiere

Tales of Two Who Dreamt by Andrea Bussmann, Nicolás Pereda, Canada / Mexico — World Premiere

Tempestad by Tatiana Huezo, Mexico — World Premiere

Dust Cloth by Ahu Ozturk, Turkey / Germany — International Premiere

Trivisa by Frank Hui, Vicky Wong, Jevons Au, Hong Kong, China — World Premiere

Humidity by Nikola Ljuca, Serbia / The Netherlands / Greece — World Premiere

The Yard by Måns Månsson, Sweden / Germany — International Premiere

Life After Life by Zhang Hanyi, People’s Republic of China — World Premiere