Berlin's Forum sidebar turns 40
Strong German and Asian non-mainstream focus
German titles in the 2010 Forum lineup, announced Tuesday, include Dominik Graf's huge, eight-hour production "In Angesicht des Verbrechens," (In the Face of Crime), an epic look at Berlin's Russian mafia, which was originally conceived for television. Sticking with crime and punishment, Thomas Arslan's "In the Shadows" follows a thief released from prison looking to pull one last job.
Berlin director Gamma Bak gets personal with "Head Cold," a cinematic essay about her own psychosis; Angela Schanelec explores the small dramas unfolding in an airport departure hall in "Orly;" Tatjana Turanskyj's comedy "The Drifter" is a portrait of a non-conformist in a society of wage slaves; Philip Scheffner's "The Day of the Sparrow" the impact on the homefront of a distant war; and "Sunny Land," a German documentary from Aljoscha Weskott and Marietta Kesting, looks back to life in Apartheid-ruled South Africa.
Asian films make up a large chunk of the Forum lineup this year, with 10 titles screening (see separate story). A highlight is Taiwanese feature "Au revoir Taipei," a gangster comedy from director Arvin Chen.
The crime and cop genre is a theme running through this year's Forum. "Native of Eurasia," from Lithuanian director Sharunas Bartas is a road movie focusing on a criminal crossing Europe while a contract killing casts a shadow over the Turkish entry "Haze" from director Tayfun Pirselimoglu.
In total, 34 films, including 19 world premieres, make up the official Forum lineup.
The 2010 Berlin International Film Festival runs Feb. 11-21.