Forum fitting: 33 in at Berlin


BERLIN -- The Berlin International Film Festival's Forum sidebar prides itself on being the home of the eclectic, the edgy and the weird, and this year's lineup doesn't disappoint. The 2008 Forum will feature films from 33 countries and includes 16 directorial debuts.

The stories range from Juan Manuel Sepulveda's illegal immigrant drama "The Infinite Border" to "Son of a Lion," Benjamin Gilmour's story of a young boy struggling to fight tradition in conservative, violent Pakistan to "My Winnipeg," Canadian director Guy Maddin's tongue-in-cheek tribute to his hometown.

Three Philippine films made it into this year's Forum lineup: Brillante Ma Mendoza's urban drama "Slingshot"; Jim Libiran's debut, "Tribe," about youth gangs in Manila's impoverished Tondo district; and Mes De Guzman's look at the island's rural life, "Balikbayen Box."

Berlin's Forum always puts politics front and center. This year the torn-from-the-headlines story lines include "Night Before Eyes," the directorial debut of Germany's Brigitte Bertele about a German solider returning home from duty in Afghanistan, and Paul Rowley and Nicky Gogan's "Seaview" set among would-be migrants to Ireland.

Japanese director Wakamatsu Koji provides a look a politics past with his three-hour drama "United Red Army," about the 1970s terrorist group of the same name.

This year's Forum will also feature a mini retrospective of Koji, with screenings of his films "Secrets Behinds the Wall" (1965), "Go, Go Second Time Virgin" (1969) and "Ecstasy of Angels" (1972).

A complete list of Forum 2008 titles follows:

"Asyl" by Kumasaka Izuru, Japan
"Balikbayan Box" by Mes De Guzman, Philippines/Netherlands/Switzerland
"Be Like Others" by Tanaz Eshaghian, USA/Canada/Iran
"The Path" by Ishtar Yasin Gutierrez, Costa Rica/France
"Corridor #8" by Boris Despodov, Bulgaria
"Corroboree" by Ben Hackworth, Australia
"Correction" by Thanos Anastopoulos, Greece
"Divizionz" by Yes! That's Us, Uganda/South Africa
"Flipping Out" by Yoav Shamir, Israel/Canada
"The Infinite Border" by Juan Manuel Sepulveda, Mexico
"God Man Dog" by Singing Chen, Taiwan
"Grandmother's Flower" by Mun Jeong-hyun, Korea
"Green Porno" by Isabella Rossellini, Jody Shapiro, U.S.
"Higurashi" by Hirosue Hiromasa, Japan
"Invisible City" by Tan Pin Pin, Singapore
"Leo" by Josef Fares, Sweden
"Loos Ornamental" by Heinz Emigholz, Austria/Germany
"Mafrouza/Heart" by Emmanuelle Demoris, France/Egypt
"What the Heart Craves" by Takahashi Izumi, Japan
"My Winnipeg" by Guy Maddin, Canada
"Night Before Eyes" by Brigitte Bertele, Germany
"Nirvana" by Igor Voloshin, Russian Federation
"Paruthiveeran" by Ameer Sulthan, India
"Just Anybody" by Jacques Doillon, France/Belgium
"Ain't Scared" by Audrey Estrougo, France
"Seaview" by Paul Rowley, Nicky Gogan, Ireland
"Brides of Allah" by Natalie Assouline, Israel
"Son of a Lion" by Benjamin Gilmour, Australia/Pakistan
"South Main" by Kelly Parker, USA
"Sweet Food City" by Gao Wendong, People's Republic of China
"Summer Book" by Seyfi Teoman, Turkey
"Motherland" by Nello La Marca, Italy
"Slingshot" by Brillante Ma. Mendoza, Philippines
"Tribu" by Jim Libiran, Philippines
"United Red Army" by Wakamatsu Koji, Japan
"Victoire Terminus, Kinshasa" by Florent de la Tullaye, Renaud Barret, France/Democratic Republic of the Congo
"Yasukuni" by Li Ying, Japan/People's Republic of China

Tribute to Wakamatsu Koji
"Ecstasy of the Angels" Japan 1972
"Go, Go Second Time Virgin" Japan 1969
"Secrets Behind the Wall" Japan 1965