Reality prevails at Berlin fest Perspektive

No easy topics on young helmers' slate

COLOGNE, Germany -- Reality is the watchword for this year's Perspektive Deutsches Kino -- the Berlin International Film Festival's German cinema sidebar.

Fully one-third of the features picked for this year's lineup are documentaries, and even the dramas tell stories plucked straight from everyday life.

Astrid Schult's documentary "Zikus is nich" follows an eight-year-old boy from the tough East Berlin neighborhood of Hellersdorf who struggles to do his part to support his family.

Bettina Bluemner's "Prinzessinnenbad" and "Osdorf" from Maja Classen also are non-fiction pieces told from the fringes. "Prinzessinnenbad" is a look at a girl gang in Berlin's Kreuzberg district while "Osdorf" peers into the lives of young men in Hamburg with immigrant backgrounds.

"Today's youngest generation of directors is not dealing with very easy topics," section head Alfred Holighaus said. "Nevertheless, the directors of this generation find means in their films to make audiences want to deal with them."

One of two short film directors making their feature-length debut this year is Sonja Heiss, whose "Hotel Very Welcome" mixes drama with documentary footage to tell the story of young people in different countries across Asia trying to escape themselves or their own situations. The other is Bastian Guenther, whose "Autopiloten" is a portrait of four very different men traveling the network of autobahns in the Ruhr region -- western Germany's "rust belt."

The final documentary in this year's selection is an intimate look at the work of one of Germany's most acclaimed directors. Marcel Wehn's "One Who Set Forth -- Wim Wenders' Early Years" explores the themes and style of Wenders' first films, from "Alice in the Cities" (1974) to "The American Friend" (1977).

The 2007 Perspektive Deutsches Kino lineup is comprised of "Alle Alle" by Pepe Planitzer; "Aschermittwoch" by Ileana Cosmovici; "Aufrecht stehen" by Hannah Schweier; "Autopiloten" by Bastian Guenther; "Blindflug" by Ben von Grafenstein; "Hotel Very Welcome" by Sonja Heiss; "Memoryeffect" by Claudia Lehmann; "One Who Set Forth -- Wim Wenders' Early Years" by Marcel Wehn; "Osdorf" by Maja Classen; "Prinzessinnenbad" by Bettina Bluemner; "Was am Ende zaehlt" by Julia von Heinz; "Zirkus is nich" by Astrid Schult.