Films 2016

1 Berlin Harlem

Legendary film from super-indy filmmaker Lambert, one time most-featured Berlinale director, about the forms of racism in Berlin’s vibrant lifestyle at the time of the film's making. Brimming with cameos galore: alongside leading actor Conrad Jennings the likes of Ortrud Beginnen, Tally Brown, Ingrid Caven, Peter Chatel, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Günter Kaufmann, Dietmar Kracht, Evelyn Künneke, Lothar Lambert, Y Sa Lo, Bernd Lubowski, Brigitte Mira, Vera Müller can [...]

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A Boy Needs a Friend

In this latest installment of his ongoing video essay, “Final Thoughts”, Steve Reinke ostensibly turns to the subject of friendship. A Boy Needs a Friend delves into its topic head on, in particular investigating the notion of queer Nietzschean friendship. Using his signature dry voice over monologue to tie together an eclectic array of disparate images, ranging from found footage collages to digital animation and cell phone video, Reinke sets forth theories about the identity of [...]

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Anders als die Anderen

Engl. Title: Different from the Others
Violin virtuoso Paul Körner promotes the musical talent of young Kurt Sivers whose parents observe the infatuated relationship between Paul and Kurt with distrust. Then, the criminal Bollek extorts Körner because of his homosexuality. Finally, Körner reports the extortionist to the police while the criminal in revenge files charges against Körner because of article 175. In a flashback, Körner tells Else, Kurt’s sympathetic sister, about his development and they [...]

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Antes o tempo nao acabava

Engl. Title: Time Was Endliss
Having been born into an indigenous tribe in the Amazon, Anderson is familiar with painful initiation rites. He is now living with his sister and her sick little girl in the city of Manaus. He has a mobile phone and takes on casual work, but must face the challenges posed by the incompatibility between modern life and shamanism. For him, the two worlds collide on a daily basis: when his niece is to be sacrificed, when a mythical monster appears to him in human form, or when he experiences a [...]

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Balcony

Tina doesn’t know much about the schoolgirl in the Hijab. She might come from Egypt or Iraq – but what does it matter? She would like to be there for her neighbour, protect her from her tough life at home and in the hood but how comes Tina thinks she knows so much about this foreign girl? Dana starts wondering why the blond girl has been paying her so much attention of late. Prejudice and tentative advances collide head-on in the block.

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Before Stonewall

New York City’s Stonewall Inn is regarded by many as the site of gay and lesbian liberation since it was at this bar that drag queens fought back against police June 27-28, 1969. This documentary uses extensive archival film. The legendary film from Greta Schiller reveals a lot which is missing from Roland Emmerich's Stonewall - but nevertheless agrees with him in quite a few details. [...]

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Brüder der Nacht

Engl. Title: Brothers of the Night
Vienna as a non-stop nocturnal land and doss house, the flip side of its daytime persona, devoid of schmaltzy waltzes and‘Mozartkugel’ chocolates. The protagonists of this documentary are young Bulgarian Romani who have wound up in Vienna due to poverty and the need to earn money for their families, and who are now offering their services at a hustler bar called ‘Rüdiger’ in the working class Margareten district. They wait, smoke, drink, play pool, dance, show off, [...]

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Der Ost-Komplex

Engl. Title: The GDR Complex
Even now, twenty-five years after German reunification, historians are still debating whether the GDR was an illegitimate state. In his current work, Jochen Hick, several of whose films have screened in the Panorama, tells the story of ex-GDR citizen Mario Röllig. Hick accompanies him as he visits his parents and his former colleagues but also the sites of his attempted flight from the GDR and his incarceration. Röllig started a relationship with a politician from West Berlin back [...]

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Die Betörung der Blauen Matrosen

Engl. Title: The Enchantement of the Blue Sailors
Ulrike Ottinger won the Special Teddy Award in 2014 for her incomparable lifetime achievement, of which this enchanting queer film is an early example even before her groundbreaking films Madame X and Bildnis einer Trinkerin (Ticket of No Return). In collage sequences, the surrogate of synthetic sensuality takes form and seduces the sailors in the guise of a Hawaiian girl. In [...]

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En la azotea

Engl. Title: On the Roof
The heat’s bearing down on the high-rise rooftops of the suburbs. Every day at the same time, five boys climb to the top of one of them to stare at the house next door. Like clockwork, a woman appears, removes her clothes and proceeds to sunbathe in the nude. But this day something’s different. On the roof next door, a naked man seeks relief from the heat under a hose and one of the boys can’t keep his eyes off of him. His buddies don’t fail to notice.

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Fugue

Framed by a grid, an elusive figure performs a number of movements, leaving traces of light on the film emulsion, while short texts are projected onto the figure, obscured by the uneven surface of its body. “In music, a fugue is defined as a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices. It builds on a motif that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition. Fugue is a formal and physical experiment in order to understand [...]

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Winner

Gendernauts - eine Reise druch die Geschlechter

Engl. Title: Gendernauts - a journey through shifting identities
"Gendernauts" is a documentary film about trans-sexuality and so called "gender nomads", people who use modern technology and biochemical substances to change their bodies to be able to shift between the male and female gender. In doing so, they fundamentally question the concept of gender identity: Gendernauts simply answer the question whether they are a man or a woman with "Yes". One of the early researchers into the walled-in, gender-dualistic world [...]

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Girl Talk

Girl Talk features poet and critical theorist Fred Moten dancing in slow motion, or ‘dragged time’, to an a cappella rendition of Betty Carter’s jazz standard “Girl Talk”, here reinterpreted and performed by musician Josiah Wise. Wearing a velvet cloak covered in jewels, Moten turns euphorically in a sunlit garden as the crystals adorning his body refract pink, blue, and green rays. In exploring the figure of the drag queen and the mother, Moten and Tsang, poet [...]

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Inside the Chinese Closet

Andy’s father knows that his son is gay but, determined to conform to social conventions, he urges him to find a lesbian who is willing to marry him. Cherry has already entered into a bogus marriage, but now her parents expect their only daughter to provide them with a grandchild so that they can finally put an end to their neighbours’ gossiping. In China, gay men and lesbians are under enormous pressure to spare their parents the perceived shame of having an unmarried child without [...]

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Já, Olga Hepnarová

Engl. Title: I, Olga Hepnarova
Olga is a complex young woman desperate to break free from her unfeeling family and social conventions. With her Louise Brooks like tomboyish looks she drags herself, chain-smoking, from one job to another until she appears to find her niche as a truck driver. Although she has female lovers she does not form a bond with any of them; instead she clashes, time and again, venting herself in wordless emotional outbursts and other behavioural extremes. Meticulously composed and shot in elegiac black-and-white [...]

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Je, tu, il, elle

Engl. Title: I, You, He, She
„Je“ is a girl voluntarily lock up in a room.  „Tu“ is the script. „Il” is a lorry driver. „Elle“ is the girlfriend.   Julie, a young woman alone in a room moves her furniture, writes letters, and eats granulated sugar. She leaves her room and finds a driver with whom she eats and drinks. Later, she joins a young woman with whom she has sex.   In her boundary-breaking [...]

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Jonathan

Jonathan is 23; he and his aunt, Martha, work on their farm. Jonathan also devotes himself to looking after his father Burghardt, who has cancer. But, railing against his own decrepitude that prevents him from a dignified end, his father stubbornly sabotages all of his son’s efforts. Jonathan finds it increasingly difficult to cope until they hire a young carer, Anka, to help. Jonathan and Anka fall in love; her experience of working at a hospice helps Jonathan to gain a new inroad into [...]

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Jug-yeo-ju-neun Yeo-ja

Engl. Title: The Bacchus Lady
Youn So-young has contracted gonorrhoea. ‘Make me well again quickly’ she tells her gynaecologist, because she wants to get back to work. In a park in Seoul, this senior citizen manages to scrape together just enough money as a ‘Bacchus lady’ to avoid begging. ‘Bacchus ladies’ are elderly women who sell a popular soft drink containing taurine known as ‘Bacchus’ and offer sexual services on the side. Korea’s rapidly ageing society barely [...]

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Kater

Engl. Title: Tomcat
Andreas and Stefan live a blissful existence together with their tomcat, Moses. They inhabit a beautiful old house in the vineyards near Vienna and work in the same orchestra as manager and musician. Their passion for music, their large circle of friends and colleagues and their furry companion define the daily lives of the two men. But one morning an unexpected outburst of violence from Stefan shakes their harmonious relationship to its core. From this moment on, scepticism and alienation [...]

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Kiki

Twenty-five years after Paris is Burning, the 1991 Teddy Award-winning film that brought Berlinale audiences closer to New York’s ballroom scene, Kiki provides an insight into the world of today’s young black LGBT community, by taking a look at the balls where participants of voguing competitions compete for trophies, and by listening to proponents talking about their dreams and their lives. In contrast to the time when Paris is Burning was made, these balls are no longer born of [...]

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Liebmann

Teacher Antek Liebmann leaves his life in Germany behind and rents a place in summery northern France. He learns from his landlord that a murderer is striking terror in the surrounding woods. Following a dark premonition, Antek is drawn into the undergrowth on one of his walks where he makes a dangerous discovery. He befriends his attractive neighbour Geneviève and the cheery Sébastien. No one realises that Antek has left behind a terrible secret in his own country. Only the discovery [...]

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Little Men

«Why they’re still mad on us?» · «Our parents are involved in a business matter and it’s getting ugly. So they’re taking it out on us.» Summer in Brooklyn. Jake’s parents have just moved into the house that used to belong to his grandfather. Tony’s mother has been renting the shop on the ground floor forever. The two 13-year-olds quickly discover their shared interest in art, computer games and girls. Together, they dream of transferring [...]

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Machboim

Engl. Title: Hide and Seek
Twelve year-old Uri reports his teacher Balaban as a spy when he observes him when he meets with a young arab man. Only later does he discover that Balaban's interest in the young arab is romantic rather than

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Mãe só há uma

Engl. Title: Don't Call Me Son
Pierre is seventeen and in the middle of puberty. He plays in a band, has sex at parties and secretly tries on women’s clothing and lipstick in front of a mirror. Ever since his father’s death, his mother Aracy has looked after him and his younger sister Jacqueline, spoiling them both. But when he discovers that she stole him from a hospital when he was a new born baby, Pierre’s life changes dramatically. Overnight, his world falls apart and his mother Aracy is arrested. His [...]

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Mamma vet bäst

Engl. Title: Mother knows best
So, he’s gay. This evening he’s introduced his boyfriend to his mum and later kissed him passionately goodbye in the car. He’s fortunate to have such an open-minded mother – not everyone is as lucky. But she thinks it’s best that he doesn’t tell his father yet. And he certainly shouldn’t make it known in public that he’s gay. A lot of people are prejudiced. Not everyone is as understanding as his mother

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Mappelthorpe: Look at the Pictures

He was a catalyst and an illuminator, but also a magnet for scandal. From an early age Robert Mapplethorpe had but one goal which he single-mindedly pursued: to ‘make it’ not just as an artist but also as an art celebrity. He could not have picked a better time: it is the Manhattan of Warhol’s Factory, of Studio 54 and, following the Stonewall riots, an era of unbridled hedonistic sexuality. His first solo exhibition in 1976 already unveils his topics: erotic depictions, flowers [...]

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Moms On Fire

An ordinary neighbourhood in an ordinary town. Two women sit on a sofa and scratch their pregnant bellies. Four days till the due date. The situation is as unbearable as it is unavoidable. It’s simply intolerable. Masturbation isn’t an option, the clitoris can’t even be reached, and the boyfriend is absent, but he’s boring anyway. The only advantage in having another child is that one no longer has to play with the first one. Artist and filmmaker Joanna Rytel uses claymation [...]

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Nitrate Kisses

A never seen in this way before, sensitively creative conquest of the female sexual realm, radically beyond the prescriptions of mainstream culture. Barbara Hammer has screened many of her works at the Berlinale.

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Nunca vas a estar solo

Engl. Title: You'll Never Be Alone
Introverted Juan, manager of a mannequin factory, lives alone with his eighteen-year-old gay son, Pablo. Whilst Pablo blithely studies dance, Juan is hoping that, after twenty-five years at the firm, his boss will consider him for a partnership. When Pablo is badly wounded in a brutal homophobic attack which sees him hospitalised, his father realises just how far they have become estranged. A lack of witnesses and expensive medical bills force Juan to leave the quiet stability of his life for [...]

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O noapte in Tokoriki

Engl. Title: A night in Tokoriki
There’s a party in the Tokoriki nightclub. It’s Geanina’s 18th birthday and the whole village is there. The neon palm is lit up and the DJ is wearing his golden shirt. Alin and his friends ride up in style in the horse-drawn cart and take over the dance floor. But Alin seems to have something on his mind. His eyes sparkle when he sets eyes on Geanina, which doesn’t escape her boyfriend’s attention. Emotions are running high. Will there be an escalation tonight? [...]

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O Pássaro da Noite

Engl. Title: L'Oiseau de la Nuit
In the latest of her series of portraits of legendary underground performers, Marie Losier takes us into the world of Fernando, aka Deborah Krystal, the glittering and poetic performer of the Lisbon club Finalmente. Over the last thirty years, Fernando has been performing every night at Finalmente, dressed in golden gowns. O Pássaro da Noite reveals the many skins of Fernando that lay underneath the layers of his colorful fabrics, and – with the help of a large cast of friends [...]

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Parting Glances

Robert is about to move from New York to Kenya. He leaves behind Michael, who still harbours feelings for his ex, Nick, who is battling AIDS. Bill Sherwood’s only film remains one of the key works of independent New York cinema of the 1980s.

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Quand on a 17 ans

Engl. Title: Being 17
Damien and Thomas attend the same grammar school class.They cannot stand each other and whenever verbal insuls fail to do enough damage they take a swing at each other. Yet they could just as easily be friends. Damien’s mother Marianne is a country doctor and his father a military pilot on a tour of duty abroad. Thomas is of Maghrebi descent and is the adopted son of a farming family living on a remote farm in the mountains. After several miscarriages the farmer’s wife is expecting [...]

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Rara

«So ... do your Mom and Lia kiss in public?» · «Sometimes. Not that much.» Since their parents split up, Sara and her younger sister live with their mother, whose new partner is a woman. Everyday life for the four of them is hardly any different than it is for other families. The situation is actually totally fine with Sara. But not everyone sees it that way – her father in particular has his doubts. As Sara’s 13th birthday approaches, she’s [...]

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Reluctantly Queer

This epistolary film invites us into the unsettling life of a young Ghanaian man struggling to reconcile his love for his mother with his love for the same-sex desire amid the increased tensions incited by same-sex politics in Ghana. Focused on a letter that is ultimately filled with hesitation and uncertainity, Reluctantly Queer both disrobes and questions what it means to be queer for this time in this space.

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San Fu Tian

Engl. Title: Dog Days
Endless dog days of summer weigh heavily on the impoverished suburb of Changsha where a young mother, Lulu, works as a dancer in a cheap nightclub. Coming home late one night, she discovers that her boyfriend Bai Long has disappeared with their baby. Her desperate search takes her to a transvestite bar where gay man Sunny is performing; he knows the whereabouts of the child’s father. A deal is struck between the odd couple whose lives are now fatefully intertwined: Lulu wants her child [...]

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Strike a Pose

For her ‘Blond Ambition’ tour in 1990, pop superstar Madonna was looking for performers who knew how to vogue. Out of countless hopefuls, the gay dancers Salim, Kevin, Carlton, José, Luis and Gabriel were chosen along with breakdancer Oliver, the only straight guy. The tour was accompanied by a film crew and Madonna cast herself in the role of mother figure of her stage family. The boys soon found fans among homosexual youths who saw them as role models, while the tour came [...]

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Take Your Partners

Engl. Title: Take your Partners
Why should a girl’s Easter bonnet look any different than the ones the boys wear? Ollie is eight years old and crazy about football and the gunslingers of the Wild West. When it comes time to get ready for the traditional Easter parade at school, Ollie categorically refuses to accept conventional gender roles. With the support of her parents, Ollie finds her own very personal way of dealing with the situation in the end.

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THE LAMPS

“All who want me would like to eat me up. But I am too expansive and am open to all sides, desire this here and that there.” The Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven “The Baroness is not a futurist. She is the future.” Marcel Duchamp “The Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, née Plötz, was an unsung member of the New York Dada Movement. She was a poet, artist, vaudeville performer, runaway, rabble-rouser, cross-dresser, and all around public provocateur. [...]

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Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau

Théo and Hugo encounter each other’s bodies in a sex club. They talk, things blur into the haziness of unbridled desire, then take shape for a moment as their gaze meets before they resume their exploration and lose themselves anew. A few moments later the two men feel the need to go outside. Together they drift down the deserted streets of nocturnal Paris. Suddenly they find themselves confronted by a sense of reality that wipes out their freedom and aimlessness and lends each [...]

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TORO

An unequal friendship. Toro (25) is as disciplined as he is withdrawn. In contrast Victor (29) is a light-headed dreamer who careers more or less heedlessly through life. Both work as prostitutes. Toro services women, Victor men. Toro, whose real name is Piotr, came to Germany ten years ago. He knows exactly what he is working for: he wants to establish a boxing school back in Poland. And soon he will have enough money to do so. The only thing he wants to take with him from Germany [...]

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Toute une nuit

Engl. Title: A Whole Night
Following over two dozen different people in the almost wordless atmosphere of a dark night in a Brussels town, Akerman examines acception and rejection in the realm of romance.

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Tras el cristal

Engl. Title: In a Glass Cage
A Nazi doctor who had a fetish for young boys feels guilt after torturing and murdering his latest victim, and throws himself off a roof. Some years later, the doctor, confined to an iron lung, accepts as his nurse a boy who secretly witnessed that killing.

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Uncle Howard

After Howard Brookner, director of two documentaries and a feature film, died from AIDS related illnesses at the age of 34 in 1989, his slender oeuvre was in danger of being forgotten – until his nephew Aaron decided to preserve his uncle’s legacy and to digitalise his first film, the cult classic Burroughs: The Movie (1983). This endeavour led to the discovery of a number of other gems stored in the godfather of Beat’s legendary ‘bunker’ in New York’s Bowery [...]

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Weekends

Every weekend the gay male choir G-Voice rehearses in Seoul – as they have been doing since 2003. The choir, being a kind of antidote to homophobic Korean society, makes the everyday lives of gay men its theme in an intelligent and humorous way. For their tenth anniversary, the members are planning to give their first big concert with ambitious arrangements, creative choreographies and many new pieces. This really puts these amateur singers to the test because the enthusiasm of some members [...]

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Who's Going to Love Me Now?

Saar has never fulfilled his parents’ expectations. Ever since he defied the rules of his kibbutz and was barred from the settlement community seventeen years ago, as far as his family is concerned, he simply does not exist. He left Israel to live freely as a gay man in London. When a three-year relationship ended, he threw himself into an excess of sex and drugs until he was diagnosed with HIV and was forced to rethink his life. He has finally found a home singing in the London Gay Men’s [...]

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Zjednoczone stany milosci

Engl. Title: United States of Love
It is the beginning of the 1990s and Polish society is trying to redefine itself after years of stagnation. Schools are being named ‘Solidarno ’, the first West German spa visitors are bringing hard currency into the country, porn videos are doing the rounds and TV constantly repeats images of the trial of 

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Zona Norte

Fifteen years after Monika Treut portrayed human rights activist Yvonne Bezerra de Mello working with street kids in Kriegerin des Lichts (Warrior of Light, Panorama 2002), she returns to Rio de Janeiro to document the development and sustainability of the alternative educational project, Uerê. Every day, de Mello provides meals for around 250 children in her institution and offers them a loving, secure and effective learning environment. Her alternative approach to teaching enables the [...]

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