Today, the Berlinale 2024 selections for the main competition and the Encounters section were presented. The International Competition is comprised of 20 films, two of which are first features. With one exception, all the films are world premieres, and the initial impression is that the selection is refreshingly unorthodox, especially compared to other big festivals that focus on multiplex fare. The opening film, Small Things Like These by Tim Mielants, was announced a few days ago. Among films by well-known names, one can mention L’Empire by Bruno Dumont, Hors du temps by Olivier Assayas, and A Traveller’s Need by the ubiquitous Hong Sang-Soo. The competition also marks the return of Abderrahmane Sissako with Black Tea.
Alonso Ruizpalacios returns to the Berlinale competition with La Cocina after showcasing Museo in 2018, and Una película de policías in 2021. Mati Diop will compete with a documentary named Dahomey. Another documentary is Architecton by Victor Kossakovsky. His Gunda made a splash in the 2020 Encounters section, and now his new film will appear in the competition. Des Teufels Bad is the latest work by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, who rose to fame with Goodnight Mommy in 2016.
Gustav Möller had a breakthrough with Den skyldige (The Guilty 2018) and will come to Berlin with his new work Vogter (Sons). The two aforementioned first features are Gloria by Margherita Vicario and Who Do I Belong to by Tunisian director Meryam Joobeur. Yet another German film is Sterben by Mathias Glasner.
The Encounters section was introduced by Carlo Chatrian in 2020 and has since then been the highlight of the festival. This year’s selection consists of 15 films, all of which are world premieres. A most welcome return is Matías Piñeiro, whose Isabella was a striking presence at the 2020 Encounters. His new film is called You Burn Me and seems to be a deviation from the Shakespeare-themed films he has been associated with lately. Juliano Rojas, who co-directed Good Manners in 2017 with Marco Dutra, now presents a film she directed on her own called Cidade; Campo. Ruth Beckermann will, once again, be at Berlinale with Favoriten, named after a district in Vienna.
Ivo is Eva Trobisch’s second film, and from the description, it sounds like one of the more challenging and interesting films in the section. There are three debuts in Encounters. The Great Yawn by Aliyar Rasti was described by Chatrian as a true surprise. Une Famille by Christine Angot is a documentary by the co-writer of Claire Denis’ Avec amour et acharnement (2022). The third and last debut feature is Some Rain Must Fall by Qui Yang.
This is, unfortunately, Carlo Chatrian’s last Berlinale edition. His task has been a challenging one, and not everyone was happy with his selections, which, in fact, have been uniquely strong. Of his five editions, two were heavily marked by the pandemic, not least since Germany was one of the countries with the most egregious lockdowns. With this selection, he finishes in style, not pandering to those who cry for more mainstream films. The programme looks very appealing, and I can’t wait to experience what it has to offer. There are several reasons to worry about what a person from LFF will do to the Berlinale.
The full competition programme Berlinale 2024
Another End, Piero Messina
Architecton, Victor Kossakovsky
Black Tea, Abderrahmane Sissako
La Cocina, Alonso Ruizpalacios
Dahomey, Mati Diop
A Different Man, Aaron Schimberg
L’Empire, Bruno Dumont
Gloria !, Margherita Vicario
Hors du temps, Olivier Assayas
In Liebe, Eure Hilde (From Hile, With Love), Andreas Dresen
Keyke mahboobe man (My Favourite Cake), Behtash Sanaheeha & Maryam Moghaddam
Langue étrangère, Claire Burger
Mé el Aïn (Who Do I Belong To), Meryam Joobeur
Pepe, Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias
Shambhala, Min Bahadur Bham
Small Things Like These, Tim Mielants – ouverture
Sterben, Matthias Glasner
Des Teufels Bad (The Devil’s Bath), Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz
Vogter (Sons), Gustav Möller
Yeohaengjaui pilyo (A Traveler’s Needs), Hong Sangsoo
The full Encounters programme Berlinale 2024
Arcadia, Yorgos Zois
Cidade; Campo, Juliana Rojas
Demba, Mamadou Dia
Direct Action, Guillaume Cailleau & Ben Russell
Dormir de olhos abertos (Slept With Your Eyes Open), Nele Wohlatz
The Fable, Raam Reddy
Une famille, Christine Angot
Favoriten, Ruth Beckermann
Ivo, Eva Trobisch
Khamyazeye bozorg (The Great Yawn), Aliyar Rasti
Kong fang jian li de nu ren (Some Rain Must Fall), Qiu Yang
Maos no fogo (Hands in the Fire), Margarida Gil
Matt and Mara, Kazik Radwanski
Through the Graves the Wind is Blowing, Travis Wilkerson
Tu me abrasas (You Burn Me), Matias Pineiro