One of Berlin’s favourite festivals finally launches this week with an exciting programme of talks and screenings, including our weekend takeover of Lichtblick Kino. Here’s what to expect.
It was with a heavy heart that we saw Achtung Berlin (Sep 16-20) cancelled in April. Since 2004, it’s been a staple of the Berlin festival scene, one which has offered a vital platform for the city’s moviemaking community, screening films over several venues across town – from the grand Kino International to the cosy Prenzlauer Berg Lichtblick. The festival directors highlighted their desire to “do (their) part to celebrate cinema and the big screen” and have maintained the festival programme as originally planned, even if the usual week-long affair is taking place in a reduced form this month. There’ll be fewer repeat presentations, no Retrospective section, and significantly fewer guests in order to comply with the hygiene measures. In addition, the festival management has stated that they’ll be asking guests for solidarity donations in order to compensate for the losses resulting from the reduced number of seats.
Exberliner won’t be awarding a prize this year; however, as is our time-honoured tradition, we’re presenting a handful of our festival highlights at Lichtblick Kino over the course of two days, all with English subtitles and moderation. Our English Days (Sep 19-20) programme kicks off with Carolina Hellsgård’s third feature Sunburned, a coming-of-age story that deftly explores contemporary social issues and themes of white privilege and migration. It’s followed that same evening by Süheyla Schwenk’s Berlin-set Jiyan, which sees a heavily pregnant Syrian woman who deals with asylum applications, her stepmother’s distain of her Kurdish roots, and her husband’s sudden disappearance. Rounding off our curated selection is a Sunday matinée screening of Achtung’s 16th edition’s opening lm, Christian Klandts’ Leif In Concert – Vol.2, and an afternoon of shorts with Duc Ngo Ngoc’s Trading Happiness and Frédéric Jaeger’s Aufklärung Für Hönow. As an added incentive, we’re throwing in brunch, as well as a celebratory glass of sekt after the last Sunday screenings. So, if you’re keen to catch up with the best new homegrown cinema and don’t have the language skills for a German post-screening Q&A, you know where to go.