Like the Jesuits, the Berlin Film Festival understands that you need to get ‘em while they’re young. To that end, the Generations sidebar features films about and aimed at youth. This year’s selection of 56 features and shorts looks at every aspect of growing up, from unappreciative single parents to freaky flights of fancy. In the first part of our preview, we start out on a Mexican fishing trip and end up running away with an Italian circus.
Three Mexican generations convene on the Chinchorro reef in Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s acclaimed “documentary fiction” of fathers and sons. Daniel Kasman wrote, “a sojourn of a film, getting the simplicity and details of a wonderful but limited experience down to their most honest, most untroubled, most tender, and often most beautiful essences.”
This Norwegian children’s film from director Christian Lo combines young friendship, the Christmas season and the threat of deportation. When their friend Naisha flees to Oslo, Julie and Mette pack up their knapsacks and give chase. Expect heartstrings to be hammered like Jerry Lee Lewis attacking a piano.
Writer/director/star Taika Waititi’s comic follow-up to Eagle Vs. Shark has already played Sundance and Rotterdam. In thrall to both Michael Jackson and his ne’er-do-well dad Alamein, Boy is a young dreamer growing up in a New Zealand Maori community during the 1980s. He’s overjoyed when his father appears. The search for buried loot, though, may be this odd couple’s undoing.
This aboriginal musical directed by Rachel Perkins has become an unexpected hit in Australia … and let’s hope Baz Luhrmann has been taking notes. Having escaped from his Catholic boarding school, Willie and new pal Tadpole undertake a long walk to their Port Broome hometown. The vengeful head priest is on their trail, but the road back is littered with peppy numbers.
When it freezes over, the Tumen River dividing North Korea from China becomes a popular but dangerous crossing for refugees and foragers. It’s also the setting for this drama from director Zhang Lu. A 12-year-old Chinese boy becomes friends with a North Korean who has slipped over the river to care for his sick sister.
Having made a splash with Napoleon Dynamite, Mormon filmmaker Jared Hess dropped off the map following Nacho Libre. He’s back with a deadpan take on an aspiring fantasy writer, a legendary author, and the fable that comes between them. With Flight of the Conchords’s Jemaine Clement.
Warre and Tine’s prayers for parenthood are answered when a package drops out of sky. Looking after a girl with wings, however, is a lot harder than it looks. When Birdie heads south for the winter, the couple give chase in Ellen Smit’s adaptation of Joke van Leeuwen’s novel.
When not playing her accordion in the subway or stealing food, the downtrodden Joy (Samira Maas) looks for the mother who put her in a foster home many years ago. A breakthrough in the search may turn her life around … or send Joy spiraling into despair. Mijke de Jong (Tussenstand/Stages) directed this Dutch drama.
Knerten is the name of a magic twig who becomes Lillebror’s best friend. The kid needs a buddy. He feels out of place in his small-town home and the family is a little loopy. This Norwegian children’s fantasy is based on a book by Anne-Cath. Vestly, considered the country’s answer to Astrid Lundgren.
While camped on the outskirts of Rome, an aging knife thrower and his flame-haired assistant discover an abandoned two-year-old. They become the girl’s unlikely guardians. Doc team Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel’s first dramatic feature won the Best European Film prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Tags: Alamar, Anne-Cath Vestly, Berlin Film Festival, Bestevenner, Boy, Bran Nue Dae, Cannes Film Festival, Christian Lo, Dooman River, Eagle Vs. Shark, Eep!, Ellen Smit, Flight of the Conchords, Gentlemen Broncos, Iep!, Jared Hess, Jemaine Clement, Joke van Leeuwen, Joy, Knerten, La Pivellina, Mijke de Jong, Nacho Libre, Napoleon Dynamite, Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio, Rachel Perkins, Rainer Frimmel, Samira Maas, Stages, Taika Waititi, Tizza Covi, Tussenstand, Zhang Lu