Forum is the section where Berlineastes seek out the freshest filmmakers doing their bit to push back the form’s parameters. The second part of our Forum preview kicks off with a conventional gangster story, but there’s wilder stuff in store. How about a musical version of a 1928 Communist classic from Japan, for instance? Or maybe a mad romance from Goa? Other highlights include the new film from Laura Poiras and more from the Japan, South Korea and Taiwan vanguard. Click on the titles to watch trailers.
Indigène d’Eurasie (Eastern Drift)
Career criminal Gena has gone from extorting protection fees to dealing drugs. Now he wants out. His decision means going on the run. In a race across Europe reminiscent of Wim Wenders’s glory years, Gena reflects on his life. Through his frantic character, Lithuanian director and star Sharunas Bartas’s film sketches a criminal history of the continent.
Takiji Kobayashi’s 1929 agitprop novel has come back into fashion thanks to discontent with the Japanese economic system. Director Sabu (Drive) adapts the time-honored story of a ship divided between downtrodden workers and vicious bosses, throwing in some singing and dancing along the way. With Nightmare Detective’s Ryuhei Matsuda.
Kawa no soko kara konnichi wa (Sawako Decides)
Sawako has been so beaten down by Tokyo that her only relief comes via colonic irrigation. Then her father dies and the boyfriend suggests they take over the family clam business. Sawako initially grits her teeth at the rural squalor and gossip. Then she finds a way to turn the tables in Ishii Yuya’s film. With Hikari Mitsushima (Love Exposure).
Omori Tatsushi’s new film bristles with discontent. Two friends throw in their dead-end job on the wrecking crew. With nowhere to go, they do what anyone would—steal a car and head north. With them is a stowaway who goes from punching bag to something better. With Matsuda Shota (Ikigami), Kora Kengo (Fish Story).
Na-neun gon-kyeong-e cheo-haet-da! (I’m in Trouble!)
Sun-woo likes to tell people he’s a poet. In reality he’s an lay-about whose pretensions to rebellion rarely find fruit. In taking this funny portrait of a born loser, director So Sang-min also taps into the discontent of the nouvelle vague for a snapshot of South Korea’s jilted generation. With Min Sung-wook.
Neo-wa na-eui i-shib-il-seki (Our Fantastic 21st Century)
It sounds like the set-up for a zany comedy, but Ryu Hyung-ki’s film is about young women and South Korea’s consumerist society. Desperate to break out of a life stacking shelves at the supermarket and figuring liposuction is the way to do it, Soo-young (Bo-eun Choi) becomes indebted to a loan shark.
As a documentary filmmaker, Laura Poitras has come into her own with examinations of the Middle East like the Oscar-nominated My Country, My Country. Her Sundance-approved follow-up looks at the differing paths of Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur and the brother-in-law who renounced his jihadist ways.
One Day (You yi tian)
A ferry boat worker meets a soldier who says he will become her boyfriend. She dismisses the prediction. But Singing is a young woman haunted by dreams that have a strange way of mixing with her reality in this Taiwanese romance from director Hou Chi-Jan. With Nikki Hsin-Ying Hsieh.
If Up in the Air whetted the appetite for airport-set romances, then dig this French collection of stories, which involve life, death, illicit affairs and the perilous nature of young love. Director Angela Schanelec explores the architecture of the Parisian airport in the company of cast that includes Natacha Regnier, Bruno Todeschini, Maren Eggert.
For Western audiences, Goa is more associated with rave hedonism than social drama, but native filmmaker Laxmikant Shetgaonkar will change all that. Munis is a raw drama about a widowed forester and the waves caused when he has an unusual relationship with the local madwoman.
Portretul luptatorului la tinerete (Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man)
In the latest bulletin from the Romanian film renaissance, director Constantin Popescu peels back the layers of myth from the incredible story of Gavrilă-Ogoranu, who waged a guerilla campaign against the Communists from 1944 to 1976 and endured a breathless existence hidden in the Carpathian Mountains.
Tags: A Crowd of Three, Angela Schanelec, Bo-eun Choi, Bruno Todeschini, Constantin Popescu, Drive, Eastern Drift, Fish Story, Gavrilă-Ogoranu., Hikari Mitsushima, Hou Chi-Jan, I’m in Trouble!, Ikigami, Indigène d’Eurasie, Ishii Yuya, Kanikōsen, Kawa no soko kara konnichi wa, Kenta to Jun to Kayo chan no kuni, Kora Kengo, Laura Poitras, Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, Love Exposure, Maren Eggert, Matsuda Shota, Min Sung-wook, Na-neun gon-kyeong-e cheo-haet-da!, Natacha Regnier, Neo-wa na-eui i-shib-il-seki, Nightmare Detective, Nikki Hsin-Ying Hsieh, Omori Tatsushi, One Day, Orly, Osama bin Laden, Our Fantastic 21st Century, Paltadacho Munis, Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man, Portretul luptatorului la tinerete, Ryu Hyung-ki, Ryuhei Matsuda, Sabu, Sawako Decides, Sharunas Bartas, So Sang-min, Takiji Kobayashi, The Crab Cannery Ship, The Man Beyond the Bridge, The Oath, You yi tian