The pandemic has hit our lives from many angles, and made some things impossible. Among them, the much awaited Berlinale film festival that usually takes place in Berlin in this time of the year. For the first time in its history, the 71st edition of the Berlinale will be split between an online event and an offline event.
From the 1st to the 5th of March, the Festival was launched with an Industry event, mainly for professionals and accredited press members. If you are not any of those, you will have to wait until the “Summer Special” as they call it. If the pandemic situation allows it, the offline part of the festival will start with a gala on the 9th of June, and then it will be the public’s turn to enjoy all the presentations.
It is noteworthy to mention, that also for the first time in the history of the Festival, 5 out of 15 world premieres in this year’s edition were directed by Women; in comparison to 6 out of 18 last edition’s. Today, honoring the International Women’s day, we have decided to choose our favorite filmmakers from this year’s Berlinale; and from all times.
Maria is a German actress, screenwriter and filmmaker. You might be familiar with some of her work, she directed the Netflix hit Unorthodox last year. The multi-talented Maria has won the Silver Bear for acting in previous editions, and this time she is presenting: “Ich bin Dein Mensch” (I am your man). In her adaptation of the story written by Emma Braslavsky, the movie describes the story of Alma, a scientist in the Pergamon Museum who takes place in an extraordinary experiment: for three weeks, she will be living with a humanoid robot whose artificial intelligence has been designed to maker her happy.
French writer-director is presenting this year “Petite Maman”, a film that explores the evolving facets of gender expression and self discovery, delivered from Schiamma’s female perspective. This is the second presentation of the filmmaker in the Berlinale. Sciamma is a feminist, and a founding member of the movement 5050 by 2020: a group of French Filmmaker professionals advocating for gender parity in the Film Industry.
Filmmaker and artist Joana Hadjithomas, brought along her co-director Khalil Joreige, “Memory Box” to this year’s Berlinale. Their work is known for creating links between film, photography, performance, installation, sculpture and cinema. “Memory Box” explores the role of memory, and specially the emotional process associated with the trauma of war.
If you cannot wait until the June gala and Summer festival to enjoy some of this presentations, maybe you can find inspiration in one of this women's films. Here is a list of filmmakers that we admire:
Cathy Yan is a Chinese-born American film director, screenwriter and producer. You might know her for films like "Dead Pigs" (2018) or "Birds of Prey"(2020). Before entering into the film industry she used to be a reporter for both media in the US and in Japan. At the young age of thirty-three, she is the second woman to solo-direct a superhero film.
Lucia Puenzo is an Argentine author, screenwriter and film director; who came from an Oscar-winning family. Her ties with cinema were deep from her early life. She started her career as a screenwriter, up until 2007 when se debuted as a director with her film "XXY": a drama about an intersex teenager that has to deal with the struggle of defining their sexual identity. On top her role as a director, she has also write novels.
The Japanese director Naomi Kawase is known for her documentaries: one of them being “Embrancing” that is about her search for the father that abandoned her; and other “Katatsumori”, about her grandmother, who raised her as a child. After graduating from the Osaka School of Photography, Naomi started teaching before evoking herself to filmmaking, specially documentaries that are based mainly in her, sometimes turbulent, life experience.
We know, it is a long time until June, and maybe you are as curious as we are about the films that Maria Schrader, Cèline Sciamma and Joana Hadjithomas are presenting in the Berlinale. So, here are some of the trailers so you can have a peek into their films.
As we mentioned, this year the amount of films presented by women was bigger than any time before in the Berlinale. And women in the Film Industry had been growing, being 2019 an historic record for women directors in Hollywood. Still, we know it is not enough, but we are awaiting to see what other women will bring to the table in the future.
*Header photo © Richard Hübern
+ Words: Leila Salinas, Luxiders Magazine
Journalist | Berlin-based
Connect with her on LinkedIn or Instagram (@leisalinas)