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Berlin and its stories

The Berlinale 2023 is about to begin. And what a thrill, every year, when the festival is about to kick off! Yes, because, in fact, the famous film festival is to date one of the richest and most varied events in the world, always attentive to new cinematic languages, to young emerging directors, as well as to the most recent works of authors who, over the years, have been appreciated all over the world. And this Berlinale 2023 – which will take place from February 16 to 26, 2023 under the artistic direction of Carlo Chatrian – also promises to be particularly interesting and rich in ideas.

With regard to the films in the running for the much-coveted Golden Bear, for example, this Berlinale 2023 boasts names such as Celine Song (in competition with Past Lives), Christian Pezold (with Afire), Philippe Garrell (with Le grand Chariot), Makoto Shinkai (with Suzume) and Emily Atef (with Someday we’ll tell each other Everything), just to name a few. But that is not all. As usual, in fact, this Berlinale 2023 will also feature numerous collateral sections to enrich the festival programme. For those wishing to discover new ways of understanding the seventh art, for instance, particularly noteworthy are the sections Forum, Forum Expanded and Encounters, while those, on the other hand, who prefer feature films and documentaries with a more mainstream character, the sections Panorama, Berlinale Special, Perspektive Deutsches Kino and Generation (dedicated to the world of children and teenagers) are an excellent opportunity to enjoy many new stories in the darkness of a theatre.

And what about Austrian cinema? Since this magazine was founded, it has immediately dedicated a special section to the Berlinale, as the festival has always paid great attention to feature films, documentaries, short films and experimental films made in Austria. And so, at this Berlinale 2023 too, Austrian films will be numerous and extremely varied.

As far as the competition is concerned, particularly interesting promises to be Ingeborg Bachmann – Journey into the Desert, the newest work by the great Margarethe von Trotta, who, for the occasion, has decided to give the famous Austrian writer the face of Vicky Krieps, who was recently highly appreciated for her performance as Elizabeth of Austria in Corsage (Marie Kreutzer, 2022). And speaking of Elisabeth of Austria, we cannot fail to mention, in the context of this Berlinale 2023, the feature film Sisi & I, directed by Frauke Finsterwalder and presented in the Panorama section.

Remaining in the same section, therefore, particularly noteworthy is the feature film The Beast in the Jungle, directed by Patric Chiha and which, in March, will open the Diagonale 2023, as well as the documentary Stams, made by Bernhard Braunstein and which shows us close up the lives of some students at a ski school located in the Tyrolean Alps in the run-up to the next Olympics.

But that is not all. In fact, as we all know, Austria has always had a particularly keen eye not only for experimental cinema, but also, in general, for new directorial approaches and new ways of telling reality. And this is where the Forum and Encounters sections come into play. The first section will feature no less than two documentaries: De Facto by Selma Doborac – which takes a close look at the worst crimes against humanity – and Anqa by Helin Çelik – focusing on the stories of three women who have survived terrible acts of violence. Finally, in the Encounters section, it will be possible to watch The Klezmer Project by Leandro Koch and Paloma Schachmann, in which we will see how cinema itself can play a central role in alleviating love torments.

In short, lots of new insights and many exciting stories. Berlin will not disappoint us. All we have to do is allow ourselves to be led by the hand into many new worlds that magically come to life in the darkness of a theatre.

Below are all the reviews of the Austrian films at the Berlinale 2023.

Info: the website of the Berlinale 2023