A Reflection On the Spirit of PANORAMA 40

2019 marks the 40th edition of the Panorama section of the Berlinale. Since 1980 under the title Info-Schau, the section has presented films intended to inspire and provoke, and to challenge the audience’s viewing and thinking habits. The film selection is simultaneously an offering and a call to look at cinema differently. On the occasion of the section’s 40th anniversary, Panorama presents a special programme.
“The selection for  anniversary programme is eclectic - every work stands for a whole slew of other films. Rather than a ‘best of’, our retrospect aims to reflect the soul of the programme: to re-discover works in danger of being forgotten and bring them back into dialogue with current events,” says Wieland Speck, the long-standing head of Panorama, co-founder of the TEDDY AWARD, and curator of the anniversary programme.
“I congratulate Panorama on its 40th birthday, and especially Wieland on his fantastic work in making the section a platform for ambitious independent film,” adds Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.
When the Berlin International Film Festival first came under the direction of Moritz de Hadeln in 1980, he flanked the Competition with a programme section that would have more selective freedom than Competition, as well as allow more radicalness and include the new developments in cinema. The 1970s brought forth a cornucopia of innovations in film. Self-empowered subcultures became a social motor and emancipation theories were implemented with scientific precision. Instead of normativity, its alternatives became desirable - and this was reflected with new film languages and indeed, a new cinematic landscape.
These energetic changes were virtually screaming for commensurate presentation within the festival. De Hadeln instated legendary cinema runner and Forum co-founder Manfred Salzgeber as section head and, in the first year, Salzgeber not only presented works by filmmakers such as Catherine Breillat, John Waters, At?f Y?lmaz, Miklós Jancsó and Helma Sanders-Brahms, but also gave viewers a sense of the section’s future profile with regards to films from Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, and to the future focus on gay and lesbian cinema.
Queer cinema, or gender focus - since both feminist principles and trans* themes have been part of the section since its inception - was shocking and unheard of in the festival world of that time. In Salzgeber’s second year as head of the section, he selected a short film by Wieland Speck. The ensuing collaboration by the two curators, which also led to the birth of the TEDDY AWARD - the queer film award at the Berlinale - lasted past Wieland Speck’s taking on of the Panorama leadership, starting in 1992, until Manfred Salzgeber’s untimely death of AIDS in 1994.
The annual selections in the years that followed also highlighted themes such as: Countries in focus, international freedom movements, the joy of experiments in aesthetics, the discovery of now well-known filmmakers and thematic impressions, the subject of AIDS as a battle cry in filmmaking, and last but not least, the short format as a tireless breeding ground for talent.
The Panorama Audience Award, presented annually to a fiction and documentary film in the section, also speaks to the programme’s typical interaction with questions and topics of the day. With participation by approximately 30,000 viewers, the Panorama Audience Award will be awarded in 2019 for the 21st time in cooperation with radioeins and rbb television.
Wieland Speck, who curated and shaped Panorama from 1993 - 2017, and his long-standing colleague Andreas Struck have selected nine fiction films and three essay documentaries from a catalogue of more than 1,800 works, as well as eleven short films from a catalogue of over 600 for the Panorama 40 programme.

Fiction under a documentary background, "Love is Multicoloured"(Matriculas Abertas, Vagas Limitadas" has an apotheosis in its final scene. The story tells, with humor and a lot of information, the odyssey for the conquest of the dignity of sexual minorities.
 "Neither banal caricature, nor cheap eroticism, he dares questions about unemployment, family and philosophy. »(Charles Molènes)
"A very personal and completely free work, is a lesson in tolerance." (Pierre Kalfon)
 Four unemployed spend their days in the apartment they share with Messiah, also unemployed and desperate. Messiah finds an old friend. Eugène follows the news on the Internet and Maximum does the same in the press. They find that we talk a lot about the gay trend. Messiah concludes that the wave represents their last chance of integration into the system. After having missed several trains, they are decided this time to enjoy and get on the bandwagon. But such an approach requires professionalism, techniques ... They find information in religion, psychoanalysis, biology, literature, politics ... theoretically incollutable, they fail to practice. At the same time, two suburban girls are victims of intolerance. We are heading towards a tragic end. That's when one of them makes a proposal that will save the whole story.
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Berlin Festival 2018
Sex, truths and video:
And the winner is "Touch Me Not"

The Golden Bear Berlin 2018 was for one of the best films that the festival showed that year. Touch Me Not, the first feature from the Romanian Adina Pintilie, left the 68th Berlinale with the jury's top prize and the Best First Work award. His two awards tie Touch Me Not with Las Herederas, Marcelo Martinessi's first feature from Paraguay, which garnered the Silver Bear for Best Actress (Ana Brun) and the Alfred H. Bauer Award for "film that opens new doors to the cinema."
The jury presided over by German director Tom Tykwer - and also by Cécile de France, Adele Romanski, Stephanie Zacharek, Chema Prado and Ryuichi Sakamoto - was not too bad.
Touch Me Not is a challenging object that unfolds in the contest of Berlin for being aggressively non-linear and formally experimental: neither documentary nor fiction, accompanying actors and therapists who represent versions of themselves before a camera always present, the film of Adina Pintilie wants to start a dialogue with the viewer about how we seem to be ashamed of our body and how we need to relearn how to feel it, and in that process to look at and understand the other, embracing our sexuality as an entire part of our identity.
Touch Me Not did the "double" Golden Bear with the prize for Best First Work, while the more conventional but very interesting Las Herederas, drama in the shadow of Lucrecia Martel where we accompany the replay to the life of a depressed and literally suffocated woman for the relationship in which she lives for years, gave Ana Brun a well-deserved award for Best Actress and received the award that honors Alfred H. Bauer, the first director of the contest. The best actor of this edition was, in an unexpected choice, the Frenchman Anthony Bajon, addicted to rehabilitation at a monastery in La Prière by Cedric Kahn.
The Best Director award went to American Wes Anderson - nominally for the animated "Island of the Dogs", presented at the official opening of the festival but actually rewarding its consistent and methodical visual universe. Anderson sent to receive the prize in his name the actor Bill Murray, one of the voices of the film. Murray thanked him for saying "I never thought about going to work to be a dog and returning home with a bear" and paraphrased John F. Kennedy's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner Hund." The Argument and Artistic Contribution awards had anything from "consolation prizes" to films that deserved more - the first went to Museo, the delightful Godard / Buster Keaton film of the Mexican by Alonso Ruizpalacios; the second for Elena Okopnaya for the stage work and costumes of the excellent Russian Dovlatov Alexei German Jr.

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