The Berlin International Film Festival has announced its 2021 Competition lineup. Eighteen titles will compete for the fest’s highest honor, the Golden Bear, and five of them are directed or co-directed by women, amounting to about 28 percent of the slate. Last year, 33 percent of films in the Competition slate were helmed by women.
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” writer-director Céline Sciamma will premiere her latest offering in Competition, “Petite Maman,” a story about two young children that embraces magical realism. Maria Schrader, who recently took home an Emmy for directing “Unorthodox,” is set to debut “I’m Your Man” (“Ich bin dein Mensch”) at the fest. A blend of sci-fi and rom-com, the pic “features a Prince Charming who is not chosen by a woman, but designed to her taste,” according to the fest’s synopsis.
Other titles set to screen in Competition include Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha’s “Ballad of a White Cow” (“Ghasideyeh gave sefid”), a portrait of a woman whose husband has been unjustly executed in contemporary Iran, Maria Speth’s “Mr Bachmann and His Class” (“Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse”), a documentary filmed over the course of 10 years that pays tribute to a great teacher, and Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s “Memory Box,” which follows three generations of women who relocate to Canada from Lebanon.
“If the Competition offers a picture of the cinema as it is and as it will be, we can say that the disruption brought on by the events of 2020 has led filmmakers to make the most of this situation and create deeply personal films,” said Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian.
The European Film Market, Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents, and World Cinema Fund have gone digital this year due to COVID-19. The events will take place from March 1-5. A physical summer event, the Berlinale Summer Special, is being planned for June 9-20.
Head over to the Berlinale’s website to check out all of this year’s Competition films.