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Berlin becomes, once again, the centre of the film industry thanks to the 70th edition of the Berlinale. One of the most important events of the year, which takes place until March 1st and sets the tone for the upcoming months, is celebrating once again cinema in all its glory, from the main Competition section to others loved by the audience, like Perspektive Deutsches Kino, which presents directors screening their debut films on topics from throughout the world but for the greatest part produced in Germany, or Panorama, focusing on edgier proposals. Among the many titles, we’ve selected some of our favourites that you shouldn’t miss.

The Roads Not Taken, by Sally Potter
One of the most-awaited films in the Competition section, the new film by Sally Potter stars heavyweights like Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning and Salma Hayek. The Roads Not Taken follows a ‘normal’ day in the chaotic life of Leo and his daughter, Molly. Exploring the issue of mental health, Bardem embodies a mentally impaired man who doesn’t remember the name of his daughter and whose head is filled with wanderings into parallel versions of his life – from his life as a writer on a Greek island to his passionate marriage with Dolores.

Berlin Alexanderplatz
, by Burhan Qurbani

With immigration, otherness and the feeling of being as an outsider at the core of his practice, Burhan Qurbani premieres worldwide Berlin Alexanderplatz, an adaptation of Döblin’s novel of the same title. For his take on it, the director focuses on Francis, an immigrant escaping West Africa who winds up in present-day Berlin, where he struggles to thrive, find happiness and meaningful human connection as a stateless person without a work permit.

Always Amber,
by Lia Hietala & Hannah Reinikainen

Touching on themes like gender identity, friendship and transitioning, the Swedish filmmakers present a three-year-long documentary following the life of Amber Mastracci, who at the age of 17 years old, opted for a gender-neutral Swedish pronoun – ‘hen’. In the film, they tell her story, struggles and hopes, which reflect on the current’s generation demands for freedom of identity all the while touching upon other themes like social media and mental health.

Domangchin yeoja (The Woman Who Ran)
, by Hong Sang-soo

The prolific Korean filmmaker is back with another compelling story exploring the human condition. This time, he follows Gamhee, who meets three women on the outskirts of Seoul while her husband is on a business trip. With his characteristic style – heavy on long takes, dialogue and zooms – but in an even more minimalistic mode, Sang-soo’s new film leaves many questions open: who is the woman who ran? And why? And from what or who?

Effacer l’historique (Delete History)
, by Benoît Delépine & Gustave Kervern

New technologies, social media and apps are taking over our lives. Well, they have already. In their third film, the French directors present three characters fighting against giant techs and the ever-present cloud. Marie is afraid of losing her family’s respect because of a sex tape; Bertrand fights to protect her daughter, who’s being bullied online; and Christine, after losing everything because of her addiction to TV series, wonders why her rating as an Uber driver isn’t taking off. Joining forces, they’ll defy technology’s status quo, holding up a mirror to us all and our perception of reality.

, by Matteo Garrone

Roberto Bengini stars as Geppetto in the new adaptation of cult classic Pinnochio, the 19th-century novel by Carlo Collodi. After his sublime and multi-awarded previous film, Dogman, director Matteo Garrone delves into the story of the wooden puppet brought to life at the behest of a poor, lonely woodcarver and sets the film in rural Italy, where Pinocchio lives a life between fantasy and reality.

Police, by Anne Fontaine
The French director’s new film revolves around a moral dilemma. Three policemen – Virginie, Erik and Aristide – are assigned an unusual mission: to drive a migrant to the airport for unspecified reasons. On the way there though, they discover the man is sentenced to death in his home country, Iran. What shall they do? What should prevail: their duty and obligation and law enforcement officers, or their empathy for another human being? Extremely empathic, vulnerable and also philosophical, Anne Fontaine delivers yet another masterful piece.

, by Yoon Sung-hyun

Three buddies committed a heist some years ago, and one went to prison: Jun-seok. Three years later, his two accomplices, Ki-hoon and Jang-ho, pick him up from prison after his release. But South Korea is a different place after the recent financial crisis, which has turned the country upside down. However, his dream from his prison time prevails: escaping to Hawaii to start a new life there. Planning a risky raid on a casino to get the money, the trio finally succeeds. But before escaping, they discover they messed up with the wrong people. Welcome to an accelerated thriller.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always
, by Eliza Hittman

As the festival describes, “The crucial scene that gives Never Rarely Sometimes Always its title will surely become a staple of feminist cinema.” But why? Newcomers Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder embody Autumn and Skylar, two cousins from Pennsylvania. Autumn, who’s 17, faces an unintended pregnancy and asks for help to her relative, with whom she sets off across state lines to New York City to ‘fix’ her situation.

El prófugo
, by Natalia Meta

A psycho-sex thriller starring Érica Rivas as Inés, El prófugo follows a choir singer from Buenos Aires who, after living a traumatic experience on holiday, has been suffering from insomnia and is haunted by violent nightmares. When she’s recording in the dubbing studio, she notices strange sounds coming out from her vocal cords, which brings her to a delusional, paranoid state. Also starring Nahuel Pérez Biscayart (who starred in 120 Beats Per Minute), the story is inspired by horror novel El mal menor by Argentine writer C. E. Feiling.

, by Abel Ferrara

The accomplished director teams up once again with Willem Dafoe to portray the story of a man who struggles with finding himself. Aiming to portray the mythical and the radical, Siberia follows a man who “flees from one world to another that is strange and cold”, wears furs and lives isolated in caves to be alone and find inner peace. But he doesn’t. An exploration of the (male) ego to expose and discover himself.

The American Sector
, by Courtney Stephens, Pacho Velez

With this documentary, the directing duo explores urban anthropology through concrete stelae, a symbol reminiscent of the Berlin wall, which brings to the table a broader conversation about public commemoration. These blocks, like totem poles, appear to assert themselves and evoke history in the most unlikely of environments. At the same time, they exhort us to ponder the present.

, by Agnieszka Holland

Based on the life of Jan Mikolášek, the Czech filmmaker explores the link between the private and the political, and the relationship between the passage of time and the story of an unconventional individual. Mikolášek, who lived in Czechoslovakia during turbulent times, was a talented, sensitive and enigmatic character, a faith healer, a solidary man, used and protected by both the National Socialist and Communist regimes. Bun in the post-Stalinist years, the political climate change, and so does his way of living.

, by Andrew Levitas

Johnny Depp stars as the legendary world photographer W. Eugene Smith, who after portraying the horrors of World War II, becomes a recluse. The year is now 1971, and Japanese translator Aileen convinces him to cover a story to investigate the poisoning of the inhabitants of a fishing village – Minamata – that Life magazine editor Bob Hayes asks him to do. Film director Levitas tells the story of a flagrant case of corporate greed that has terrible consequences for everyone, but more importantly, that of a man who overcomes his inner demons for a greater cause.

My Salinger Year
, by Philippe Falardeau

Based on Joanna Rakoff’s memoir, the film focuses on Joanna, a young woman who dreams of being an author in 1990s New York. The path is difficult though, especially because of her boss, literary agent Margaret (portrayed by Sigourney Weaver), and the agency’s star, the ageing cult author J. D. Salinger.

Arnau Salvadó

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