The 63rd annual Berlin Film Festival begins February 7 in Berlin (where else?) and this year the famed series—home to the prestigious Teddy Award—offers plenty of queer fare, especially heart-wrenching documentaries.
L.A. filmmakers Shaun Kadlec and Deb Tullmann follow up last year’s award-winning Call Me Kuchu with Born This Way (above), their exploration of Camaroon’s gay underground and the efforts of attorney Alice Nkom to decriminalize homosexuality in the African nation, where many still think it’s a form of demonic possession.
Daniel Young’s Paul Bowles: The Case Door is Always Open puts the spotlight on the bisexual author and his wife, Jane, and includes commentary from John Waters, Bernardo Bertolucci and Gore Vidal.
Sao Sopheak’s short doc Two Girls Against the Rain follows two Cambodian lesbians who have shared a life together in a remote village for more than 30 years. And a Belgrade trans woman shares her story in When I Was a Boy, I Was a Girl.
Angela Christlieb’s Naked Opera (right) chronicles the life of a wealthy but terminally ill man, Marc, who travels the world and takes on a male companion in every city where a production of Don Giovanni is being staged. There are echos of Werner Herzog as Christlieb and Mark’s relationship becomes a central focus of the film, especially when Marc falls for a German porn star.
Among the queer features are Nanouk Leopold’s It’s All So Quiet, about a 50-year old farmer who begins a relationship with an 18-year-old farmhand, and Stefan Westerwelle and Patrick Schuckmann’s Lose Your Head, about a young gay man caught up in sex, drugs and kidnapping—ironically, while visiting Berlin.
White Nights (above) is Korean director LeeSong Heeil’s answer to Before Sunrise, as two anchorless men consider letting a deeper love blossom one night in Seoul.
There’s a good diversity of LGBT shorts as well: In Praise of the Day, about portentous hookup between two men in Jerusalem; Brazil’s The Package, about two young gay lovers facing a very serious wrinkle; and Swedish filmmaker Victor Lindgren’s Undress Me, about a man’s curious first liaison with a trans woman.
Also coming to Berlin is James Franco and Travis Mathews’ much-ballyhooed Interior. Leather Bar, which promises to raise eyebrows (and other body parts) with a re-creation of 40 minutes excised from William Friedkin’s 1980 gaysploitation classic, Cruising.
Find more information at the Berlinale website.