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Berlinale Bloggers 2018
That uncertain feeling

Victoria Schulz and Daniel Zillmann in “Rückenwind von vorn” (Away you go)
Victoria Schulz and Daniel Zillmann in “Rückenwind von vorn” (Away you go) | Photo (detail): © von Oma gefördert

What trends are next-generation German filmmakers setting these days? Philipp Bühler looks at the “Perspektive Deutsches Kino” section of the Berlinale showcasing highly imaginative work of up-and-coming German talents.

By Philipp Bühler

The Perspektive German Kino section is often described as “controversial”. This is another way of saying that the forum for young German cinema receives little notice from international festivalgoers. And that’s a shame, but once you’ve discovered this wonderful little niche, you won’t want to miss it. This section of the festival has something that has been missing in the established sections so far: a distinct profile.

Ingenuity and an elusive charm

You are by and large safe here from the clumsy or heavy-handed experimental art film, on the one hand, and the slick commercial mainstream movie, on the other. Perspektive pictures tend to be young, cheeky and playful, sometimes a bit naïve – as is to be expected of newcomers. The best example is this year’s opener, Rückenwind von vorn (English title: Away You Go). The film is like its protagonist, a young schoolteacher who can’t choose between the serious side of life and continually restarting anew. Her boyfriend wants to have a child, she doesn’t. Why not? Director Philipp Eichholz talks about a feeling that is “small, pathetic and banal” – but undeniably there: the feeling that something isn’t right. Perspektive films, if we may generalize a bit, play variations on the theme of this particular state of mind – with no great ambitions, but with plenty of ingenuity, natural dialogues and an elusive charm. Julian Pörksen’s Whatever Happens Next is in the same spirit: it’s about a man who drops out one day and ends up an extremely adept schnorrer crashing parties and funerals to capitalize on his gift for cadging.

Undisguised curiosity

Naturally, there are some serious topical films this year, too, such as Felix Hassenfratz’s Verlorene (Lost Ones), a southern German drama about abuse, or Susan Gordanshekan’s integration parable Die defekte Katze (A Dysfunctional Cat). But they, too, show the undisguised curiosity that seems to be peculiar to young filmmakers. Feeling lost and looking for one’s place in life remains an overarching theme that finds a wide range of different expressions. Perspektive provides ample scope for all that curiosity and expressive variety, and let’s hope it stays that way.