German-born director Bastian Günther has come up with a great story for “One Of These Days”, running in the Panorama section of this year’s Berlinale. Staged in a town in Texas, there is a competition where people have to place one hand on a pickup truck and are not allowed to take it away. The last man or woman standing wins the truck. Within the course of two hours, you see 20 people placed around the truck and their individual games how to survive this marathon. It’s a very intense field study on people’s individual needs and characteristics and even though some contestants just drop down because of mere exhaustion, others come to the conclusion that what they do is simply a piece of bulls***. So when Kyle, played by the immensely talented and brutally blue-eyed Joe Cole, decides to kill himself instead of wanting to win the truck, this whole competition becomes a farce.
In other Panorama features, Siamak Etemadi, born in Teheran, premiered “Pari” about an Iran-based couple travelling to Athens to look after their lost son. As the story unfolds, Pari, played brilliantly by Melika Foroutan, more and more drifts away from her traditional muslim rules and opens up, slowly but surely. A strong entry this year.
Brazilian director Daniel Nolasco visits Berlin with “Vento Seco”. He describes the vast contrast between the working environment of Sandro in a fertilizing factory and his sexual relationship with his colleague Ricardo (played by Allan Jacinto Santana, best-looking actor at this year’s Berlinale). Sandro’s sex fantasies with other colleagues are played out in astonishingly explicit scenes.
The contrast between religious believes and sexual orientation is the topic of Eric Steel‘s “Minyan”, where 17-year old David is torn between his life in his Jewish community and his coming-out in 80s New York. To portray someone who is gay, a Jew, and an immigrant and telling his story in an unobtrusive, sometimes humorous, always tentative and observing way, is one of the many treats of the film and, subsequently, of this festival per se.