The Berlin International Film Festival has announced the complete lineup for the upcoming scaled-back Berlin Film Festival 2021, now online for industry only because of COVID-19, with three Japanese films in the lineup.
The festival has typically been a first point for many Japanese films from major and up-and-coming directors to make their world premiere before touring other international festivals later. Three Japanese films, including the latest film from Ryusuke Hamaguchi, will be showcased at this year’s Berlin Film Festival 2021.
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is the film in question from Happy Hour director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, a director whose previous films have regularly toured the international film festivals, including 2018’s Asako 1 & 2, which competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival. This new film, fresh off a screenplay credit for Wife of a Spy, is made up of three stories in one that each share a theme of coincidence and imagination, sharing a look at the unexpectedness of the world.
Episode one centers Meiko as she realizes a guy hitting on her best friend was actually an ex-boyfriend, with episode two featuring a failed university student trying to ruin her professor’s reputation after failing to graduate, while episode three features a woman who meets a former classmate before the pair realize they share feelings for one another. This film about women in love will screen in competition and has already been picked up by M-Appeal for worldwide distribution.
In the Panorama section of Berlin International Film Festival 2021, Yujiro Harumoto’s A Balance will be shown. This film explores Japan’s culture of shame surrounding a school incident that resulted in multiple suicides from those involved. The movie portrays the story of documentary director Yuko as she seeks to document this incident of bullying for a film when she uncovers the truth behind the incident and becomes deeply involved with the families impacted by it. As it turns out, her friend-like father had committed a fatal mistake that played a part in this incident.
These two films will screen in a packed Berlin International Film Festival 2021 lineup that includes the world premiere of Portrait of a Lady on Fire director Céline Sciamma’s latest film Petite Maman and Hong Sangsoo’s Introduction, although the online festival itself will only be for industry personnel and take place on 1-5 March. A later event planned for the summer (9-20 June) will feature physical screenings for some of these films in Berlin. You can find out more over on the festival’s official website.