Berlin.

About three weeks before the start of the festival, the films in competition for the Berlinale are fixed. In the race for the Golden Bear, for example, is director Andreas Dresen’s new film (“Gundermann”).

“Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush” tells how Guantanamo prisoner Murat Kurnaz’s mother fights for his release. A total of 18 titles are in competition, as artistic director Carlo Chatrian announced on Wednesday.

This also includes German director Nicolette Krebitz’s new film (“Wild”): Sophie Rois plays the lead role in “AEIOU – The Fast Alphabet of Love”. Austrian Ulrich Seidl’s new production (“Im Keller”), which is supposed to show the Italian resort region in winter with “Rimini”, is also presented.

Along with Cannes and Venice, the Berlinale is one of the biggest film festivals in the world. The Berlin film festival is due to take place on site despite rising infection numbers. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the Robert Koch Institute reported more than 100,000 new corona virus infections in one day. In view of the figures, the Berlinale has recently tightened the rules.

For the management duo Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, this is the third Berlinale. The Dutch and the Italians had to postpone last year because of the pandemic. From now on, only people who have been vaccinated against the corona virus or who have recovered from an infection should be allowed to enter cinemas. In addition, only about half of the places should be filled. Parts of the festival – such as the EFM Film Fair – are taking place online.

On Wednesday, the two presented the program via video link. The contest is often about love stories, Chatrian explained. Not always passionate love, but also family love or love-hate relationships, for example, as he then confided to the dpa.

The competition includes, for example, the American production “Call Jane” by Phyllis Nagy with Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver, the new film by Claire Denis with Juliette Binoche and the new film by Mikhaël Hers with actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. It was already known that the opening film “Peter von Kant” by French director François Ozon would compete for the prizes.

40% of directors are women

The film crews that will eventually arrive have yet to be decided. According to Chatrian, there were positive signals from all teams. “But what will be in three weeks, neither you nor I know.” In addition to the competition, there are many other film series. For example, a documentary about musician Nick Cave and the production “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” with actress Emma Thompson is to be shown.

In the film industry, opportunities for women are discussed again and again. According to the Berlinale, women are leading seven entries in the competition this time, which corresponds to a share of around 40%. Eleven filmmakers have already been to the Berlinale, including eight in competition. The list includes Ursula Meier, Denis Côté and South Korean Hong Sangsoo.

The festival is scheduled for February 10-20. Tickets will be available for purchase online from February 7. This is to avoid long queues forming at Potsdamer Platz or other ticket offices. According to Rissenbeek, it is not yet known how many tickets will be sold this time around. Given the reduced capacities, there are fewer than usual.

The “2G plus” rule should then apply: in addition to vaccination or recovered status, you must undergo a test and wear a mask. At this point, a booster vaccination should be able to replace the test, as Rissenbeek said. What are the chances that in the end there will still be a rejection? They are in constant contact with the Senate and the authorities. No one can predict that at the moment. Is there a plan B? “We are in the middle of plan B,” Rissenbeek said. “If we can’t take place, we can’t take place.” (dpa)