A notable place in Africa, with the return of the Mauritanian Abderrahmane Sissako, stars like Gael García Bernal and Rooney Mara and French filmmakers, such as Bruno Dumont or Olivier Assayas: the 74th Berlinale published on Monday the list of films in the running for the Golden Bear. In total, twenty works are in competition from February 15 to 25 to succeed the documentary devoted to psychiatry Sur l'Adamant, by Frenchman Nicolas Philibert, which won the supreme award last year.
In competition for the Golden Bear, several films focused on Africa, a continent whose cinematography is developing but still has little presence in major festivals. Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako, who had not filmed since the success of Timbuktu, César for best director in 2015, is back with Black Tea, a love story in the African community of Canton, between a young Ivorian and the boss of a tea export shop.
The Franco-Senegalese Mati Diop (Grand Prix at Cannes in 2019 for Atlantique) presents Le Retour, a documentary on a current subject: the restitution of the royal treasures of Abomey in Benin, taken during the colonization of the country. Tunisia will be represented with a first feature film by director Meryam Joobeur. French filmmaker Olivier Assayas (Sils Maria, Personal Shopper), a regular at festivals, will present Hors du temps, an autobiographical mise en abyme retracing the confinement of a director and his brother, a music journalist, isolated in the countryside in the house where they grew up, with Nora Hamzaoui and Vincent Macaigne.
Two years after the Cannes competition for France, Bruno Dumont returns with a very personal project: The Empire, a whimsical and eccentric remake of Star Wars, filmed in his lands in the north of France, with Fabrice Lucchini (Ma Loute) and a cast of in-demand French actresses: Anamaria Vartolomei (L'Évènement), Lyna Khoudri and Camille Cottin. Noticed with Party Girl ten years ago, Claire Burger took her first steps in competition in Berlin with Foreign Language, a film with a Franco-German cast starring Chiara Mastroianni. A regular at the Berlinale, South Korean Hong Sang-Soo reunites with Isabelle Huppert for A Traveler's Needs, also in competition.