Berlinale Unveils 2023 Competition Lineup

Sean Penn, Jesse Eisenberg, Canadian actor/director Matt Johnson, South Korean auteur Hong Sang Soo, and Korean-Canadian director Celine Song are headed to the upcoming Berlin Film Festival.

Berlinale artistic director Carlo Chatrian and executive director Mariëtte Rissenbeck on Monday unveiled the main Competition and Encounters selections for the fest’s 73rd edition which will feature a rich mix of well-known names and newcomers.

As previously announced, Rebecca Miller’s romantic comedy “She Came To Me,” starring Peter Dinklage, Marisa Tomei, Joanna Kulig, Brian d’Arcy James and Anne Hathaway, has been set as the festival opener.

Kristen Stewart will preside over the jury and Steven Spielberg will receive an honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement.

Penn will be in Berlin with “Superpower,” the doc he co-directed with Aaron Kaufman which depicts the struggle between Volodymyr Zelensky, the actor and comedian who became president of Ukraine, and Russian president Vladimir Putin, as he deploys a full-scale invasion of the country.

“Penn was in kyiv shooting a film with Zelensky when the war in Ukraine burst,” Chatrian said at the press conference. And then, “Reality made the film change into something less comfortable and more meaningful,” he added. “We are very grateful to Sean Penn and the entire team to have picked the Berlinale to show this film,” which “tells the role of art and artists,” the Berlin co-topper added.

Rissenbeck and Chatrian revealed that the colors of this year’s Berlinale would be blue and yellow – the Ukraine flag colors. Elaborating on the decision to select “Superpower,” Chatrian said: “I guess part of the decision is precisely that the Berlin Film Festival will take place exactly one year after the burst of war and maybe showing this film in Berlin has a more relevant meaning that in any other place, because we are close to Ukraine, because Ukrainian people live in Berlin and also because of the political value of this film. But it’s not the only one dealing with Ukraine. For me ‘Superpower’ – I’m aware that it will drag a lot of attention – is a great door to let you enter to the very complex, rich description of what happened and is still happening in Ukraine right now.”

ENCOUNTERS FILMS

“The Klezmer Project” by Leandro Koch, Paloma Schahmann
Argentina/Austria

“The Adults” by Dustin Guy Defa
US

“The Echo” by Tatiana Huezo
Mexico/Germany

“Here” by Bas Devos
Belgium

“In the Blind Spot” by Ayse Polat
Germany

“The Cage is Looking for a Bird” by Malika Musaeva
France/Russia

“My Worst Enemy” by Mehran Tamadon
France/Switzerland

“White Plastic Sky” by Tibor Banoczki, Sarolta Szabo
Hungary/Slovakia

“In Water” by Hong Sangsoo

“Family Time” by Tia Kuovo

“The Walls of Bergamo” by Stefano Savona

“Orlando, My Political Biography” by Paul B. Preciado

“Samsara” by Lois Patino

“Eastern Front” by Vitaly Mansky, Yevhen Titarenko

“Living Bad” by Joao Canijo

“Absence” by Wu Lang

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION LINEUP

“20,000 Species of Bees” by Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren

“The Shadowless Tower” by Zhang Lu

“Till the End of the Night” by Christoph Hochhausler

“BlackBerry” by Matt Johnson

“Disco Boy” by Giacomo Abbruzze

“The Plow” by Philippe Garrel

“Ingeborg Bachmann – Journey into the Desert” by Margarethe von Trotta

“Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything” by Emily Atef

Limbo by Ivan Sen

“Bad Living” by Joao Canijo

Manodrome by John Trengove

“Music” by Angela Schanelec

“Past Lives” by Celine Song

“Afire” by Christian Petzold

“On the Adamant” by Nicolas Philibert

“The Survival of Kindness” by Rolf de Heer

“Suzume” by Makoto Shinkai

“Totem” by Lila Ayles

BERLINALE SPECIAL GALA

“Superpower” by Sean Penn, Aaron Kaufman

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