The Berlin International Film Festival has revealed the first 11 titles in its Panorama section, including Raoul Peck’s “I Am Not Your Negro,” the James Schamus-produced “Casting JonBenet” and Daniela Thomas’ “Vazante.” John Trengrove’s “The Wound” will open the section.
READ MORE: 5 Exciting Films in the 2017 Berlin Film Festival Competition Lineup
The festival says two prominent themes have emerged among the films. The first involves “Reclaiming Black History” or “a fresh historically reflective approach to the history of black people in North America, South America and Africa”; and the second is “Europa Europa,” or “how progressive forces might best defend themselves in light of a zeitgeist that makes it seem as if yesterday never went away.”
The Panorama titles are listed below with synopses and divided by theme. The festival will run from February 9 through 17.
In Focus: Reclaiming Black History
“Vazante” (Daniela Thomas, Brazil/Portugal); with Adriano Carvalho, Luana Nastas, Juliana Carneiro da Cunha, Sandra Corveloni, Roberto Audio
Daniela Thomas, co-director of many joint productions with Walter Salles, presents her solo directorial debut. Brazil was the last country to officially abolish slavery in its historical form, in 1888. This film’s story (co-authored by Beto Amaral) is set in 1821, one year before the South American nation gained its independence from Portugal. The wealth that is extracted from the country comes in the form of gemstones from the mines of Minas Gerais. The precious jewels are excavated from the belly of the mountain by slaves; still absent today is any significant memorial to the suffering they endured. Although this era represents the foundation upon which today’s Brazil was built, its culture has yet to recover from the monstrosity of these events.