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  • Romy Kraus

#BerlinaleSeries 2020: 8 Series Announced

© Lou Faulon
Amandla Stenberg, André Holland in The Eddy

With eight series premieres from Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, United Kingdom and USA, Berlinale Series presents the state-of-the-art in serial storytelling.

An abundance of topics and narrative forms sets the tone of the programme as well the overdue representation of different communities, sexual identities and new perspectives on the world we live in.

Established directors and writers explore the possibilities of serial storytelling freely and very personally. The new projects by Marvin Kren (Freud), Athina Rachel Tsangari (Trigonometry), Warwick Thornton and Wayne Blair (Mystery Road 2), François Létourneau and Jean-François Rivard (C'est Comme Ça Que Je T'Aime) and last but not least Damien Chazelle with closing series The Eddy convince us with clear artistic decisions. Using macabre humour and stylish irony is part of the bold developments of this year, as is the almost surprisingly mature approach (especially) to female sexuality, as Amalie Næsby Fick displays in Sex.

An interconnected world is visible not only in the dynamic growing number of series platforms, projects and co-productions, its consequences are also reflected in the topics themselves. Connections and dependencies are investigated and lead to the realisation that not only the desire for belonging, acceptance and love are universal, but also the effects of fate, humanitarian catastrophes and political developments. One of these heartfelt projects comes from Cate Blanchett with Stateless, in which she has invested as co-creator, executive producer and actress. The other derives from Jason Segel as creator, executive producer and actor with Dispatches from Elsewhere.

In keeping with the diversity of the programme, the forms of presentation also vary: the opening series Freud will be shown with three 55-minute episodes. Athina Rachel Tsangari presents Trigonometry as a five-part mini series. The first short-form series Sex can be seen in its entirety.

Berlinale Series is an invitation to experience series as a community. The concentrated programme selection is to be discovered, questioned and discussed by industry professionals and Berlin audiences and offers multifaceted perspectives - from February 24 to 27 in the Berlin Zoo Palast.

C’est comme ça que je t’aime (Happily Married) Canada Creator: François Létourneau Showrunner: Joanne Forgues Director: Jean-François Rivard with François Létourneau, Patrice Robitaille, Marilyn Castonguay, Karine Gonthier-Hydman, Sophie Desmarais Broadcaster: Radio-Canada Télé, Tou.Tv Extra World premiere Episodes 1 and 2 of 10, in total 86’

Huguette and Gaétan, Serge and Micheline send their kids off for three weeks of camp. Alone with their partners, things quickly turn uncomfortable and the facades get huge cracks. Who slept with whom, who is on whose conscience? Marriage, Suburbia, hell in Quebec 1974.

Dispatches from Elsewhere USA Creator: Jason Segel Directors: Jason Segel (Ep. 1), Wendey Stanzler (Ep. 2) with Jason Segel, Eve Lindley, Sally Field, André Benjamin, Richard E. Grant Broadcaster: AMC World premiere Episodes 1 and 2 of 10, in total 120’

An enigmatic institute promises the chosen few an escape from everyday life into a world full of beauty and magic. But is this a game, an alternative reality or a conspiracy? And what are Peter, Simone, Janice and Fredwynne risking?

The Eddy France Creator: Jack Thorne Directors: Damien Chazelle (Ep. 1-2), Houda Benyamina (Ep. 3-4), Laila Marrakchi (Ep. 5-6), Alan Poul (Ep. 7-8) with André Holland, Joanna Kulig, Amandla Stenberg, Tahar Rahim, Leila Bekhti, Adil Dehbi, Benjamin Biolay Broadcaster: Netflix World premiere Episodes 1 and 2 of 8, in total 136’

Bandleader Elliot is improvising his way through a complex score of problems: his Parisian jazz club ‘The Eddy’ isn’t doing too well. Ruthless debt collectors are breathing down his neck. And then his teenage daughter Julie arrives from New York.

Freud Austria / Germany / Czech Republic Director: Marvin Kren with Robert Finster, Ella Rumpf, Georg Friedrich, Christoph Krutzler, Brigitte Kren, Anja Kling, Philipp Hochmair, Noah Saavedra Broadcaster: ORF, Netflix World premiere Episodes 1-3 of 8, in total 167’

Vienna, 1886: restless, high on cocaine and striving for recognition, young Sigmund Freud embarks on a nerve-wracking, hypnotic trip into the depths of the human soul with a mysterious medium and a traumatised policeman.

Mystery Road 2 Australia Creator: Ivan Sen Directors: Warwick Thornton, Wayne Blair with Aaron Pedersen, Jada Alberts, Sofia Helin, Callan Mulvey Broadcaster: Australian Broadcasting Corporation World premiere Episode 1 and 2 of 6, in total 110’

A headless corpse is found floating by the shore in a remote outback town. As if this weren’t mysterious enough, Detective Swan and his colleague Fran have to contend with protests against the excavation of an Indigenous site. And then another body turns up.

Sex Denmark Creator: Clara Mendes Director: Amalie Næsby Fick with Asta Kamma August, Jonathan Bergholdt Jørgensen, Nina Terese Rask, Sara Fanta Traore Broadcaster: TV 2 Denmark International premiere Complete short-form series, 6 episodes, in total 77’

At the call centre, Cathrine gives advice on sex and love, but is herself at a loss. After a kiss, she wants more from her colleague Selma. Her boyfriend Simon feels that what’s little is actually plenty. But what if that’s not enough?

Stateless Australia Creators: Cate Blanchett, Elise McCredie, Tony Ayres Directors: Emma Freeman (Ep. 1-3), Jocelyn Moorhouse (Ep. 4-6) with Yvonne Strahovski, Jai Courtney, Asher Keddie, Fayssal Bazzi, Dominic West, Cate Blanchett Broadcaster: Australian Broadcasting Corporation World premiere Episode 1 and 2 of 6, in total 107’

Escape, disappear, start over. Behind barbed wire in the Australian desert, the world comes together in a dramatic way for four very different people. Is home a place? Or a trauma? What if you’re not even in the position to dream about it?

Trigonometry United Kingdom Creators: Duncan Macmillan, Effie Woods Directors: Athina Rachel Tsangari (Ep. 1-5), Stella Corradi (Ep. 6-8) with Ariane Labed, Thalissa Teixeira, Gary Carr Broadcasters: BBC2, HBO Max (USA) World premiere Episodes 1-5 of 8, in total 220’

London, the present: Gemma is a chef, Kieran a paramedic and Ray, who moves in with the young couple, is at a loss. They fall in love, each with the other and all together. Can this possibly work out? Or might it actually be the best thing that could ever happen to them?


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