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Festival 2022

The Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, the largest festival of contemporary German cinema in the Americas, presented annually in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut San Francisco, will present its 26th edition this March 11-16, 2022 as a fully in-person event, following the fully in-person Autumn Showcase this past November and last May’s 25th anniversary hybrid edition.

Festival Director Sophoan Sorn and Festival President Noémie Njangiru unveiling the Feature Live Action and Documentary Film Lineup of the 26th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival on February 22, 2022. (Photo: Lisa Klien)


With health and safety policies, the 26th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival will take place as a fully in-person event at four venues, including the momentous return to San Francisco’s iconic movie palace, The Castro Theatre.

26th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival –– March 11-16, 2022

March 11-13: Castro Theatre, San Francisco
March 14: Landmark’s Aquarius Theatre, Palo Alto
March 15: Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas, Berkeley
March 16: UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)



Opening Night Film

Next Door (Nebenan)
Dir. Daniel Brühl –– Germany | 2021 | 93 min.
West Coast Premiere

Berlin, the Prenzlauer Berg district. Daniel is a movie star accustomed to success. His loft apartment is stylish and so is his wife, and the nanny has the children under control. Everything is tip-top, bilingual and ready for him to jet off to an audition in London where a role in an American superhero film awaits the celebrated German-Spanish actor. Popping into the local bar on the corner, he finds Bruno sitting there. As transpires by the minute, Bruno has been waiting for this moment for a long time, with Daniel as his target.

Official Selection: Berlinale 2021 (Competition)
In German and some Spanish and English, with English subtitles
Starring: Daniel Brühl and Peter Kurth
View Clip

Centerpiece Film
Dear Thomas (Lieber Thomas)
Dir. Andreas Kleinert –– Germany | 2021 | 150 min.
North American Premiere

The GDR is still young, but Thomas Brasch (Albrecht Schuch) doesn’t fit in already. His father Horst (Jörg Schüttauf) wants to help build the new German state above all, but Thomas, his eldest son, would rather become a writer. Thomas is a dreamer, obsessive and a rebel. When the Soviet tanks roll through Prague in 1968, Brasch protests with his girlfriend Sanda (Ioana Jacob) and other students in the streets of Berlin. His own father betrays him to the Stasi, sending him to prison. Released on parole, Brasch works hard, and writes about love, revolt, and death. With no prospect of being heard in the GDR, Thomas and the woman he loves (Jella Haase) leave the homeland that never was his. In the West he is acclaimed and his books become bestsellers. But Brasch does not allow himself to be taken in. He is far from being at peace.

Official Selection: Munich 2021 and Winner of Best Film at Tallinn Black Nights 2021
In German and English with English subtitles
Starring: Albrecht Schuch and Jella Haase
View Trailer

Castro Closing Night Film
Precious Ivie (Ivie wie Ivie)
Dir. Sarah Blaßkiewitz –– Germany | 2021 | 117 min.
US Premiere

Two Afro-German half-sisters who never met before, get closer through their father’s death, search their roots and find themselves.

Official Selection: Munich 2021 and Winner of Best Supporting Actress at German Film Awards 2021 for Lorna Ishema
In German and English with English subtitles
Starring: Haley Louise Jones and Lorna Ishema
View Trailer

Cinema Panorama


And Tomorrow We Will Be Dead (Und morgen seid ihr tot)
Dir. Michael Steiner –– Switzerland, Germany | 2021 | 115 min.
North American Premiere – Swiss Film & Talk Special Presentation

In 2011, a young Swiss couple, Daniela Widmer and David Och, are kidnapped on their journey along the old Silk Road in Pakistan. They are taken 500 kilometers to warlike Waziristan and handed over to the local Taliban. The two of them are living under the most precarious conditions for 8 months in hostage custody, until they finally succeed in escaping from the Taliban, as the only civilians so far. Based on the true story.

Official Selection: Zurich 2021 (Opening Night Film)
In Swiss German, English and Pashtu with English subtitles
Starring: Morgane Ferru, Sven Schelker, Ingo Ospelt, Karin Pfammatter
View Trailer

Dir. Stefan Ruzowitzky –– Austria, Luxembourg | 2021 | 98 min.
North American Premiere

Vienna, 1920. The Austro-Hungarian Empire has collapsed. Peter Perg returns home from the Great War, after years of captivity. But the Vienna he comes home to is nothing like the place he once knew. The new Austrian Republic thrives on artistic freedom, but anti-democratic movements loom overhead. A stranger in his hometown, his life takes a turn for the worse when one of his former comrades is murdered. Suddenly the mysterious killings of veterans are mounting. Personally connected to the victims, Perg decides to bring the killer to justice.

Official Selection: Audience Award Winner at Locarno 2021
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Murathan Muslu, Liv Lisa Fries, Marc Limpach, Max von der Groeben
View Trailer

Princess (Prinzessin)
Dir. Peter Luisi –– Switzerland, Ukraine | 2021 | 101 min.
West Coast Premiere

Josef would go to the ends of the earth for his little princess, Nina, his niece. He even tries to get away from alcohol, but he only finally quits when his sister cuts off every contact after Josef unwittingly hurts Nina. Many years later, Josef is sober and learns that Nina has become a drug addict and a criminal, trapped in a remote Ukrainian prison. Now it’s his turn to rescue her.

Official Selection: Zurich 2021, Hof 2021, Solothurn 2022
In German and Swiss German with English subtitles
Starring: Matthias Habich Fabian Krueger Lia Hahne Johanna Bantzer Anne Haug
View Trailer

Sweet Disaster
Dir. Laura Lehmus –– Germany | 2021 | 90 min.
Northern California Premiere

Frida unexpectedly falls pregnant and Felix, the father of her child, breaks up with her to reunite with his ex. Although some serious health problems caused by the late pregnancy force Frida to rest, she still tries to get Felix back, using methods which are absurd, exaggerated and often hilarious.

Official Selection: Raindance UK 2021, Santa Barbara 2021
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Friederike Kempter, Florian Lukas, Lena Urzendowsky, Lasse Myhr
View Trailer


Mission Ulja Funk
Dir. Barbara Kronenberg –– Germany, Luxembourg, Poland | 2021 | 103 min.
North American Premiere – Youth 4 German Cinema 2022 Winner

When Ulja (12) is prevented from pursuing her passion, astronomy, she decides to take matters into her own hands. With a stolen hearse and a 13-year-old classmate as a driver, she makes her way across Eastern Europe to watch the impact of an asteroid. In doing so, she not only has to shake off her persecutors, but also her pragmatic view of friendship and family.

Official Selection: Berlinale 2021 (Generation KPlus), Gijon 2021, Zurich 2021
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Romy Janinhoff, Jonas Oeßel, Hildegard Schroedter, Luc Feit, Anja Schneider
View Trailer

Wet Dog (Ein Nasser Hund)
Dir. Damir Lukacevic –– Germany | 2021 | 103 min.
Youth 4 German Cinema 2022 Runner-Up

An Iranian Jewish teenager who, upon moving to a predominantly Muslim neighborhood in Berlin, joins a street gang whose Muslim members harbor anti-Semitic beliefs. Caught between hiding his Jewish identity to save his friendships and continue fitting in with them, or losing everything to live openly as a Jew, there is one thing he knows for sure: his next move will change the course of his life and that of his loved ones forever.

Official Selection: San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2021
In German with English subtitles
Starring: Dorka Gryllus, Kida Khodr Ramadan, Christoph Letkowski
View Trailer


Dear Thomas (Lieber Thomas)
Film details under the Showcase section.

Tacheles – The Heart of the Matter (Endlich Tacheles)
Dirs. Jana Matthes and Andrea Schramm –– Germany | 2020 | 104 min.
West Coast Premiere

Yaar is a young Israeli living in Berlin, refusing being a Jew. He accuses his father of suffering from the Holocaust although he never experienced it firsthand. In order to face his own family history, he decides to communicate the Holocaust in a new way: in a computer game. Together with his two German friends, he creates a 1940s Germany in which Jews can defend themselves and Nazis can act humanely. By bluring the truth and switching the roles of victims and perpertrators – can anyone cope with his own history?

Official Selection: Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2021, DOK.fest Munich 2020
In German, Hebrew and English with English subtitles
View Trailer


Dir. Monika Treut –– Germany | 2021 | 88 min.

20 years after Gendernauts, Monika Treut returns to California to meet again with the protagonists of her ground-breaking and award-winning queer documentary classic: Sandy Stone, Susan Stryker, Stafford and Max Wolf Valerio, the pioneers of the 90s trans movement. Most of them lived in San Francisco, then a haven for outsiders and part of the sexual avantgarde. Today, they are aged between 58 and 84 and are mostly living elsewhere. San Francisco has become the dormitory town of the well-paid employees of the high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. The alternative movement has moved to the less expensive East Bay, the deserts in the South, the provinces of Northern California or, like Max, to Colorado. But the energy of the gendernauts and their supporters, such as the sex activists and performance artists Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens, is undimmed, their spirit unbroken.

Official Selection: Berlinale 2021, Frameline San Francisco 2021
In English
View Trailer

Mr. Bachmann and His Class 
(Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse)
Dir. Maria Speth –– Germany | 2021 | 217 min.
West Coast Premiere

Where does one feel at home? In Stadtallendorf, a German city with a complex history of both excluding and integrating foreigners, genial teacher Dieter Bachmann offers his pupils the key to at least feeling as if they are at home. Aged between twelve and fourteen, these pupils come from twelve different nations; some have not quite mastered the German language. On the brink of retirement, Bachmann is eager to inspire these citizens-in-the-making with a sense of curiosity for a wide range of crafts, subjects, cultures and opinions. Screening as part of the BAMPFA Documentary Voices series.

Official Selection: Winner of the Silver Bear Jury Award at the Berlinale 2021, DOC NYC 2021
In German with English subtitles
View Trailer


Friday, March 11, 2022 – Castro Theatre, San Francisco 

10:00 AM: Mission Ulja Funk

12:45 PM: Wet Dog

3:30 PM: Shorts Program

6:30 PM: Opening Night Film: Next Door

8:30 PM: Opening Night Benefit Reception

Saturday, March 12, 2022 – Castro Theatre, San Francisco

11:30 AM: Laura’s Star

1:30 PM: Directors’ Roundtable (Panelists To Be Announced)

3:00 PM: Sweet Disaster

6:00 PM: Centerpiece Film: Dear Thomas

10:00 PM: Hinterland

Sunday, March 13, 2022 – Castro Theatre, San Francisco 

12:00 PM: Genderation

2:30 PM: Tacheles – The Heart of the Matter

5:30 PM: And Tomorrow We Will Be Dead

8:45 PM: Castro Closing Night Film: Precious Ivie

Monday, March 14, 2022 – Aquarius Theatre, Palo Alto (2 screens)

6:00 PM: And Tomorrow We Will Be Dead

6:30 PM: Next Door

8:30 PM: Princess

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 – Shattuck Cinemas, Berkeley (2 screens)

6:00 PM: Next Door

6:30 PM: Precious Ivie 

8:15 PM: Dear Thomas

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 – UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive 

7:00 PM: Mr. Bachmann and His Class