Berlin & Beyond previews: Sisters Apart | Cocoon | Walchensee Forever

The Berlin & Beyond Film Festival opens May 25 and closes May 30. Here are three of the 25 films being shown through streaming, at a drive-in, and – believe it or not – in an actual hard-top movie theater.

A- Sisters Apart

Opening night! The fog of war feels thick when Rojda, a soldier and translator, leaves to fight ISIS in the Kurdish part of Iraq. Although she carries a German passport, Rojda is Kurdish by birth. The mostly male German soldiers can’t quite connect to the female Kurdish fighters (although they try), but Rodja can do it easily. But she discovers that her sister has disappeared in the war. This makes the fight personal to Rojda, and that can make the situation even more dangerous for everyone else.

If you want to experience opening night, go to the Fort Mason Flix drive-in, Tuesday 25 at 8:30. Otherwise, you can also stream the film at home throughout the run of the festival.

B+ Cocoon

Closing night! This coming-of-age drama starts out weak, as three teenage girls run around the city, act wild, and look for a party. But soon the film focuses on Nora, the younger of the three, and the film gets much more interesting.  Her alcoholic mother provides neither support nor a role model. Nora’s older sister does what she can to help her, but she’s still a teenager, herself. Meanwhile, Nora’s sexuality is budding (her first period happens in school), and her desires aren’t conventional.

Cocoon is the Closing Night Film, screening at Fort Mason Flix, as well as in virtual cinema. A Q&A session will be live-streamed on Facebook Live. (I’m not sure how that will happen.)

D+ Walchensee Forever

It’s becoming relatively easy to gather up family photos and home movies, interview your relatives, add music, and call it a documentary. That sometimes works, as in Socks on Fire, but not this time. The film has its moments, but not much of them. Director Janna Ji Wonders and her relatives have a house and café on the shores of the beautiful Walchensee Lake. But most of this film focuses on their travels, especially in the 1960s and 70s. The documentary covers the good and bad of the hippie lifestyle but doesn’t reveal anything you haven’t seen before.

If you still want to watch Walchensee Forever, you can stream it throughout the run of the festival.