Daniel Brühl Leads German Contingent at Berlin With ‘Next Door’

With a strong showing at this year’s Berlin Film Festival that includes the directorial debut of Daniel Brühl and new works by Maria Schrader and Dominik Graf in competition, German films are set to garner much of the spotlight at the accompanying European Film Market.

Brühl, who is set to reprise his role as the vengeful Helmut Zemo in the upcoming Marvel series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” explores the contradictions of present-day Berlin in “Next Door.” The seemingly self-referential story has Brühl playing Daniel, a successful actor living in the city’s Prenzlauer Berg district, who is about to jet off to audition for a role in a superhero movie. His life suddenly changes when he is confronted by a disgruntled neighbor, played by Peter Kurth (“Babylon Berlin”), a victim of gentrification in former East Berlin and one of the many losers of German reunification.

Written by bestselling author Daniel Kehlmann, “Next Door” was produced by Amusement Park Film and is sold by Beta Cinema.

In Schrader’s sci-fi drama “I’m Your Man,” Maren Eggert plays a scientist who agrees to take part in an experiment: living for three weeks with an android, played by Dan Stevens, whose artificial intelligence allows it to become her ideal life partner.

Schrader, who won an Emmy for directing miniseries “Unorthodox,” co-wrote the script with Jan Schomburg, based on a short story by Emma Braslavsky. Produced by Letterbox, the film is likewise being sold by Beta Cinema.

“Fabian – Going to the Dogs” is Graf’s adaptation of the autobiographical novel by Erich Kästner. Tom Schilling (“Never Look Away”) stars as Jakob Fabian, a fatalistic, unemployed writer in 1931 Berlin whose crumbling existence is buttressed by his love for Cornelia (Saskia Rosendahl), his pal Stephan (Albrecht Schuch), and the city’s outlandish nightlife. “Fabian” is produced by Lupa Film and distributed internationally by Les Films du Losange.

“Je suis Karl,” by Christian Schwochow (“Munich”), follows Maxi (Luna Wedler), a young woman who loses her mother in a terrorist attack and who finds comfort and purpose in Karl (Jannis Niewöhner), a charismatic young man working to build a Europe-wide movement in an effort to solve the catastrophic situation on the continent. Produced by Pandora Film and sold by the Match Factory, “Je suis Karl” unspools in Berlinale Special.

Likewise screening in the section is Tim Fehlbaum’s dystopian sci-fi drama “Tides,” starring Nora Arnezeder and Iain Glen (“Game of Thrones”).

Executive produced by Roland Emmerich, the German-Swiss co-production follows a young astronaut who travels from a space colony to a desolate Earth submerged by the oceans, where small communities struggle to survive and where she discovers a terrible secret that may prove fateful for the ūplanet. Produced by BerghausWöbke Filmproduktion and Vega Film, “Tides” is sold by Mister Smith Entertainment.

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