As a consequence of the pandemic, the 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival was not held this year at the usual dates in June, but had to be postponed to 25 July - 2 August, 2020. This unusual year will see German Films continuing its traditional cooperation with its own showcase of German films, Focus Germany, which is curated by the festival.
Cinemas in China have been shut for longer than anywhere else in the world. They abruptly shut on Jan. 23 to stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak and have remained closed ever since - with devastating consequences for exhibitors. Chinese authorities announced on 16 July that cinemas will reopen at long last beginning from 20 July in low-risk regions.
Concessions naturally will be made to the current situation at the Shanghai International Film Festival. Unfortunately, this means that this will be the first time films are not being presented in person in Shanghai. The directors will instead send video messages to recommend their films to the Chinese audiences.
The 17th Focus Germany at SIFF is offering a great overview of German festival highlights from the past year:
The Focus Germany will be showing the critics' favourite UNDINE by Christian Petzold, which screened in the 2020 Berlinale's Competition and won the Silver Bear for the lead actress and Face-to-Face talent Paula Beer, and 1986 by Lothar Herzog, which screened at this year's Slamdance Film Festival. There will also be presentations of BAUMBACHER SYNDROME by Gregory Kirchhoff, the opening film of last year's Hof Film Days, and EXILE by Visar Morina, which was a hit with audiences at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and has just won the Taiwan Film Critics Society Prize at the Taipei Film Festival.
GASMAN by Arne Körner had its premiere at the Cairo Film Festival, while GIPSY QUEEN by Hüseyn Tabak and MAN FROM BEIRUT by Christoph Gampl were both in competition at the Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn last year. RELATIVITY by Mariko Minoguchi was shown at the BFI London Film Festival and PELICAN BLOOD by Katrin Gebbe was the opening film of the Orizzonti section in Venice last year. NARCISSUS AND GOLDMUND by Oscar®-winner Stephan Ruzowitzky, with Face-to-Face talent Jannis Niewöhner in one of the leads, is also one of the titles in the Focus line-up. The program is rounded off by the international co-production RESISTANCE (with Jesse Eisenberg and Matthias Schweighöfer about the mime artist Marcel Marceau), SISTERS APART by Daphne Charizani, which screened in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino sidebar at this year's Berlinale, and LOVEMOBIL by Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauß, which premiered in Locarno and will screen in the Documentary section in Shanghai.