Cast: Mauro Sánchez Navarro, Ximena Romo Mercado, José Antonio Toledano, Xabiani Ponce de León
Mexico City, 1986: As the country prepares for the World Cup, a thriving underground of New Wave music and avant-garde art bubbles up. Seventeen-year-old Carlos feels like an outsider, but when his engineering know-how comes to the rescue of a synth-heavy music group in need of a keyboard technician, he’s ushered into a world much wilder than high school rivalries and his sheltered homelife. Hitting the clubs puts Carlos closer to Rita, his older crush, who’s the sister of his best friend Gera, but as the two young men navigate this vibrant and revolutionary scene, it’s Gera who blossoms both as an artist and as someone discovering his sexuality. Fueled by love and anger, this pack of rabble-rousing young artists inspires each other to greater heights of creativity while also opening up to their true selves.
Featuring a superb ensemble (that includes Oscar nominee Marina de Tavira of Roma) and pulsing with the energy of the art and experimentation of the 1980s — even in the shadow of the HIV epidemic, and even in places that weren’t Berlin — this revelatory and romantic coming-of-age tale was a hit at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals. Whether you were around in 1986 or are nostalgic for an earlier era’s efforts to sail against the current and create its own rowdy, revolutionary voice, This Is Not Berlin captures every generation’s deep need to stand apart and smash down the old ways to create something new.
Hari Sama is a Mexican director, screenwriter, actor, producer and musician. His films have participated in numerous festivals around the world and have won several awards. This Is Not Berlin premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival; he is currently in the process of developing his sixth feature film, Ballast.