This Is Not Berlin

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Mexico | 2019 | 105 minutes | Hari Sama

It's 1986 in Mexico City and a group of young friends are approaching adulthood, exploring the city's sexually fluid, neon-lit, New Wave subculture as a refuge from their country's pervasive machismo and homophobia.

"Hari Sama's autobiographically inspired feature is a joyfully edgy dive in the Mexico City punk/New Wave underground of the mid-80s."—Variety

Wiry, shy, and more than a little questioning of the crushing conformity that is life in mid-'80s Mexico City, 17-year-old Carlos (Xabiani Ponce de León) is clearly an uneasy fit living within the city's upscale Lomas Verdes suburbs. More comfortable tinkering with electronics and listening to the classic rock introduced to him by his cool uncle than engaging in the violent and pointless machismo of the boys at his private school, Carlos has a kindred spirit in his best friend Gera (José Antonio Toledano) and Gera's incessantly cool sister Rita (Ximena Romo). But when the pair are invited to see Rita's goth band at the infamous avant-garde club the Aztec, they're introduced to an uninhibited world of poetry, art, music, and sex—and an antidote to the disillusionment of living in an unsteady world and the uncertain future that awaits. Soon, under the guidance of club owner Nico, a wide-eyed Carlos takes his place among the rebels and outcasts, finding his voice as an artist, tasting the forbidden fruits of hedonism, and driving a wedge between himself and the more homebound Gera, in this exhilarating, semi-autobiographical new film from acclaimed writer/director Hari Sama.

Hebe Tabachnik

Director Biography
Hari Sama is a Mexican musician and filmmaker who studied filmmaking at Centro de Capacitacion Cinematográfica, and music composition at the Musical Studies and Research Center. He is a founding partner of the production company "Catatonia Films." As an advertising film director, Sama is one of the most acclaimed directors in Mexico. He is a keyboardist, clarinet player, and lead vocalist of the experimental dark rock band Euridice.

Sponsored by The Stranger

  • Original Language Title: Esto no es Berlin
  • Director: Hari Sama
  • Principal Cast: Xabiani Ponce de Leon, Jose Antonio Toledano, Ximena Romo, Mauro Sanchez Navarro, Klaudia Garcia
  • Country: Mexico
  • Year: 2019
  • Running Time: 105 minutes
  • Producer: Ale García, Antonio Urdapilleta, Verónica Valadez P., Hari Sama
  • Screenplay: Rodrigo Ordóñez, Hari Sama, Max Zunino
  • Cinematographers: Alfredo Altamirano
  • Editors: Rodrigo Ríos, Ximena Cuevas, Hari Sama
  • Music: Max Oldham, Hari Sama
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Malaga Film Festival 2019 (Special Jury Award, Best Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Critics Award)
  • Filmography: Awakening Dust (2013); The Dream of Lu (2011); Sin ton ni Sonia (2003)
  • Language: Spanish
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Latido Films