After its successful world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last January, This Is Not Berlin / Esto no es Berlín, the fifth feature by writer-director Hari Sama, will have its New York premiere as part of the lineup of the inaugural Tribeca Critics' Week, taking place April 24 – May 5, 2019.
A compelling autobiographical coming-of-age tale, the film boasts a knock-out ensemble cast headed by Xabiani Ponce de León and José Antonio Toledano, along with the Academy Award® nominee and Roma star Marina de Tavira, named by Variety as one of its “10 Actors to Watch.” This Is Not Berlin has been hailed as a “a joyfully edgy dive in the Mexico City punk/New Wave underground of the mid-80s” (Dennis Harvey, Variety) and “an urgent and refreshing queer take on the coming-of-age genre… a potent love letter to a Mexico at a crossroads” (Manuel Betancourt, Out Magazine).
Set in Mexico in 1986, as the country gets ready for the World Cup, the film follows 17-year-old Carlos, an introverted kid who doesn't fit in: not in his family nor at school. Everything changes when he’s invited to the Aztec, a legendary Mexico City nightclub where he discovers the underground nightlife scene—post-punk, sexually fluid, and fueled by drugs. Carlos’s awakening will challenge his relationship with his best friend, Gera, the brother of his crush, Rita, while helping him discover his passion for experimental art and lead him into adulthood.
With impeccable art direction and a pulsing soundtrack, the film offers a revealing portrait of Mexico City in the eighties—an era of deep political, social, and cultural changes for the country that shaped today’s contemporary Mexico. Sama’s energetic bildungsroman introduces an accomplished Mexican filmmaker to an international audience, delivering artistry and maturity in a heartfelt story about youth and self-realization.