Until Death Do Us Part - Jonas

Rabu, Februari 04, 2009

#75. 59th Berlin Film Festival beckons

04th February, 2009
The Star

Illuminated posters promoting the upcoming Berlin film festival in Berlin. The 59th International Film Festival Berlin begins tomorrow and runs until Feb 15 in the German capital.

Stars vie with hard times at the 59th Berlin Film Festival.

Star-studded premieres and gritty dramas on the ravages of capitalism and globalisation will dominate the line-up of the 59th Berlin Film Festival starting tomorrow, organisers said last week.

The Berlinale will open with The International, a thriller set in the cut-throat world of global finance starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts.

Festival director Dieter Kosslick called it a prescient choice.

“We selected the opening film months ago and in that time it has gone from being a movie to practically becoming a documentary (about the financial crisis),” he told a news conference.

The International was directed by Germany’s Tom Tykwer and will screen out of competition. German Critics are hoping the picture will mark a comeback after a string of disappointments following Tykwer’s breakout 1998 cult hit Run, Lola, Run.

Kosslick said Watts may not be able to attend the premiere because she recently gave birth, but expected stars including Owen, Kate Winslet, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Martin, Renee Zellweger, Michelle Pfeiffer, Aishwarya Rai, Demi Moore and Gael Garcia Bernal to grace the red carpet during the 11-day event.

The film industry regards the Berlinale as the second most important European festival after Cannes and it has won a reputation as the most political of the top cinema showcases.

Kosslick said a record 6,000 productions had been submitted to the festival for vetting, of which 386 films will screen.

A jury led by Oscar winner Tilda Swinton will choose among 18 contenders for the festival’s coveted Golden Bear for best film to be awarded on Feb 14.

Among the most keenly-awaited pictures in competition is the Franco-US production In The Electric Mist by Bertrand Tavernier, a racially charged murder mystery set in Louisiana and starring Jones.

Stephen Frears (The Queen) will present Cheri featuring Pfeiffer and Kathy Bates as ageing courtesans in an adaptation of a 1920 novel by French writer Colette.

Moore and Parker Posey play sisters who return home to care for their irascible father (Rip Torn) in Happy Tears by US director Mitchell Lichtenstein.

Rage, a black comedy about a New York fashion house by British director Sally Potter (Orlando), will gun for the Golden Bear with a powerhouse cast including Jude Law, Judi Dench, Dianne Wiest and Steve Buscemi.

Zellweger leads an ensemble including Kevin Bacon and Chris Noth in My One and Only, a comedy based on a childhood story of actor George Hamilton that traces the travels of a young mother in the 1950s shopping for a wealthy husband.

France’s François Ozon (Swimming Pool) will premiere Ricky about a mysterious newborn.

Asghar Farhadi of Iran will present About Elly telling the story of an Iranian who returns home after years living in Germany.

Winslet is to promote The Reader, an erotic drama appearing out of competition in which she plays a former Nazi concentration camp guard running from her past in postwar Germany. The role brought her one of two Golden Globe awards this month as well as an Academy Award nomination.

Martin will bring the second Pink Panther remake featuring the silver-haired comedian as the hapless Inspector Clouseau. Pink Panther II will also appear out of competition.

Kosslick cited two documentaries in a sidebar section of the festival, Chinese filmmaker Christina Yao’s Empire of Silver and Food, Inc., a stomach-churning expose on how food is made and sold in America, as other examples of films this year that took unflinching looks at market capitalism.

The festival will also hand out a number of special prizes including a Berlinale Camera to French master Claude Chabrol (Wedding in Blood), a Teddy award for achievement in gay cinema to Andy Warhol muse Joe Dallesandro and an Honorary Golden Bear for French composer Maurice Jarre for his legendary film scores (Doctor Zhivago).

And in honour of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Berlinale will showcase Cold War cinema that seemed to foreshadow the end of European communism in a series called After Winter Comes Spring. – AFP

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