Berlin film festival rolls out competition movies
10 December 2007, Berlin (dpa) - The Berlin Film Festival rolled out on Monday the first of the movies competing for top honours at next year's fest with a raft of films from China, Brazil, Mexico, Britain, the United States, Poland and Germany. Included in the line-up of movies that have been selected in the main competition for what is one of the world's leading film festivals are new movies from Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai, US director Thomas Anderson and Oscar-winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda.
10 December 2007
Berlin (dpa) - The Berlin Film Festival rolled out on Monday the first of the movies competing for top honours at next year's fest with a raft of films from China, Brazil, Mexico, Britain, the United States, Poland and Germany.
Included in the line-up of movies that have been selected in the main competition for what is one of the world's leading film festivals are new movies from Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai, US director Thomas Anderson and Oscar-winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda.
Never shy of tackling highly-charged international political issues, Berlin film festival organizers have also selected for next year's competition US Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris' new movie on the scandal surrounding the Abu Ghraib prison complex near Baghdad.
Morris' S.O.P. Standard Operating Procedure, which is to make its world premiere at the February Berlin festival, also seeks to shed light on the machinations behind the so-called war on terror and comes in the wake of a string of films on the Iraq war.
The release of the Morris' new film follows his acclaimed documentary, The Fog of War, about former US Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara. Set in part against the dark days of the Vietnam War, The Fog of War won an Academy Award for best documentary in 2004.
Now in its 58th year, the Berlinale is one of the world's top three festivals along with Cannes and Venice.
More than 20 films are expected to eventually compete for Berlin's top award, the Golden Bear.
The final selection for the competition programme is expected to be completed by mid-January 2008 with five of the films so far announced world premieres.
The eight films which have been announced so far for next year's festival also include the world premiere of Lake Tahoe from Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke.
Starring Diego Catano, Hector Herrera, Daniela Valentine, Juan Carlos Lara and Yemil Sefani, Lake Tahoe revolves around a 16-year- old boy who has to cope with his father's sudden death.
Wang, Anderson and Wajda have all been awarded with major prizes for their work at previous Berlinales.
After winning a Silver Bear in 2001 for Beijing Bicycle, his portrayal of life in the new China, Wang returns to Berlin next year with the world premiere of Zuo You (In Love We Trust) about the mother of a child who has cancer and resorts to unusual measures to save her firstborn. It stars Liu Weiwei, Zhang Jiayu and Yu Nan.
A winner of the Golden Bear for his hit film Magnolia, Anderson's There Will Be Blood is to make it international premiere in Berlin in February.
The film is an adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel Oil and recounts the story of an unsuccessful silver miner, Daniel Plainview, who rises to become a US oil magnate in the early 20th century. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis.
Next year's line-up also includes the international premiere of Andrzej Wajda's Katyn, which delves into the massacre of thousands of Polish war prisoners by the Soviet secret service in 1940 which was one of the darkest moments in Poland's history.
Wajda, whose films have been selected on three previous occasions for the Berlinale's competition, received an honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement in 2006. Katyn stars Maja Ostaszewska, Artur Zmijewski and Andrzej Chyra.
Also to have to its world's premiere at the Berlinale will be Kirschblueten - Hanami (Cherry Blossoms- Hanami) from leading German director Doris Doerrie.
Kirschblueten - Hanami tells the story of Rudi (Elmar Wepper), who is incurably ill with cancer.
But when his fun-loving and esoteric wife (Hannelore Elsner) unexpectedly dies, the widower begins to see her life with new eyes and travels from Germany to Japan in search of her lost dreams.
"In Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize the impermanence of life; they are a reminder of how fragile and fleeting life is but also how beautiful," said Doerrie.
British-born Damian Harris' Gardens of the Night is to also make its world premiere in Berlin. His film describes the fate of two children who are abducted and held captive for over nine years.
The film stars Gillian Jacobs, Evan Ross, Tom Arnold and John Malkovich. Damian Harris is the son of leading Irish-born actor Richard Harris, who died five years ago.
Brazilian box office hit Tropa de Elite (The Elite Squad) from director Jose Padilha is also to make its international premiere at 2008 Berlinale.
Starring Wagner Moura, Caio Junqueira and Andre Ramiro, Tropa de Elite is a political thriller exploring the terrible influence of the drug mafia on the poorest parts of Brazil's population and the daily routines of a brutal and corrupt special unit of the Brazilian military police.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa last month, festival director Dieter Kosslick said he expects another increase in the number of movie fans attending the Berlinale.
Unusual for many major festivals, the Berlinale opens its doors to the public with Kosslick saying he expects ticket sales to top the 224,000 sold last year with an additional 5,000 to 10,000 likely to be sold.
A total of about 420,000 people visited the 10-day festival last year with a further increase in visitors in 2008 helping to push the fest closer to half million and as result towards the limits of its capacity.
Subject: German news