Edith Piaf tribute launches Berlinale

9th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 February 2007, Berlin (dpa) - The world premiere of a film about the often troubled life of legendary French singer Edith Piaf launched the 57th Berlin Film Festival. The start of the 10-day long movie marathon beginning Thursday was accompanied by a gala opening attended by some of the most prominent names in the European movie business as well leading cultural officials. Directed by French-born Olivier Dahan, La Vie en Rose tells the story of Piaf who was brought up by her grandmother - a brothel-owner

9 February 2007

Berlin (dpa) - The world premiere of a film about the often troubled life of legendary French singer Edith Piaf launched the 57th Berlin Film Festival.

The start of the 10-day long movie marathon beginning Thursday was accompanied by a gala opening attended by some of the most prominent names in the European movie business as well leading cultural officials.

Directed by French-born Olivier Dahan, La Vie en Rose tells the story of Piaf who was brought up by her grandmother - a brothel-owner - and became one of the world's most celebrated entertainers.

Featuring Marion Cotillard, who is one of the rising stars of French cinema, La Vie en Rose is one of 26 films to be screened in the Berlinale's main competition and which are competing for the festival's prestigious Golden Bear award.

The Berlinale's prizes are to be handed out at a lavish Hollywood- style ceremony at the end of the festival on February 18.

Altogether about 400 films are to be shown across the Berlinale's key sections with a long list of stars making their way to Berlin for the festival, including US actors Robert de Niro, Matt Damon, Britain's Ben Kingsley and Spanish-born Antonio Banderas.

It could be rather crowded on the Berlin Film Festival's red carpet this year with some of the world's top stars lining up.

As the venue for one of the world's top three film festivals, Berlin should brace itself for real "star power in the city" with this year's festival to screen about 100 world premieres, Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick said.

Coming as Berlin's cold grey winter months grind on, the festival's annual glamour offensive helps to give the German capital a touch of glitz.

Other stars expected in Berlin in the coming days are Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone and Dame Judi Dench as well as US actor Timothy Hutton and legendary US actor and filmmaker Clint Eastwood, who is to present the second part of his look at the World War II battle for the island of Iwo Jima.

Eastwood's film concerns the US military push to wrestle control of Iwo Jima from Japan but tells the story from the Japanese perspective.

The cast in the European premiere of Letters from Iwo Jima features Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya and Tsuyoshi Ihara.

In a sense, the Eastwood film also reflects a major theme running through movies to be screened at this year's festival, which is to portray major historical events as seen through personal stories.

These also include the world premiere of Beaufort from Israeli director Joseph Cedar, which is about the last military unit to be stationed in southern Lebanon prior to the troops being withdrawn from the country.

But then the Berlin film festival has always prided itself on showcasing movies that seek to explore life's hard edge or that do not shy away from confronting political issues head on.

This year's Berlin Film Festival is also seeking to boost the presence of short films in the Berlinale by creating a new section - Short Film Competition.

While the Berlinale has in recent years sought to promote movies from Europe, it will once again include in its main competition this year a large contingent of films from South America, the US and Asia.

Among the line-up of films from Asia will be two movies from Korea, which some industry analysts see as a new emerging Asian cinema powerhouse.

This includes I Am A Cyborg But That's Ok by the celebrated director Park Chan-wook and which stars Korean pop sensation Rain. Park first competed in the Berlinale six years ago with the critically acclaimed political thriller Joint Security Area.

The Berlinale will also be screening the world premiere of Hyazgar (Desert Dream), a Korean-French co-production directed by Zhang Lu.

Set in a small village on the border between China and Mongolia, Hyazgar tells the story of a farmer and a woman who has fled from North Korea. The movie stars Bat-ulzii and Seo Jung.

Presiding over the seven-member jury this year will be American film director Paul Schrader.

The 60-year Schrader, who directed American Gigolo and wrote the screenplay for Taxi Driver, is to be joined on the jury by the Palestinian actor and director Hiam Abbass, German actor Mario Adorf and leading Mexican-born actor Gael Garcia Bernal.

The jury also includes one of the US's most prominent actors, Willem Dafoe, as well as leading Hong Kong film producer Nansun Shi and Danish film editor Molly Malene Stensgaard.

DPA

Subject: German news

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