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‘Cold Mountain’ to open Berlin Film Fest

15 January 2004

BERLIN – “Cold Mountain”, Anthony Minghella’s epos about the American Civil War which is already being treated as a hot contender for the Oscar, will open the 54th Berlin Film Festival, organisers announced Thursday.

Alongside the director, leading actors Nicole Kidman and Jude Law are expected to stroll up the red carpet for the opening ceremony at the Festival Palast at Marlene Dietrich Platz when the festival opens 5 February for a run through 15 February.

“Cold Mountain” will not be up for awards. The romantic American comedy “Something’s Gotta Give” will also be screened out of competition in the official programme. With a twinkle in her eye, director Nancy Meyers stages the battle of the sexes in quite caustic dialogues. Her all-star cast includes Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves and Frances McDormand.

According to the preliminary line-up released Thursday, this year’s festival promises to be heavily weighted towards world premieres – unlike many previous festivals which tended to book Hollywood blockbusters which had already played stateside.

Among the 18 productions selected for the competition so far, 12 are world premieres. There is also a remarkable number of politically committed films: “In Country of my Skull” John Boorman explores the story of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission which aspires to help people deal with the crimes of apartheid.

Eric Rohmer will bring the political thriller “Triple Agent” to Berlin. Theo Angelopoulos will present “Trilogia: To livadi pou dakrisi” (Trilogy I: The Weeping Meadow), the first of three films conceived by him to tell the epic story of Greece.

In “Beautiful Country” Hans Petter Moland accompanies a young Vietnamese on his search for his American father.

And Ken Loach recounts in “A Fond Kiss” a love story set to the backdrop of cultural conflicts in contemporary Scotland.

The competition of the Berlinale 2004 will ultimately include a total of 26 films, 22 of them competing for the Golden and Silver Berlin Bears.

The festival’s director, Dieter Kosslick, now heading his third fest, is once again making good on his promise to re-assert Berlin as a showcase of German cinema. A total of 56 German productions will be screened in the different festival sections.

Swedish director Bjorn Runge will present the world premiere of his film “Om Jag Vander Mig Om” (Daybreak) in the competition. A single evening changes the lives of four friends. With an unusual sense for grotesque details, three episodes unfold about delusions, lies and other human weaknesses.

Three entries from France are all world premieres. Master director Patrice Leconte will present “Confidences Trop Intimes” (Intimate Strangers), a comedy about psychologists – and tax consultants.

With “Feux Rouges” (Red Lights) French director Cédric Kahn presents the film version of Georges Simenon’s 1953 novel of the same name. Kahn has set this tale of a married couple, however, in the midst of a crisis in present-day France.

Eric Rohmer will present a political thriller in the competition. “Triple Agent” is set to historical events in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.

The Italian production “Primo amore” by Matteo Garrone will also be a world premiere. It is the story of a man who is victim to his own instincts and forces his partner into a destructive relationship.

Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland will present “Beautiful Country” in the competition. The film describes the odyssey of a young Vietnamese who has set out to find his American father. It stars Damien Nguyen, Nick Nolte, Tim Roth and Bai Ling.

The international premiere of “Monster,” a U.S. production, will also be screening in the competition. Patty Jenkins’ directing debut is based on the true story of a prostitute, Aileen Wuornos, who was executed in 2002 for murdering seven men.

Independent director Richard Linklater will be showing “Before Sunset”, another world premiere.

Subject: German news