It has been a bitter winter in Berlin but to warm the soul and inspire the imagination there is the prospect of the annual film festival. And there is plenty to choose from with seven different sections showing new independent, arthouse, experimental and documentary movies. The Golden Bear award is the top prize for the best film, silver bears are for acting, production and writing.
“We have a mixed competition. We have very young movie makers. We have a lot of films from east European countries or east European filmmakers. We have on the other side a lot of independent American films in the total programme but also in the competition. And we have big films, big films from Hollywood and Asia like the opening night film from Wong Kar-Wei or the world premiere of Soderbergh or the world premiere of ‘Journey to Lisbon.’,” explained the Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.
There is a tribute to Chinese martial arts in the film, “The Grandmaster” based on the memoirs of a famous martial artist, Yip Man, who was also the teacher of Bruce Lee. The movie will open the festival out of competition. Its director is Wong Kar-Wei who is also the president of the international jury.
The purpose of human deeds and the unrealised potential of each and every life is the underlying theme behind Danish director Bille August’s latest movie. In “Night Train to Lisbon” Jeremy Irons plays a Latin teacher from Berne who spontaneously jumps on a train and makes his way to the Portuguese city to learn more about the poet and writer Amadeu de Prado.
“We have a lot of films which are dealing with people who are trapped in a situation and they have no chance to go out. For example two French films are dealing with this; ‘Camille Claudel’ and also ‘La Religieuse.’ Both are trapped, one is in a mental hospital the other is in another kind of a mental hospital in a monastery and the people cannot go out because the systems are too strong,” Dieter Kosslick pointed out.
“Camille Claudel 1915” sees the portrayal of French artist Camille Claudel, the muse and mistress of Auguste Rodin. It is one of several French movies which have a strong presence at the festival. There will be 3 films in the running for the Golden bear.
“Side Effects” is about a woman who takes medication prescribed by her therapist which leads to blackouts. One day her husband is found in their apartment, brutally stabbed to death. With this psychological thriller Steven Soderbergh investigates the machinations of pharmaceutical companies
The Berlin Film festival runs from February 7 to 17.