• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Hollywood comes to town as Berlinale rolls out red carpet
Preparations outside the Berlin Palast. Photo: DPA

Hollywood comes to town as Berlinale rolls out red carpet

AFP · 11 Feb 2016, 08:42

Published: 11 Feb 2016 08:42 GMT+01:00

The 11-day Berlinale, one of the top three cinema showcases in Europe along with Cannes and Venice, will start with a gala screening of "Hail, Caesar!",

Joel and Ethan Coens' tribute to Tinseltown's 1950s golden age.

Clooney, who plays a dimwit actor in what the brothers have called the third in their "Numbskull Trilogy" with the heartthrob, is expected on the red carpet with his wife Amal and co-stars Channing Tatum and Tilda Swinton.

"Hail, Caesar!" which opened in the United States last week to rave reviews but modest box office returns, is screening out of competition at the festival.

Streep is serving as this year's jury president, judging 18 contenders from around the world.

The three-time Oscar winner and her team including British actor Clive Owen will on February 20 hand out the Golden Bear top prize, which last year went to Iranian dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi for "Taxi", which he made in secret.

Among the world premieres generating buzz ahead of the start was a new adaptation of the international bestseller "Alone in Berlin", Hans Fallada's 1947 novel based on a true story.

The Nazi-era thriller sees Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson play a German couple who risk their lives to mount a resistance campaign against Hitler after losing their only son in the war.

The Berlinale Jury, headed by Meryl Streep Photo: DPA

Back to the roots

As Europe endures the largest refugee influx since World War II, with 1.1 million asylum seekers arriving in Germany last year, the theme of migration will be front and centre at the event.

Italian documentary director Gianfranco Rosi, who picked up top honours in Venice three years ago, will enter the competition with "Fire at Sea" about Lampedusa, a Mediterranean island on the front line of the crisis.

It will join another dozen films in the festival's sprawling sidebar sections looking at the impact of mass displacement in a globalised world.

"Refugees have always played a role at the Berlinale, since 1951," when the event was launched in the Cold War outpost of West Berlin just six years after World War II, festival director Dieter Kosslick told AFP.

"Back then many Germans were refugees and the festival was founded to foster understanding in German society and among nations."

In addition, hundreds of movie tickets have been set aside for asylum seekers at the festival, which will also launch donation drives at gala events to benefit refugee charities.

Biopics bonanza, movie marathons

Big crowds are also expected for "Genius", the feature debut by British theatre director Michael Grandage starring Colin Firth as literary editor Max Perkins, who published some of the 20th century's greatest American writers.

Jude Law plays Thomas Wolfe, Nicole Kidman his lover and muse Aline Bernstein, with Dominic West portraying Ernest Hemingway and Guy Pearce as F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Biopics will enjoy top billing, with Germany's first feature production on teenage diarist Anne Frank, who died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, due to premiere.

Story continues below…

US actor Don Cheadle will be in town to show his directorial debut, "Miles Ahead", in which he plays the jazz great Miles Davis.

And "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon will unveil her portrayal of iconic American poet Emily Dickinson.

Kosslick, 67, said a further trend was marathon movies, testing the boundaries of storytelling in a world in which viewers had lengthened their attention spans by binge-watching ambitious new television series.

"There are feature films that really take their time to tell a complete story," he said.

One extreme outlier is a more than eight-hour-long Filipino historical opus, "A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery" by Lav Diaz, which will be shown with just one hour-long break.

However "Lullaby" isn't even the longest feature that will test the stamina of cinema-goers.

"Chamisso's Shadow", based on the life of German 19th century scientific explorer Adelbert von Chamisso, weighing in at more than 12 hours, will be screened in a single sitting, with two intermissions.

 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Stockpile food in case of attack, Germany tells citizens
Photo: DPA

Germany on Wednesday urged its population to stockpile food and water in case of terrorist or cyber attacks, as it adopted its first civil defence strategy since the end of the Cold War.

Ten injured after freight train crashes into bus in Osnabrück
The crash site in Osnabrück. Photo: DPA

A freight train crashed into a bus in Osnabrück on Wednesday morning, leaving several people badly injured, local media report.

Man wins ten-year court battle over €2.50 surcharge
Photo: DPA

An Austrian man has won a ten year court battle over an extra €2.50 he was asked to pay to get into a swimming pool in Bavaria a decade ago.

In Pictures
Düsseldorf swoons as Prince William comes for royal visit
'Well hello Mr. Prince'. Photo: DPA.

Prince William paid a visit to the Rhineland city of Düsseldorf on Wednesday to celebrate the state of North Rhine-Westphalia's 70th birthday. Here's a look at his royal stay.

Brexit
Frankfurt attempts to charm banks away from London
Frankfurt am Main. Photo: DPA

Germany's finance capital has spotted an opportunity with the Brexit-wary banking beasts of the Square Mile.

How did this bike end up on top of Berlin’s Molecule Man?
A professional climber 'rescuing' the bike hanging from the Molecule Man. Photo: DPA.

Berliners are still scratching their heads over how a bicycle ended up dangling from the capital’s iconic statue.

Travellers stuck after dozy train driver forgets Freiburg
Photo: DPA

It's one thing to miss a train - it's another when the train misses you.

Berlin airport employee admits taking €150,000 bribe
Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Photo: DPA

The German capital's long-delayed international airport has been haunted by claims of corruption and incompetency.

Teachers' union: school burqa bans only isolate girls more
Women wearing niqabs. Photo: DPA.

A German trade union for teachers has warned of the consequences of banning certain religious attire in schools after a teen this week was told she could not wear a face veil to school.

Bundesliga
Bayern ban big bags and bottles for Bundesliga opener
Photo: DPA

Bayern Munich have tightened security measures at their stadium, banning spectators from carrying big bags and bottles, ahead of Friday's home match - the first of the new German league season.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,582
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd