Cold War theme chosen for Berlinale

Cold War theme chosen for Berlinale
Photo: DPA
The next Berlin Film Festival will showcase Eastern European and German cinema from the Cold War that seemed to foreshadow the end of European communism, organisers said late on Tuesday.

The Berlinale’s sidebar series “After Winter Comes Spring” comes in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 2009.

It will include feature movies and documentaries from the 1980s as well as animated, short and experimental films by well-known directors and fringe film-makers.

“These films made during the last decade of the Cold War convey a sense of the radical changes to come,” organisers of the festival to be held in February said in a statement.

“The works formulate the hope of a political or economic opening and, above all, artistic freedom. They pushed boundaries in both form and content, while boldly articulating the need for reform.”

Highlights include Krzysztof Kieslowski’s chilling take on the Fifth Commandment, “A Short Film About Killing” from 1987; Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer’s 1982 classic “Dimensions of Dialogue”; and the award-winning 1988 documentary by Germany’s Helke Misselwitz which gives the series its name.

The Berlin Film Festival, now in its 59th year, was long a platform for Eastern European film-makers seeking free expression during the Cold War.

Many of the directors featured in the series have been invited to the reunited German capital to introduce their films, all of which have been reissued in new prints for the festival, and hold discussions with audiences.

The Berlinale, running February 5 to 15, ranks below Cannes and alongside Venice among the world’s top film festivals.

It will open with the premiere of “The International”, a spy thriller starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts and directed by German film-maker Tom Tykwer, who made cult film “Run, Lola, Run.”