• Germany's news in English

The 60th anniversary Berlinale at a glance

AFP · 11 Feb 2010, 12:27

Published: 11 Feb 2010 12:27 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Hollywood stars will rub shoulders with Asian legends in the snowy German capital for the anniversary edition of the 11-day Berlinale, which will kick off Thursday with "Apart Together" by Wang Quan'an of China.

German director Werner Herzog ("Grizzly Man") will lead a seven-member jury including Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger, which will choose among 20 nominees for the coveted Golden and Silver Bear top prizes on February 20.

"Apart Together" is a period drama about a soldier forced to flee Mao's forces for Taiwan in 1949 who reunites decades later with the love of his life.

Japanese master Yoji Yamada, the maker of more than 80 films in his four-decade-long career, will bring down the curtain on the event with an out-of-competition screening of his latest picture, "About Her Brother."

"Nearly half the main showcase films are family films, although most of those families are fairly dysfunctional," Berlinale chief Dieter Kosslick recently quipped.

Chinese veteran Zhang Yimou ("Hero") will present "A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop," while Koji Wakamatsu of Japan will unveil "Caterpillar." And Bollywood heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan is due in town with "My Name is Khan."

The 67-year-old Scorsese's thriller "Shutter Island" starring Leonardo DiCaprio will have its world premiere in Berlin but screen out of competition.

Meanwhile all eyes will be on Polanski's "The Ghost Writer," which he completed while under house arrest at his Swiss chalet awaiting possible extradition on US charges dating from the 1970s over his admission of having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The movie is based on the bestseller "The Ghost" and sees Ewan McGregor discovering skeletons in the closet of a former British prime minister modelled on Tony Blair (Pierce Brosnan).

While the French-Polish director, 76, will be absent, his stars are expected at the gala premiere in the 1,600-seat Berlinale Palast theatre.

German director Oskar Roehler has generated pre-festival buzz for "Jew Suss" about the making of the notorious Nazi-era anti-Semitic film of the same name.

"In it, you can see the kind of moral conflicts in which artists, in this case actors, can find themselves," Kosslick said.

Provocative British director Michael Winterbottom, a favourite on the festival circuit, will screen "The Killer Inside Me" with Jessica Alba, Casey Affleck and Kate Hudson in the story of a Texas sheriff's dark secret.

Story continues below…

And reclusive British graffiti artist Banksy, who has kept his identity a mystery, is due to make a low-profile visit for a documentary about his work, "Exit Through the Gift Shop."

Also keenly awaited is a screening for the masses at the Brandenburg Gate of a restored version of the 1927 groundbreaking German classic "Metropolis" - complete with lost footage unearthed in Argentina two years ago.

The Berlinale, which ranks second only to Cannes among European film festivals, has a history of opening doors for smaller pictures.

Last year's laureate, "The Milk of Sorrow" by Peru's Claudia Llosa, is now nominated for the best foreign-language film Oscar and has had a respectable run in international art-house theatres.

"You have to compliment the Berlinale for discovering at an early stage what is cutting-edge in cinema and for having a sense what will move audiences," Jan Schulz-Ojala, chief critic of Berlin's daily Der Tagesspiegel, told AFP.

But he was concerned that in an anniversary year, the biggest names were directors in their twilight years such as Scorsese, Polanski and Yamada.

"It worries me to see that because I think it may then be harder to draw the best mid-career directors, who may just go to Cannes in the future," he said.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd