• Germany's news in English

Roll out the red carpet: Berlinale begins tonight

AFP/The Local · 5 Feb 2015, 13:39

Published: 05 Feb 2015 13:39 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Set in the forbidding reaches of Greenland's frozen tundra, the film is based on the true story of Josephine Peary, the headstrong wife of Robert Peary, an American adventurer who led several drives to reach the North Pole.

The French actress plays Josephine, who embarks on a dangerous trek in 1908 to find Robert (Gabriel Byrne) with the help of young Inuit woman Allaka, who she learns is her husband's mistress.

Japan's Rinko Kikuchi, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in the 2006 drama "Babel", plays Allaka.

The picture was partly shot in a remote region of western Norway which previously stood in for the ice planet Hoth in "The Empire Strikes Back". Film stills show the two women swaddled in animal skins against the bone-piercing cold.

"Nobody Wants the Night" is one of 19 films vying for the festival's Golden Bear top prize, to be awarded at a gala ceremony on February 14 by jury president Darren Aronofsky, the US director of "Black Swan".

SEE ALSO: The complete main line up to the 65th Berlinale

It will be the seventh film Coixet has presented at the Berlinale, as the event is known, following features including "My Life Without Me" in 2003 and "Elegy", the 2008 adaptation of a Philip Roth novel starring Penelope Cruz and Ben Kingsley.

Coixet is only the second woman to hold the festival's coveted opening-night spot and one of three female directors in competition at the Berlinale, Europe's first major film festival of the year.

Aronofsky hailed the arthouse flavour of the Berlin cinema showcase, saying at a press conference that the "benefit of festivals is that they bring attention to films that have a hard time creating space in this world".

Women-driven pictures

Among the other contenders at the 11-day event are German director Werner Herzog, who will unveil "Queen of the Desert" starring Nicole Kidman as British archaeologist and spy Gertrude Bell, opposite "Twilight" heartthrob Robert Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence.

Reclusive US filmmaker Terrence Malick will premiere the keenly-awaited "Knight of Cups" starring Christian Bale as a Hollywood screenwriter in a love triangle with two women (Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman).

"Taxi", the third picture by dissident Iranian director Jafar Panahi since he was slapped with an official filmmaking ban in 2010, will also have its first screening in the German capital.

Panahi, who has also been barred from travelling abroad, will not be able to attend the premiere, his Paris-based sales company Celluloid Dreams told AFP.

US television director Andrew Haigh will join the race with the surreal drama "45 Years" starring Charlotte Rampling as a woman who sees her time-tested marriage start to unravel.

In a strong year for women-driven pictures, Lea Seydoux, the latest Bond girl in the British spy movie franchise, stars in French veteran Benoit Jacquot's adaptation of the groundbreaking 1900 novel "Diary of a Chambermaid".

Latin American cinema will be out in force with Chile submitting "The Club" by Pablo Larrain and the documentary "The Pearl Button" by Patricio Guzman.

Peter Greenaway will be showing his Mexican co-production "Eisenstein in Guanajuato", and Guatamala will send its first competition entry, "Ixcanul Volcano" by Jayro Bustamante.

Last year saw Asian movies sweep most of the main awards including best picture and best actor for Diao Yinan's cop thriller "Black Coal, Thin Ice".

Story continues below…

This time Jiang Wen will fly the flag for China with his latest, the 1920s gangster comedy "Gone with the Bullets", while Japan's Sabu will present his other-worldly love story "Chasuke's Journey".

And Vietnamese festival favourite Phan Dang Di will premiere "Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories".

Journalist Anke Westphal, who has covered the festival for more than two decades, said she thought organisers had struck the right balance between the Berlinale's trademark hard-hitting political fare and top-notch releases by cinema heavyweights.

"The competition programme looks really promising," she told AFP.

"The Berlinale tried in the past to boost its profile by discovering young, lesser-known directors - now it's back with major auteurs."

SEE ALSO: Top picks for celebrity spotting at Berlinale

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

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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