The selection of films for the Berlinale Special is complete. As part of the Berlinale’s official programme, this film series screens current works by contemporary filmmakers as well as outstanding films by personalities whom the Berlinale is honouring. Its main venue is the Filmpalast on Kurfürstendamm, a location with a long tradition of cinema culture. This year’s programme also features a very special premiere for the public at the Berlinale Palast.
Films by Roberto Benigni, Neten Chokling, Luis Llosa, Fredi M. Murer and Julien Temple highlight this year’s Berlinale Special. Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, film director Jürgen Böttcher (as a painter he is also known as Strawalde) and MoMa curator Laurence Kardish are among the winners of this year’s Berlinale Cameras, which are awarded to personalities who have contributed to filmmaking in a special way . The Berlinale Camera is sponsored and manufactured by the Düsseldorf jeweller Georg Hornemann.
The Berlinale Special is showing the following films for this occasion: in honour of cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, The Color of Money (directed by Martin Scorsese); and for Jürgen Böttcher, his documentary Die Mauer. Director Tacita Dean’s The Uncles documents a discussion with Laurence Kardish about film pioneers Basil Dean and Michael Balcon. The film will be screened after Laurence Kardish has been presented with his Berlinale Camera.
Within the scope of the Berlinale’s special focus on football, its history and worldwide impact, the Berlinale Special is presenting Gerardo Olivare’s La gran final (Spain/Germany) as well as Paul Crowder’s and John Dower’s Once in a Lifetime from the USA. A documentary by Anne Andreu, Humbert Balsan producteur rebelle, and Francis Girod’s Un ami parfait pay tribute to producer Humbert Balsan, who died last year.
Last but not least, in the short film My Dad Is 100 Years Old, Isabella Rossellini portrays her father, legendary director and co-founder of Italian neo-realism Roberto Rossellini.
La tigre e la neve (The Tiger and the Snow, Italy), the new film by Oscar-winner Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful), will be screened on the Berlinale Kinotag as a special premiere for the public in the Berlinale Palast. In this tragicomedy, Benigni plays a love-struck poet who follows the object of his desire, a journalist, to Iraq after she has been injured by a bomb. Also starring: Nicoletta Braschi and Jean Reno.
In the world premiere Milarepa (USA), Neten Chokling, who is not only a high Buddhist dignitary and head of a monastery in India, but also an actor and a stuntman, brings the legendary Tibetan saint Milarepa to the screen. A film about the early origins of the Buddhist religion, and the need for showing forgiveness and compassion.
Luis Llosa is presenting the world premiere of his film La fiesta del chivo (The Feast of the Goat, Spain/GB) based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa. Isabella Rossellini plays a lawyer who returns to her native country, the Dominican Republic, after 30 years. In flashbacks the film describes the events surrounding the assassination of dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujilloda, and the end of an era under one of Latin America’s bloodiest tyrants.
Swiss master director Fredi M. Murer (Höhenfeuer/Alpine Fire) worked twenty years on Vitus (In This World), the story of a boy who plays the piano brilliantly and reads the Brockhaus encyclopaedia in kindergarten. However, most of the time the little genius dreams of flying and having a normal childhood. The film features Fabrizio Borsani, Teo Gheorghiu and Bruno Ganz.
With Glastonbury (GB), well-known music film and video director Julien Temple (The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle) documents the history of the “English Woodstock”. Founded in 1971, England’s biggest rock festival has its roots in the hippy era and is still an annual venue for musicians from the areas of rock, folk and world music
Two world premieres screening in the Berlinale Special revolve around football:
Against the backdrop of the World Cup 2002, La gran final (Spain/Germany) by Gerardo Olivares shows the extremes people will go to for their passion for football. The film tells three parallel stories about fans who, come what may, want to see the final match between Brazil and Germany.
In their documentary Once in a Lifetime (USA), Paul Crowder and John Dower depict the fate of Cosmos New York, the famous football team for which Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer also played. By revealing the interconnectedness of sports, finance and show business, Once in a Lifetime also documents aspects of social and cultural history.
The Berlinale is commemorating producer Humbert Balsan with a screening of Balsan producteur rebelle (France), a documentary by Anne Andreu. Balsan, who made over 60 films in 25 years, died in 2005. The Berlinale Special is also showing the world premiere of The Perfect Friend (France), Balsan’s last film as producer. In it director Francis Girod tells of a journalist who suffers from a partial loss of memory. Carole Bouquet and Antoine de Caunes play the leading roles
With My Dad Is 100 Years Old, director Guy Maddin and Roberto Rossellini’s daughter Isabella pay tribute to the Italian director who died in 1977 and would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Isabella Rossellini, who is an internationally celebrated actress in her own right, wrote the script for the filmic homage. It will be shown at the Retrospective’s screening of Rosselini’s Viaggio in Italia (Journey to Italy).
January 27, 2006