For the Berlinale’s 60th anniversary, the Retrospective is focusing on the history of the Festival. This filmic excursion into the past is a perfect occasion for us to celebrate with old friends and acquaintances, and to re-screen in Berlin the films with which they have fascinated festival audiences over the past decades.
Jeanne Moreau, who has maintained ties with the Festival for almost sixty years, received an Honorary Golden Bear for her lifetime achievements already at the 50th Berlinale. This icon and muse of the nouvelle vague and grande dame of French cinema celebrated a great success at the Berlinale with Marcello Mastroianni in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film La Notte (The Night), which won the Golden Bear in 1961.
British filmmaker Stephen Frears is a regular guest at the Berlinale. Three years before receiving the 1999 Silver Bear for Best Director of The Hi-Lo Country, he presented in 1996 his extraordinary version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Mary Reilly. Curator David Thomson is convinced that it is one of the films in this year’s programme that deserved more attention when it was first screened.
The Belgian production Le Depart by Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski won the Golden Bear in 1967 and was a true Festival highlight. In the following years, and before he decided to devote himself entirely to painting, Skolimowski made his films primarily in Great Britain, the USA and the Federal Republic of Germany. It was not until 2008, with Cztery noce z Anna (Four Nights with Anna), that he celebrated his well-received comeback as a film director.
Rainer Simon’s Die Frau und der Fremde (The Woman and the Stranger) was the first and only film from East Germany to win a Golden Bear (1985). This impressive DEFA screen adaptation of a text by Leonhard Frank could not be shown for many years due to copyright problems. It was released in cinemas again in 2008.
With productions from Switzerland and other European countries, actor Bruno Ganz has been invited to the Berlinale many times since 1978. His sensitive portrayal of Paul, who tries to break out of the rut he finds himself in, marks Alain Tanner’s subtle melancholy film Dans la ville blanche (In the White City), which screened at the Berlinale in 1983.
Jeanne Moreau, Stephen Frears, Jerzy Skolimowski and Rainer Simon will not only attend and present their films at these screenings, but will also speak about their work and long relationship with the Berlinale at the Deutsche Kinemathek’s traditional series of events in the Filmhaus at Potsdamer Platz. To kick off the series, curator David Thomson will talk about why he selected specific films. Two evenings in the series will also be dedicated to this year’s Honorary Golden Bear winners, actress Hanna Schygulla and screenwriter Wolfgang Kohlhaase.
In two special events, the Deutsche Kinemathek will provide a glimpse into the world of archiving. The sensational discovery of missing scenes from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis in Argentina and the resulting almost complete reconstruction of the film 83 years after its world premiere will be the topic of a panel discussion on February 13, 2010. And on February 15, the archive platform www.europafilmtreasures.eu will present some of its treasures with live music, followed by a discussion.
In the 1970s, while New German Cinema was creating a sensation around the world with directors like Fassbinder, Herzog and Kluge, there were “proportionately more female filmmakers” in the Federal Republic of Germany “than in any other film-producing country”, wrote film expert Thomas Elsaesser in 1985. And the Festival programme reflects this fact. And so in addition to David Thomson’s selection of full-length films, the Retrospective and Berlinale Shorts are presenting a selection of short films by women directors in two blocks: PLAY IT … SHORT! |1 & PLAY IT … SHORT! |2. They include works by Sieglinde Hamacher, Elfi Mikesch, Helke Sander, Monika Treut, and many others.
The complete programme of the Retrospective is available at www.berlinale.de and www.deutsche-kinemathek.de
February 1, 2010