The selection for the Competition of the 57th Berlin International Film Festival is nearly complete. “We have succeeded”, summarizes festival director Dieter Kosslick, “in getting films by important directors of international cinema to come to Berlin. We are equally delighted by the work of young filmmakers, whose stories and ways of telling them we think is important to present to a big audience.”
In addition to the seven Competition films announced earlier (see press releases from January 4 and 10), another eight films have been selected.
The German-Austrian co-production Die Fälscher (The Counterfeiter) by Stefan Ruzowitzky (Anatomy) narrates the biggest counterfeiting operation ever pulled off. Towards the end of World War II, the National Socialists forged millions of British pounds in order to weaken the enemy’s economy. A counterfeiting plant was set up with prisoners in the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. Karl Markovics, August Diehl, Devid Striesow and Marie Bäumer play the leading roles in the film. (World premiere)
French directors Jacques Rivette and André Téchiné have also joined the Competition line-up with their latest works. With Ne touchez pas la hache (Don’t Touch the Axe), Jacques Rivette has made another screen adaptation of a Balzac novella. Guillaume Depardieu, Jeanne Balibar and Michell Piccoli co-star in this dramatic love story about a beautiful duchess who wards off the advances of a very passionate military officer. (World premiere)
In Les Témoins (The Witnesses), André Téchiné returns to the early 1980s. Set against a dramatic relationship, he describes the emergence of Aids and how people dealt with the deadly virus. The cast includes Emmanuelle Béart, Michel Blanc, Sami Bouajila and Julie Depardieu. (World premiere)
Based on real events, director Gregory Nava’s US-production Bordertown examines a series of murders of Mexican women workers in the border town of Ciudad Juárez in the early 1990s. Jennifer Lopez (Selena) plays an ambitious US journalist who in searching for the truth puts her own life in danger. Other leading roles are played by Antonio Banderas, Maya Zapata and Martin Sheen. (World premiere)
Another film from the USA – Letters from Iwo Jima – will be running out of competition. After Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood will present the second movie in his two-part project about the legendary battle on the Japanese Pacific island in February 1945. While Flags of Our Fathers recounts events as experienced by GIs, Letters from Iwo Jima tells the same story from the Japanese point of view. The cast features Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya and Tsuyoshi Ihara. (European premiere)
The Walker (USA/GB), Berlinale Jury President Paul Schrader’s latest film, will also be screened out of competition. Woody Harrelson plays Carter, the escort of elegant but lonely society ladies in Washington D.C. When his best friend (Kristin Scott Thomas) suddenly gets involved in a murder, Carter finds himself implicated in a web of intrigue and crime. Other roles are played by Lauren Bacall, Lily Tomlin, Moritz Bleibtreu and Willem Dafoe. (World premiere)
In the Italian production In Memoria di me (In Memory of Myself) by Saverio Costanzo (Private), the main character is a young man who has decided to renounce worldly life. He enters a monastery but is overcome by agonizing doubts before his ordination. Christo Jivkov plays the novice; his co-stars are Filippo Timi and André Hennicke, among others. (World premiere)
The Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic will be represented in the Competition by Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále (I Served the King of England). Once more, Czech master director Jirí Menzel (Larks on a String, Golden Bear 1990) has adapted a novel by Bohumil Hrabal to the screen. Two decades of European history are retold from the viewpoint of a waiter from Prague. Alongside German shooting-star Julia Jentsch, winner of the Silver Bear for her role in Sophie Scholl (2005), the cast includes Ivan Barnev and Oldrich Kaiser. (International premiere)
The selection for the Competition of the 57th Berlin International Film Festival will be completed soon. There will be a total of 26 films – including those running out of competition – in the Competition programme.
January 15, 2007