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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2009 Berlinale Main Competition Lineup


Today the fest announced that 26 films will participate in the Competition program of the 59th Berlin International Film Festival with 18 films in competition for the Golden and Silver Bears. Of the 18 films, 14 are world premieres. For the first time I include a brief synopsis for each film when available.

In Competition

Alle Anderen, Maren Ade, Germany
Chéri, Stephen Freas, UK (with Michelle Pfeiffer… hmm!)
A romantic drama set in 1920s Paris, where the son of a courtesan retreats into a fantasy world after being forced to end his relationship with the older woman who educated him in the ways of love.
Darbareye Elly (About Elly) Asghar Farhadi, Iran (Must be seen, he did Fireworks Wednesday)
Gigante, Adrian Biniez, Uruguay, Germany and Argentina
Happy Tears, Mitchell Lichtenstein, USA (I love Parker Posey…)
Two sisters, Jayne (Parker Posey) and Laura (Demi Moore), return home to deal with their ailing father Joe (Rip Torn), only to face some surprising situations.
In the Electric Mist, Bertrand Tavernier, France and USA (Tavernier in English!?)
A detective in the deep South is led into a series of surreal encounters with a troop of Confederate soldiers. (Starring Tommy Lee Jones… hmm!)
Katalin Varga, Peter Strickland, Romania, UK and Hungary
La Teta Asustada (The Milk of Sorrow), Claudia Llosa, Spain and Peru (I just loved Madeinusa, Must Be Seen!)
Lille Sodat (Little Soldier), Anette K. Olesen, Denmark
Lotte is a soldier recently back from war. She drinks, and her apartment is a mess. When her father comes to see her he offers her a job. He turns out to make his living by offering the services of African prostitutes to those who want to buy. Lotte starts driving his girlfriend and main attraction Lily around town for house calls. Lotte determines that Lily needs her help (Interesting story!)
London River, Rachid Bouchareb, Algeria, France, UK
Mammoth, Lukas Moodysson, Sweden, Germany and Denmark (A new Moodysson movie, must be seen! Starring Michelle Williams…)
Mei Lanfang (Forever Enthralled), Chen Kaige, China
A biographical account of Mei Lanfang, China's greatest opera star. (Starring Ziyi Zhang. Must be seen.)
The Messenger, Oren Moverman, USA (perhaps…)
My One and Only, Richard Loncraine, USA
Rage, Sally Potter, UK and USA (starring Judi Dench! And she’s the fantastic Orlando director)
Ricky, François Ozon, France and Italy (A new Ozon movie, must be seen!)
Sturm (Storm), Hans-Christian Schmid, Germany and Demark (starring Anamaria Marinca!)
Tatarak (Sweet Rush), Andrzej Wajda, Poland

Out of Competition

Deutschland 09, Compilation film by Fatih Akin, Tom Tykwer, Wolfgang Becker, Sylke Enders, Dominik Graf, Romuald Karmakar, Nicolette Krebitz, Isabelle Stever, Hans Steinbichler, Hans Weingartner, Christoph Hochhäusler, Dani Levy and Angela Schanelec (Must be seen)
I Skoni Tou Chronou (The Dust of Time), Theo Angelopoulos, Greece, Germany, Italy and Russia (Angelopoulos new movie, must be seen; also starring Alexandra Maria Lara and Irene Jacob!)
Eden à l'ouest (Eden is West), Costa-Gravas, France, Grece and Italy (A new Costa-Gravas film! Must be seen)
Notorious, George Tillman Jr., USA
Pink Panther II, Harald Zwart, USA (Must be seen, Aish is here!)
The International, Tom Tykwer, USA
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Rebecca Miller, USA
At fifty, Pippa Lee positively glows with female serenity, the devoted wife of a brilliant publisher thirty years her senior, proud mother of successful twins and a lovely and adored friend and neighbor. But, when her husband spontaneously decides that they should leave New York for a retirement home as a "pre-emptive strike against decrepitude," and has an affair with someone even younger than she is, Pippa finds her beatific persona unraveling in alarming ways. The truth is, the gracious woman of the present day has seen more than her fair share of the wild side. She has finally found love and security in a family of her own. And now, that cozy world, too, is in danger. (this movie is lesbian interest as Julianne Moore plays Kat that supposedly is lesbian; but only with the amazing cast the movie has it is a must be seen)
The Reader, Stephen Daldry, USA and Germany

Wow! this year Berlinale is starting to look very interesting! Almost every movie is a must be seen for me, that means that I can look forward to eventually be able to watch great films. To read the official press releases go here, here and here. The official program is available only in German, but as soon as they publish in English I will post the link; but the complete program is available in the site here where you can browse the films in each section and read basic information about each film.

As there are many interesting films I will do one post for each section. I find that there are many USA films in this year fest, that's quite unusual... but at least means that films could be more accessible in this side of the world!

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