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Monday, January 28, 2013

63rd Berlin International Film Festival - Official Program Lineup


In this morning press conference the festival full program was announced and was going to do one post for all sections, but this year each section will have their own post. We start with the Official Program that this year has 24 films.

Films in main competition include 19 movies with a few well-known directors and some of the most extraordinary actresses: Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, Catherine Deneuve and Nina Hoss. Obviously those films have instantly become must be seen for me.

Also as expected the last installment in the Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy, Paradise: Hope, will premier in competition; but perhaps the film that many of us have been anxiously waiting for -since more than a year- is what makes this fest edition most interesting. I'm talking about the film by this year festival Jury President, master extraordinaire Wong Kar Wai, The Grandmaster starring none other than his regular most admired by me, Tony Leung.

Remarkably after reading about each of the following films became absolutely impressed by the quality of some of them as some of the few images available are really breathtaking.

Official Program

In Competition

Camille Claudel 1915, Bruno Dumont, France (photo)
Долгая счастливая жизнь Dolgaya schastlivaya zhizn (A Long and Happy Life), Boris Khlebnikov, Russia (photo)
Elle s'en va (On my Way), Emmanuelle Bercot, France
Epizoda u životu berača željeza (An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker), Danis Tanović, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France and Slovenia
Gloria, Sebastián Lelio, Chile and Spain
Gold, Thomas Arslan, Germany
Layla Fourie, Pia Marais, Germany, South Africa, France and Netherlands
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, Fredrik Bond, USA
누구의 딸도 아닌 해원 Nugu-ui Ttal-do Anin Haewon (Nobody's Daughter Haewon), Hong Sangsoo, South Korea
Paradies: Hoffnung (Paradise: Hope), Ulrich Seidl, Austria, France and Germany
Pardé (Closed Curtain), Jafar Panahi and Kamboziya Partovi, Iran
Poziţia Copilului (Child's Pose), Călin Peter Netzer, Romania
Prince Avalanche, David Gordon Green, USA
Promised Land, Gus Van Sant, USA
La Religieuse (The Nun), Guillaume Nicloux, France, Germany and Belgium
Side Effects, Steven Soderbergh, USA
Уроки гармонии Uroki Garmonii (Harmony Lessons), Emir Baigazin, Kazakhstan and Germany
Vic+Flo ont vu un ours (Vic+Flo Saw a Bear), Denis Côté, Canada
W imię… (In the Name of), Małgośka Szumowska, Poland

Out of Competition
Opening Film: Yi dai zong shi (The Grandmaster), Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong and China
Before Midnight, Richard Linklater, USA and Greece
The Croods, Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders, USA (Animation)
Dark Blood, George Sluizer, Netherlands
Night Train to Lisbon, Bille August, Germany, Switzerland and Portugal

International Jury
President: Wong Kar Wai, director, China
Susanne Bier, director, Denmark
Athina Rachel Tsangari, director and producer, Greece
Adreas Dresen, director, Germany
Ellen Kuras, director and cinematographer, USA
Shirin Neshat, artist and director, Iran and USA
Tim Robbins, actor, USA

Again I'm impressed with the quality of the international jury, especially for the first three. Besides the actresses already mentioned, there are many more international and American actors/actresses that definitively call my attention. Perhaps I'm a bit award season burnt but find that many of this year films are especially worth watching, hope I'm right.

Among the films out of competition and besides the festival opening film the most intriguing movie absolutely is George Sluizer's Dark Blood as has a great cast but the leading actor is none other than River Phoenix. Yes, is Joaquin Phoenix brother, a great young actor that passed away in 1993. As took so many years for film to be released, here is a brief film story.

"When Dark Blood’s leading actor River Phoenix died suddenly ten days before the end of the shoot in 1993, the film’s insurance company became the owner of the unfinished material. Years later, director George Sluizer managed to save his footage from being destroyed. In January 2012 he decided to finish the film by reading aloud off-screen the missing scenes from the screenplay. The resulting work is an existentialist latter-day Western which derives much of its evocative power from the presence of its leading man, who was himself teetering on the brink of death."

Can't help to comment that from the American films there is one that is the remake of an Icelandic comedy, Á annan veg (Either Way) by Hafsteinn Gunnar; what pop-up is one of the stars, Paul Rudd, that usually does the kind of comedy I really dislike. Festival praises movie to have "visual poetry" of early David Gordon Green movies so perhaps movie can be different to regular Paul Rudd's fare. But have to admit that I highly enjoy Emile Hirch performances, so probably will end up watching film for sure. The name of the movie: Prince Avalanche.

I'm looking forward to see many of these films hopefully in the very near future.

Cheers!!!

Watch some trailers, all synopsis/images @MOC

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