Berlin battle lines

Lineup unveiled for Golden Bear competish

BERLIN — Berlin Intl. Film Fest topper Dieter Kosslick unveiled Wednesday the full lineup of 22 films competing for this year’s Golden Bear, adding five more pics to those already announced.

New selections include Michael Winterbottom’s “In This World,” about a young Afghan refugee, and Australian thriller “Alexandra’s Project,” by Rolf de Heer.

Other pics vying for top kudos include “Mang Jing” (Blind Shaft), a Chinese-German co-production from Li Yang that examines daily life in an opencast coal mine in Northern China; Isabel Coixet’s Spanish-Canadian drama “My Life Without Me,” an upbeat tearjerker about a young mother facing a fatal illness; and the international premiere of Pieter Kramer’s debut film, “Ja zuster, nee zuster” (Yes Nurse, No Nurse), from the Netherlands.

Eleven films will screen out of competition, including the world premiere of Sun Zhou’s “Zhou Yu de huoche” (Zhou Yu’s Train), a love story set in northern China.

Among the special screenings skedded for the official program are Thomas Vinterberg’s first English-lingo production, “It’s All About Love,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, Claire Danes and Sean Penn, and “Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself,” from Danish director Lone Scherfig, who won a Silver Bear in 2001 for “Italian for Beginners.”

“La petite prairie aux bouleaux” (“A Birch Tree Meadow”) from Marceline Loridan-Ivens, will world preem in Berlin. Loridan-Ivens, widow of documentary pioneer Joris Ivens, reconstructs the story of her deportation to Auschwitz in her feature debut. Pic stars French actress Anouk Aimee, who will be this year’s guest of honor at the Berlinale.

“Ararat,” from Canadian director Atom Egoyan, this year’s Berlinale jury president, examines the repercussions of the early 20th century genocide committed on Armenians.

German-Belorussian co-production “Babij Jar,” from American director Jeff Kanew, tells the story of two families attempting to survive the Holocaust in the Ukraine.

Michael Meredith’s U.S. production “Three Days of Rain” is inspired by Anton Chekhov’s short stories.

Aimee, this year’s lifetime achievement award recipient, and Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, the subject of the Berlinale’s retrospective, will be honored with gala screenings of the former’s “Lola” (1961) and the latter’s “Tokyo Monogatari” (Tokyo Story) from 1953.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Television Intl. prexy Michael Grindon will give the keynote address at a film industry seminar during the fest on Feb. 12.

Entitled “Hollywood Lectures — Spielfilm in Deutschland,” the presentation will offer insight into Sony’s international strategies in dealing with the rising costs of production, as well as an overview of the economically hard hit German market.

Other speakers include Robert Kulzer and Martin Moszkowicz of Constantin Film; media attorney Torsten Poeck; and Michael Wabnitz, director of corporate finance at KPMG.

Seminar, sponsored by German educational org the Erich Pommer Institute and Munich-based conference organizer Media Business Academy, will be held at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften.

Fest runs Feb. 6-16.


“Alexandra’s Project” Dir: Rolf De Heer (Australia)
“Adaptation” Dir: Spike Jonze (U.S.)
“Angst” Dir: Oskar Roehler (Germany)
“Blind Shaft” Dir: Li Yang (China)
“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” Dir: George Clooney (U.S.)
“The Flower of Evil” Dir: Claude Chabrol (France)
“Goodbye, Lenin!” Dir: Wolfgang Becker (Germany)
“Distant Lights” Dir: Hans-Christian Schmid (Germany)
“Hero” Dir: Zhang Yimou’s (China)
“The Hours” Dir: Stephen Daldry (U.S.)
“I’m Not Scared” Dir: Gabriele Salvatores (Italy)
“In This World” Dir: Michael Winterbottom (U.K.)
“The Life of David Gale” Dir: Alan Parker (U.S.-U.K.)
“Madame Brouette” Dir: Moussa Sene Absa (Senegal)
“My Life Without Me” Dir: Isabel Coixet (Spain-Canada)
“Petites Coupures” Dir: Pascal Bonitzer (France)
“Solaris” Dir: Steven Soderbergh (U.S.)
“Son Frere” Dir: Patrice Chereau (France)
“Spare Parts” Dir: Damjan Kozole (Slovenia)
“The 25th Hour” Dir: Spike Lee (U.S.)
“The Twilight Samurai” Dir: Yoji Yamada (Japan)
“Yes Nurse, No Nurse” Dir: Pieter Kramer (Netherlands)

Opening Film: “Chicago” Dir: Rob Marshall (U.S.)
Closing Film: “Gangs Of New York” Dir: Martin Scorsese (U.S.)
“Zhou Yu’s Train” Dir: Sun Zhou (China-U.S.)

“Ararat” Dir: Atom Egoyan (Canada)
“Babij Jar” Dir: Jeff Kanew (Germany-Belorussia)
“A Birch Tree Meadow” Dir: Marceline Loridan-Ivens (Netherlands)
“It’s All About Love” Dir: Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark)
“Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself” Dir: Lone Scherfig (Denmark)
“Three Days of Rain” Dir: Michael Meredith (U.S.)

“Lola” Dir: Jacques Demy (France-Italy)
“Tokyo Story” Dir: Yasujiro Ozu (Japan)

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