BERLIN — The Berlin Film Festival is honoring Arthur Penn in its annual homage and will present the American helmer with a lifetime achievement award at the upcoming event.
Penn, considered one of the precursors of New Hollywood, made cinematic history with movies such as 1967’s “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Night Moves” in 1975.
“Arthur Penn’s films of the 1960s and early 1970s reanimated the crisis-ridden American cinema,” said Berli-nale topper Dieter Kosslick. “He is a great director who deeply influenced the American cinema d’auteur.”
The Berlinale added: “Penn is a careful observer who takes a critical look at American society and operates beyond the usual studio conventions. He is considered one of the most innovative American filmmakers of his time.”
Among Penn’s early works are his first film, 1958’s “The Left-Handed Gun,” starring Paul Newman as Billy the Kid, and 1962’s “The Miracle Worker,” which won Oscars for stars Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke.
After “Bonnie and Clyde” propelled Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty to international stardom, Penn made the era defining “Alice’s Restaurant,” based on the song by Arlo Guthrie, who also starred in the film, followed in 1970 by Dustin Hoffman starrer “Little Big Man.”
In the mid 1970s, he made the classic neo-noir “Night Moves,” starring Gene Hackman, and managed to pair Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando for the first and only time in the western “The Missouri Breaks.”
“The fascination of Arthur Penn’s films is the way they find new expres-sions — in terms of subject matter and form — and often within genre constraints,” said Rainer Rother, artistic director of the Deutsche Kinemathek, which organizes the Berlinale Homage.
Penn will be awarded the Golden Bear for lifetime achievement in Berlin on Feb. 15. The Berlinale runs Feb. 8-18.