Terrence Malick’s anticipated “Knight of Cups” and Andrew Haigh’s “45 Years,” with Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, will compete in competition at next February’s 65th Berlin Intl. Film Festival.
Starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett – who looks set for a busy Berlin – and Natalie Portman, and sold by Glen Basner’s FilmNation, “Knight of Cups,” described as a story of celebrity and excess, will world premiere at Berlin, where Malick won a Golden Bear in 1999 for “The Thin Red Line,” which was also nominated for seven Academy Awards. Sarah Green and Nicolas Gonda produce.
Kenneth Branagh’s “Cinderella,” also starring Blanchett – plus a large cast of Lily James, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgard, Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, Derek Jacobi and Helena Bonham Carter – will play out of competition, seeing its international premiere. Disney’s live-action version of the tale sees “Game of Thrones’” Madden playing Prince Charming opposite James, as Cinderella.
From up-and-coming British helmer Haigh, who directed HBO’s “Looking” and SXSW Emerging Visions winner “Weekend,” “45 Years,” which is produced by London’s The Bureau and sold by The Match Factory, turns on a woman planning her 45th wedding anniversary. Then a letter arrives announcing that the body of her husband’s first love has been found frozen and preserved in a glacier in the Alps.
The first six Berlin Golden Bear contenders also feature Germany’s Andreas Dresen – who won a Berlin Jury Grand Prix for “Grill Point” – with his new film, “As We Were Dreaming. Produced by Peter Rommel’s Rommel Film, in a long-term partnership between Dresen and Peter Rommel, and co-produced by France’s Les Films du Losange, Michael Haneke’s regular producer, “Dreaming” tells the story of five friends in Leipzig after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Merlin Rose, Julius Nitschkoff, Joel Basman, Marcel Heuperman, Frederic Haselon and Ruby O. Fee co-star. Dresen’s last film, “Stopped on Track,” shared Cannes Un Certain Regard award in 2011.
A frequent Berlinale Forum guest, Brit Peter Greenaway’s steps up to competition with “Eisenstein in Guanajuato,” an account of the Russian master’s 10-day sojourn in the Mexican city in 1931, where he falls in love and experiences a sensual awakening. The Netherlands’ Submarine and Fu Works, Mexico’s Paloma Negra Films, Finland’s Edith Film and Belgium’s Potemkino produce.
Also making the cut is “Under Electric Clouds,” from Alexei A. German Jr. (“The Last Train,”), who won a Venice Silver Lion with “Paper Soldier.” He is also son of the legendary St. Petersburg helmer Alexei German, who died this February.
Berlin’s 2015 competition features a first feature by a Guatemalan filmmaker – marking the
first time a Guatemalan film has made competition – Jayro Bustamante’s “Ixcanul.” That may seem a turn-up for the books. Co-produced by Edgard Tenembaum’s Paris-based Tu Vas Voir (“The Motorcycle Diaries”), the tale of a pregnant 17-year-old Kaqchiqel girl driven to ever more desperate measures, – enrolling Kaqchiqel customs and myths – to regain her honor was a runaway favorite at San Sebastian’s Films in Progress pix-in-post showcase last Septembe, with Film Factory pitching (successfully) for world sales rights right after its rough-cut screening.
The 65th Berlin Film Festival runs Feb. 5-15.
BERLIN 2015 COMPETITION, FIRST TITLES
“45 Years “ (Andrew Haigh, U.K.)
“As We Were Dreaming,” (Andreas Dresen, Germany, France)
“Knight of Cups,” (Terrence Malick, U.S,)
“Eisenstein in Guanajuato,” Peter Greenaway, Netherlands, Mexico, Belgium, Finland)
“Ixcanul,” (Jayro Bustamante, Guatemala, France)
“Under Electric Clouds,” (Alexei German, Russia, Ukraine, Poland)
OUT OF COMPETITION
“Cinderella,” (Kenneth Branagh, U.S.)