LONDON — Bong Joon-ho’s adaptation of Jean-Marc Rochette’s comicbook series “Snowpiercer” will play as one of the Berlin Forum’s Special Screenings, which are dedicated to works of particular interest due to their themes or structure, as well as historically significant films and re-discoveries.
“Snowpiercer” is set during the onset of the next ice age, whose last survivors are left circling the earth on a non-stop express train. Producer Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho, actors Song Kang-ho, Ko Asung, John Hurt and Tilda Swinton, and Rochette will attend the Berlin screening.
Forum also has selected two documentaries that explore the recent upheavals in Egypt. In Viola Shafik’s “Arij” (Scent of Revolution), the accounts of a Coptic activist, a socialist writer, a young cyberspace designer and the biggest collector of photo negatives in the country are combined to form a complex portrait of history and politics. The role of corruption in the destruction of the city of Luxor is one key theme, as is the virtual realm of possibility offered by Second Life, where avatars can arrange to meet up in Tahrir Square.
Egypt also provides the setting for Jehane Noujaim’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Al midan” (The Square), a portrait of a group of activists over a period of more than two years, for whom the revolution provided new meaning in life.
Georg Tiller’s “DMD KIU LIDT” is named after a song by the Austrian band Ja, Panik, whose title is the acronym of a sentence in German that translates as “The Manifestation of Capitalism in Our Life Is Sadness.” This “anti-music film” avoids the cliches of the music film genre. We never see the musicians, who are based in Berlin, actually play. They are shown hanging out in a smoky bar before a show, packing up their instruments after a rehearsal, leisurely drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.
Among the rediscovered historically significant films playing in Forum is “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey,” on which Alfred Hitchcock was employed as an advisor.
It was first screened as a fragment in the Forum section in 1984, under the title “Memory of the Camps,” and has now been reconstructed and completed by the British Imperial War Museum, under the direction of Toby Haggith.
It receives its premiere at this year’s Forum nearly seven decades after it was originally shot.
The film, which is considered to be a milestone in the development of documentary cinema, was put together in 1945 from footage filmed by the British during the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, supplemented by scenes shot by the Americans and Soviets in camps in the south of Germany and occupied Poland.
It was intended to confront the Germans with their guilt, but ended up disappearing into the archives.
The film’s story forms the focus of the documentary “Night Will Fall,” which screens in Berlinale Special.
The Maung Wunna’s 1972 film “Che phawa daw nu nu” (Tender are the Feet) has recently been restored from an analogue video tape. It is a love story that broke with traditional forms and serves as an important point of reference for the young generation of Burmese filmmakers.
The cinema of Burma is little known among Western audiences, despite the fact that it used to be one of the most significant filmmaking nations in the world. Most of its classics have been lost or are missing, the negatives and prints destroyed.
Noboru Nakamura’s family melodramas left a lasting impression on Japanese cinema from the 1940s to the 60s. In collaboration with the Japanese festival Tokyo FILMeX, the Forum is showing three of the director’s works in new 35mm prints.
The films were shot between 1951 and 1964 and tell of brittle family structures and rebellious daughters, the trio demonstrating in impressive fashion how post-war Japanese values began to shift.
FORUM SPECIAL SCREENINGS
“Al midan” (The Square) by Jehane Noujaim, U.S./Egypt
“Arij” (Scent of Revolution) by Viola Shafik, Egypt/Germany — World Premiere
“Che phawa daw nu nu” (Tender are the Feet) by Maung Wunna, Burma
“DMD KIU LIDT” by Georg Tiller, Austria/Germany — World Premiere
“German Concentration Camps Factual Survey,” U.K.
“Ghashiram Kotwal” by K. Hariharan, Mani Kaul, India
“Prabhat pheri” (Journey with Prabhat) by Jessica Sadana, Samarth Dixit, India — World Premiere
“Schamanen im Blinden Land” (Shamans of the Blind Country) by Michael Oppitz, Nepal/Germany/U.S.
“Seolguk-yeolcha” (Snowpiercer) by Boong Joon-ho, Korea
“Wa ga ya ha tanoshi” (Home Sweet Home) by Noboru Nakamura, Japan
“Doshaburi” (When It Rains, It Pours) by Noboru Nakamura, Japan
“Yoru no henrin” (The Shape of Night) by Noboru Nakamura, Japan