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Berlinale retro focuses on design

Fest to screen 45 films from past 65 years

BERLIN — While the Berlin Film Festival’s Retrospective usually fetes a filmmaker or thesp, the Berlinale will go a different route in 2005 and pay tribute to production design.

Titled “Settings — Locations — Scenes. Production Design & Film,” the 55th fest, Feb. 10-20, will screen 45 films from the past 65 years in which production design plays a defining role.

“Production designers are much more than just set builders,” said Berlinale topper Dieter Kosslick. “They are genuine artists who substantially influence the overall appearance of a film.”

The Retrospective will be structured around five topics showing how production design supplies the visual key for the mood and story.

  • “Interiors” will be devoted to inner worlds and private realms and include such pics as “Veronika Voss” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” in which pics’ respective production designers, Rolf Zehetbauer and Richard Sylbert, captured the emotions and conflicts of the characters.

  • “Transit” will present pics in which cinematic space is used as metaphor, including Ingmar Bergman’s “The Silence” and Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

  • “Power” will showcase films such as “Gattaca” and Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment,” in which architecture and design reflect the threat of totalitarianism or illustrate a world of hierarchy.

  • “Stage” will explore the space between reality and illusion in pics like Federico Fellini’s “And the Ship Sails On.”

  • “Labyrinths” will focus on films exhibiting interplay between narrative structures and spatial constellations, a la Kubrick’s “The Shining.”

Describing Kubrick’s films as being “so formative for style,” Berlinale organizers said they are reserving a special place in the program for the director’s films.

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