'Love,' 'Jargo' making fest trek
A correction was made to this article on Feb. 5, 2004.
BERLIN — X Filme is finally coming down from its yearlong “Good Bye, Lenin!”-induced high and getting back to work, with six upcoming projects that aim to keep the company in the limelight.
The company hit the jackpot with the comedy, about a man trying to hide the fall of the Berlin Wall from his ill mother, which raked in $48 million at the local box office and became Germany’s biggest hit last year.
Despite the huge success, X Filme has no plans to deviate from the modestly budgeted arthouse fare for which it has become known.
X Filme’s strength lies in producing unique and artistic films and developing talent, says producer and co-managing director Maria Koepf.
Company has two features screening at the Berlin Film Festival next month, including “Love in Thoughts” by Achim von Borries, which just had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and will unspool in the Berlinale’s Panorama section.
The film unites for the first time two of Germany’s hottest young stars, Daniel Bruehl (“Good Bye, Lenin!”) and August Diehl (“The Birch Tree Meadow”), in a true story about Berlin high school students caught up in an ill-fated romantic web in the summer of 1927. The film goes into wide release Feb. 12 accompanied by “True,” a 10-minute love story starring Natalie Portman and Melchior Beslon that’s set to premiere in the Berlinale’s shorts section. Pic, directed by X Filme partner Tom Tykwer, is part of Novem Prods.’ shorts compilation “Paris je t’aime.”
Also screening at the Berlinale, which runs Feb. 5-15, is X Filme’s adolescent drama “Jargo,” from Berlin-based Icelandic director Maria Solrun. Pic, which will be shown in the new Kinderfilmfest sidebar for teen auds, revolves around a friendship between a young Arab and a Turkish boy living in a Berlin neighborhood.
While X Filme’s pics have boasted some of Germany’s most marketable talent, it is thesp Bruehl who has become most synonymous with the Berlin-based company.
“He is not under exclusive contract,” quips X Filme’s Stefan Arndt, who produced “Good Bye, Lenin!” The young star nevertheless is one of the actors with whom X Filme’s partners love to work, Arndt adds.
Indeed, Bruehl is set to star in “Ein Freund von mir” (A Friend of Mine), directed by Sebastian Schipper (“Gigantic”) with another X Filme regular, Jurgen Vogel (“Rosenstrasse”). Koepf is producing the comedy-drama about two very different guys who strike up a friendship. Lensing is set to start in April.
Bruehl also has been tapped as one of the three leads in Michael Klier’s “Roter Kakadu,” which is set to start shooting this summer. Pic, produced by X Filme’s Manuela Stehr, takes place in 1961 in the East German city of Dresden weeks before the building of the Berlin Wall and revolves around a real-life nightclub at the time called the Roter Kakadu (Red Cockatoo).
“The Roter Kakadu was a very popular underground club where they played jazz and rock ‘n’ roll,” says Stehr, adding that the film will have a very 1950s look. “The costumes are great — leather jackets and jeans, greased-back hair — it’s very cool.”
Next up for X Filme is “Zucker” (Sugar) from company partner Dani Levy (“I’m the Father”). A comedy about a Jewish family in modern-day Berlin, pic starts shooting in February for regional pubcaster WDR.