The 70th edition of the Berlinale will open with Philippe Falardeau’s anticipated “My Salinger Year,” headlined by a powerful female duo, Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualley.
Set in New York’s literary world in the 90’s, the coming-of-age story is based on Joanna Rakoff’s international bestseller and follows Joanna (Qualley), who leaves graduate school to pursue her dream of becoming a writer and gets hired as an assistant to Margaret (Weaver), the stoic and old-fashioned literary agent of J. D. Salinger.
Fluctuating between poverty and glamour, Joanna spends her days in a plush office and her nights in a sink-less Brooklyn apartment with her socialist boyfriend.
“We are delighted to open the 70th edition of the festival with a coming-of-age story that takes the viewpoint of the protagonist who has a fresh perspective, which is in no way naïve,” said Carlo Chatrian, the new artistic director of the Berlin Film Festival.
“Philippe Falardeau depicts the small NYC literary world of the 1990s with humour and a sweet note, but he never forgets the 21st century we are living in or the unifying role that art plays in all of our lives,” added the artistic director.
Falardeau, who is best known for his Oscar-nominated film “Monsieur Lazhar” as well as “The Good Lie” with Reese Witherspoon, wrote the script of “My Salinger Year” based on the novel. He was previously in Berlin with his film “It’s Not Me, I Swear!” which played in the generation section in 2009.
“We couldn’t have hoped for a better world premiere. In the past, the Berlinale has opened with wonderful films from established directors; needless to say, I’m honoured to be on that list,” said Falardeau. “I have fond memories of the festival where one of my features screened at Generation in 2009.”
“My Salinger Year” was produced by Canada’s micro scope and Ireland’s Parallel Films. Memento Films International (“Call Me by Your Name”) represents the film in international markets, while UTA handles U.S. sales. The movie has pre-sold to a raft of territories with the U.S., Germany and France, and a few other territories still available.
This year will mark the inaugural edition of Carlo Chatrian, the new artistic director of the Berlin Film Festival who has taken over from Dieter Kosslick. As previously announced, Jeremy Irons will serve as president of the international jury. The festival will run Feb. 20 to March 1.