New films by Ruzowitzky, Rivette, Téchiné, Nava, Eastwood, Schrader, Costanzo and Menzel nominated for the Berlinale Competition
BERLIN, January 15, 2007 — The selection for the Competition of the 57th Berlin International Film Festival is nearly complete. “We have succeeded”, summarizes festival director Dieter Kosslick, “in getting films by important directors of international cinema to come to Berlin. We are equally delighted by the work of young filmmakers, whose stories and ways of telling them we think is important to present to a big audience.”
Writer and director Olivier Dahan has assembled a star-studded cast around Marion Cotillard in the role of Edith Piaf, with Gérard Depardieu, Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory, Jean-Paul Rouve and Emmanuelle Seigner. Dahan, who became known through his work on, amongst other things, music videos for Zucchero, Stéphane Eicher or The Cranberries, last directed the action sequel, Crimson Rivers II (2004) with Jean Reno.
The world premiere of La Vie en Rose will open the Berlinale in grand style on February 8, 2007 and be presented in the Competition for the Golden Bear as well as the Silver Bears.
La Vie en Rose was produced by Alain Goldman (1492 : Conquest of Paradise, Casino, Vatel, Crimson Rivers I & II) and Legende, TF1 International, TF1 Films Production, Okko Production and Songbird Pictures Limited in cooperation with Canal+ and TPS Star.
It has been announced on january 4, 2007, the following selection :
One of the first six films selected is the German entry Yella by Christian Petzold. After presenting Gespenster (Ghosts) in 2005, the director, who has won a number of awards, will be showing a film in the Berlinale Competition for the second time. Yella tells of a young woman from the former East German province of Brandenburg who begins a new job in western Germany, so as to escape a wretched marriage. But her old life keeps catching up with her. Nina Hoss, Hinnerk Schönemann and Devid Striesow star in the film. (World Premiere)
The USA will be represented by Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd and Steven Soderbergh’s The Good German. In his second work as director after A Bronx Tale, De Niro tells the story of an idealistic Yale graduate during World War II who is recruited by the OSS (the precursor to the CIA). The cast features a number of Oscar-winning actors and actresses, including Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and Robert De Niro. (International Premiere)
In The Good German, George Clooney plays an American journalist who becomes embroiled in a murder conspiracy in postwar Berlin. In this black-and-white film, director Steven Soderbergh has created a homage to the cinema of the 1940s, combining historical archive material with newly filmed scenes. Alongside George Clooney, Soderbergh, whose last contribution to the Berlinale Competition was the science-fiction drama Solaris (2005), has cast Tobey Maguire and Cate Blanchett, among others. (International Premiere)
Europe will also present the Belgian-German-Luxembourg-British-French co-production Irina Palm in the Berlinale Competition. Singer and actress Marianne Faithfull plays a 50-year-old widow who is so desperately in need of money that she unwittingly accepts a job in a sex club. Irina Palm is Belgian director Sam Garbarski’s second film ; his debut film The Rashevski Tango received much recognition throughout Europe. (World Premiere)
Following Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1997), two-time Oscar-winner Bille August will present his latest film, Goodbye Bafana, in the Berlinale Competition. The international co-production tells the true story of James Gregory (Joseph Fiennes), the white prison guard whose life is profoundly altered when he meets the prisoner Nelson Mandela, whom he ends up guarding for more than twenty years. Dennis Haysbert plays the ANC activist and later Nobel Peace Prize winner. James Gregory’s wife Gloria is played by Diane Kruger. On February 11, 2007, it will be 17 years since Nelson Mandela was released from prison. (World Premiere)
So far South Korea will be represented in the Competition by I Am A Cyborg But That’s Ok by the celebrated director Park Chan-wook. In a psychiatric hospital, a young woman patient, who thinks she is a cyborg, falls in love. The cast includes Korean superstar Rain, who is also very successful as a pop star, and Lim Soo-jung. Director Park Chan-wook first competed in the Berlinale Competition six years ago, with the political thriller Joint Security Area. (International Premiere)
In addition to these seven Competition films announced earlier, another eight films have been selected and announced January 15.
The German-Austrian co-production Die Fälscher (The Counterfeiter) by Stefan Ruzowitzky (Anatomy) narrates the biggest counterfeiting operation ever pulled off. Towards the end of World War II, the National Socialists forged millions of British pounds in order to weaken the enemy’s economy. A counterfeiting plant was set up with prisoners in the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. Karl Markovics, August Diehl, Devid Striesow and Marie Bäumer play the leading roles in the film. (World premiere)
French directors Jacques Rivette and André Téchiné have also joined the Competition line-up with their latest works. With Ne touchez pas la hache (Don’t Touch the Axe), Jacques Rivette has made another screen adaptation of a Balzac novella. Guillaume Depardieu, Jeanne Balibar and Michell Piccoli co-star in this dramatic love story about a beautiful duchess who wards off the advances of a very passionate military officer. (World premiere)
In Les Témoins (The Witnesses), André Téchiné returns to the early 1980s. Set against a dramatic relationship, he describes the emergence of Aids and how people dealt with the deadly virus. The cast includes Emmanuelle Béart, Michel Blanc, Sami Bouajila and Julie Depardieu. (World premiere)
Based on real events, director Gregory Nava’s US-production Bordertown examines a series of murders of Mexican women workers in the border town of Ciudad Juárez in the early 1990s. Jennifer Lopez (Serena) plays an ambitious US journalist who in searching for the truth puts her own life in danger. Other leading roles are played by Antonio Banderas, Maya Zapata and Martin Sheen. (World premiere)
Another film from the USA - Letters from Iwo Jima - will be running out of competition. After Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood will present the second movie in his two-part project about the legendary battle on the Japanese Pacific island in February 1945. While Flags of Our Fathers recounts events as experienced by GIs, Letters from Iwo Jima tells the same story from the Japanese point of view. The cast features Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya and Tsuyoshi Ihara. (European premiere)
The Walker (USA/GB), Berlinale Jury President Paul Schrader’s latest film, will also be screened out of competition. Woody Harrelson plays Carter, the escort of elegant but lonely society ladies in Washington D.C. When his best friend (Kristin Scott Thomas) suddenly gets involved in a murder, Carter finds himself implicated in a web of intrigue and crime. Other roles are played by Lauren Bacall, Lily Tomlin, Moritz Bleibtreu and Willem Dafoe. (World premiere)
In the Italian production In Memoria di me (In Memory of Myself) by Saverio Costanzo (Private), the main character is a young man who has decided to renounce worldly life. He enters a Jesuit monastery in Venice but is overcome by agonizing doubts before his ordination. Christo Jivkov plays the novice monk. His co-stars are Stefano Antonucci and André Hennicke, among others. (World premiere)
The Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic will be represented in the Competition by Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále (I Served the King of England). Once more, Czech master director Jirí Menzel (Larks on a String, Golden Bear 1990) has adapted a novel by Bohumil Hrabal to the screen. Two decades of European history are retold from the viewpoint of a waiter from Prague. Alongside German shooting-star Julia Jentsch, winner of the Silver Bear for her role in Sophie Scholl (2005), the cast includes Ivan Barnev and Oldrich Kaiser. (International premiere)
The selection for the Competition of the 57th Berlin International Film Festival will be completed soon. There will be a total of 26 films - including those running out of competition - in the Competition programme.