Egyptian filmmakers are presenting some exciting productions this year at the Berlinale. We take a brief look at the films and some events on the sidelines.
The Egyptian lineup at the Berlinale 2014 was overshadowed by the Oscar-nominated film The Square – Al midan by Jehane Noujaim. This year, not many Egyptian productions are screening, but the curators of the Berlinale have selected an assortment that displays the topical creativity and strength of current Egyptian cinema.
This is a preview of Berlinale Blogger: Creativity and strength – Egypt at the Berlinale.
Doze Niu’s in advance highly contested “Paradise in Service” is set on the Kinmen archipelago of the 1960s, when antagonism between two sides of the Taiwan Strait categorically defines life on the island.
The smoothly advancing career of Doze Niu (钮承泽), whose Monga (艋舺) was showcased in 2010’s Berlinale Panorama, hit a bump during the making of Paradise in Service (军中乐园). He stirred up media uproar for having illegally brought a mainland Chinese cameraman to a navy port of call in Zuoying (左营) in South Taiwan, which as all military areas in Taiwan are off-limits for Mainlanders, during location scouting. Because of this incident Niu lost support from the military and most funding partners; the script also needed adjustment to accommodate the lack of locations and resources. The end result of Paradise in Service thus gives the impression of disproportionally and dangerously leaning against the brothel setting (the “Paradise” part) while only sketchily touching upon life in the military (the “service” part).
This is a preview of Berlinale Blogger: World events like a TV soap.
Over the summer 2014 I had the chance to skype with Andreas Dresen – full disclosure: one of my favourite auteurs. His latest film “Als wir träumten”, again set in the GDR around the “Wende”, is in Competition at Berlinale 2015.
We spoke about his 1992 feature debut Silent Country, which he showed on 35mm to amazed audiences in Toronto recently. In the film, young, naive and enthusiastic theatre director Kai comes to a grim East German provincial town to put on Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Although the lethargic company shows no interest in the play, his spirit remains undaunted. Meanwhile, it is fall 1989. The world is changing and far away in the capital, a revolution is taking place. Great hopes emerge in the little town, and unexpected events overtake Kai’s derailed production. Reflections of and on Dresen’s own life and work are inevitable.
This is a preview of Berlinale People: On Silence – Interview with Andreas Dresen.
German cinema has a great deal to offer at this year’s Berlinale. Along with old masters back in the running, young aspiring filmmakers are introducing themselves and portraying the host country in various shades.
Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog, two of the foremost exponents of the German film scene, are screening in the main competition at the Berlinale again. Wenders’ Every Thing Will Be Fine shows the impact of a tragic accident on the parties thereto, whilst Herzog’s Queen of the Desert chronicles the life of an English woman – scholar, administrator, cartographer and spy – exploring the Middle East in the early 20th century. But alongside such great internationally renowned names, we shouldn’t overlook the other German hopefuls in the main competition. Andreas Dresen’s Als wir träumten (“As We Were Dreaming”) is a study of a group of young people experiencing the decline of East Germany first-hand as they grow older. And Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria tells the story of strangers on a road trip together across Berlin. So we have German history versus a modern portrait of the German capital.
This is a preview of Berlinale Blogger: Veterans versus neophytes.
The Brazilian entries to the 65th Berlinale range widely in style and subject-matter. Among them, a short by Joel Pizzini is in the running for the Golden Bear.
The days leading up to the Berlinale are always full of great expectations and exertions. This is my third time here, and in the run-up to the festival I still feel an exciting tingle of anticipation. For ten straight days they’ll be screening more movies than anyone could possibly see in that time. With not much time left in my schedule and at most five films I could fit in, a mix of familiar and unfamiliar directors might be the solution.
This is a preview of Berlinale Blogger: Berlinale shows 12 Brazilian films.
Originally Wim Wenders wanted to become a priest, then a surgeon, and finally a painter. But ultimately his love of the cinema prevailed and he became a director. The Berlinale 2015 will be presenting the German auteur with an Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievement and will dedicate a Homage to him.
A young man is travelling through the USA on his own. In his car, he drives along highways, past neon adverts and petrol stations. His name is Philip Winter and he is supposed to be writing a report about American landscape, but he cannot find a single word to write. Instead, he collects photographs of places and sites, only to note resignedly that they never really show what the eye actually sees. These are scenes from Alice in the Cities (1974) by Wim Wenders, a film depicting an odyssey from the south of the USA all the way to Munich which ultimately leads the protagonist to find himself.
This is a preview of Berlinale 2015: Wim Wenders and His Films – A Thoughtful Workaholic.
Opinions and interviews relating to films, film-makers and favourites for the Golden Bear award: Bloggers and film journalists from Beijing, Cairo, Leipzig, Madrid, Munich, Nairobi, São Paulo, Tokyo and Toronto report from the International Film Festival in Berlin.
As guests of the Goethe-Institut, bloggers and film journalists from Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Egypt, Japan, Kenia and Spain are going to the Berlinale this February to share their impressions on the most important German film festival. How are Egyptian films represented at the Berlin Film Festival? Which interesting Brasilian co-productions have been invited? Will Chinese film makers be as successful as last year? What expectations do Spanish filmmakers have going into the Berlinale? And: What new productions will German film makers present in Berlin?
This is a preview of Berlinale Blog 2015: International film journalists report.