Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Revolutionary Road, Sam Mendes, US/ UK 2008

I recently watched Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road for the first time, having been quite reluctant to watch it all, since I'm such an admirer of Yates' book. And, perhaps inevitably, I've come to the conclusion that the problem with Mendes’ film is not that it is a bad one, but rather that it is ultimately inferior to the book it is based on. Although literature and film are two different entities and should be treated as such, even if one is based on the other, Yates’ book is so ‘alive’, so filmic, so rich in images - with, paradoxically very little action - that one’s imagination is switched on to the hilt while reading it. And needless to say, one’s own images hardly ever match those of the finished film and as a result, watching the film can only be a disappointment. Another glitch Mendes had to face was the fact that the book is full of inner thought, monologue and dialogue - something that is very tricky to translate into the language of film. Hence, considering the richness of the book’s, shall we say, ‘non-verbal action’, using a voice-over narrator would have solved that problem elegantly.

Regarding the plot itself, there is, what I think, a very significant omission, and that’s the childhood and upbringing of both, April and Frank Wheeler. It is important for the viewer to have this background information as this explains, for instance, why Frank is so easily dissuaded from their plan of moving to Paris as Yates illustrates so plausibly in his book how man has a tendency to -subconsciously - replicate the lives of their parents. April, on the other hand, having been raised by relatives, with her father mostly absent and a mother who succumbed to alcoholism, has had an entirely different upbringing from Frank’s. And this may make it so difficult for her to lead the kind of suburban conventionality that Frank appears to be contented with - for their childhoods are almost at opposites ends from each other. Thus April, like so many women whose father was mostly absent - Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Romy Schneider, to name only some of the most famous examples - aspires to become an actress: a shattered dream, to be replaced by another, almost equally ambitious one: the dream of moving to Paris (without having a job or speaking French!).

So much for the differences between the book and the film. Looking at the film itself and pretending not to know the book - which is literally impossible as the images from Yates’ book are still so vividly present in my mind - it must be repeated that Revolutionary Road is certainly not a bad film, even though my review may make it sound like one, and, perhaps, as careful an adaptation of the novel as possible. Kate Winslet as April is superb, infinitely superior to DiCaprio, and, to me, most definitely the film’s highlight. She carries the film. The film’s production values - camera, lighting, costumes - are unobtrusively appropriate, however, Thomas Newman’s music isn’t. His score is boring and uninventive and it’s a shame that in spite of the film’s promising trailer - which used Nina Simone’s hauntingly beautiful Wild is the Wind - Newman didn’t manage to come up with something more inspiring, something that may have, if not furthered, at least matched, the plot better than the trivial music he composed for Mendes’ film. It’s a far cry from his masterful score for American Beauty. Music in a film - its score - should either be used in a way that you don’t notice it at all, or, if you do, it has to underscore the narrative. In this instance, the music is there all the time, yet it its function is unclear as it seems like a separate entity that was written for another film or, perhaps, not even any film at all.

Revolutionary Road is now out on DVD.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

And the Golden Bear of the Berlin Film Festival goes to ...

.. the German-Turkish production Bal (Honey), by Semih Kaplanoglu, seen here with Jury President Werner Herzog:

One surprise award during the ceremony went to Roman Polanski - who ridiculously enough is still under house arrest in Gstaad, Switzerland - who was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Director for the French/ German/ UK co-production The Ghostwriter.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Jud Suess - Film ohne Gewissen, Oskar Roehler, Germany 2010

The film's poster for the UK and US markets

Oskar Roehler's highly anticipated film that revolves around the actor Ferdinand Marian who in Veit Harlan's infamous Nazi propaganda film of 1940, Jud Suess, played the central role of Joseph Suess Oppenheimer, who in the 18th century was the financial adviser of Duke Karl Alexander of Wuerttemberg. In 1925, the German writer Lion Feuchtwanger wrote a historical novel on Suess in which he examines the latent anti-Semitism that led to Suess' arrest and, eventually, to his death at the gallows. Harlan's film, which was made on the instigation of Goebbels himself, is supposed to be based on Feuchtwanger's novel. However, crucial elements of Feuchtwanger's novel had been omitted and distorted in order to correspond with the racial and ideological principles of Nazi Germany.

Tobias Moretti and Moritz Bleibtreu in Oskar Roehler's Jus Suess - Film ohne Gewissen

Ironically, Roehler's film - although, needless to say, far from being a propaganda film - also immediately sparked considerable controversy because of distortion. However, in this case the distortion relates to Ferdinand Marian's life and the background surrounding him being cast as Suess. According to Roehler, these changes were made to 'make the film more entertaining', as Roehler himself put it during the press conference. He stressed that he deliberately avoided sticking too close to the facts as his intention was not to make a documentary. Nevertheless, the liberties by Roehler and his scriptwriter have taken in their approach prompted the Berlin-based daily Tagesspiegel to write that Roehler's film 'turns an accomplice into a victim'.

During the press conference Roehler also stressed that he intended to inject his film with a fair amount of satire as, first of all, looking at Goebbels and his cronies from today's point of view, they do indeed seem like clowns, making it unfathomable how a whole nation could actually be brought to blindly follow them and fall for their insidious and ultimately murderous intentions. While this seems to make sense - although I'd have to first see the film before passing final judgment - the explanation for the distortion of certain historical facts for entertainment purposes seems much less convincing.

Director Oskar Roehler on the set of Jud Suess - Film ohne Gewissen, flanked by Martina Gedeck and Moritz Bleibtreu

Roehler's film has its official world premiere tonight at the Berlinale Palast in the presence of Oskar Roehler and the principal cast which includes German thesps Tobias Moretti, Martina Gedeck, Justus von Dohnanyi and Moritz Bleibtreu.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Reflections On The Lives Of Others, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Germany 2005

It's Oscar time again, and with Germany nominated yet again makes me reflect on the last time a German film won for Best Foreign Language Film, which was Donnersmarck's highly acclaimed The Lives of Others, in 2005. Writing or reflecting on the Oscars requires to take them seriously in the first place, which, frankly, I don’t, for that would also require me to accept that a film such as, say Braveheart (MelGibson; USA 1995) is the best film to come out of the US in that particular year, and that I can’t, when in fact, I considered Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee; USA 1995) to be far superior. However, since we’re at it (and so is everybody else) - let’s talk Osacr’s!

What I did rejoice in that year, though, is the fact that The Lives of Others beat its main contender Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro; Mexico 2006), a film I deem entirely unworthy of the hype and buzz that surrounded it on the run-up to the Oscars as Carlos Saura had already tackled a similar issue (a child coping with the exigencies of fascism by fleeing into a fantasy world) in his masterpiece Cria Cuervos (Spain 1975) in a far cleverer, far subtler way, by finding a cinematic language which, by puzzling the viewer also challenged him, thus giving him much food for thought and something to ‘take home’ instead of presenting all the answers on a platter as Toro does in his film. Pan, to me, simply is another sign of our times in which easily digestible images have precedence over content. Therefore, I dubbed Pan a Lord of the Rings set in fascist Spain.

Needless to say, The Lives of Others isn’t exactly what I’d call demanding on the viewer, either. However, unlike Pan, it is a film that has no pretence and simply sets out to tell a story - and Donnersmarck tells his story well. Moreover, it is a story that needed to be told on a topic that has so far received scant attention from filmmakers. Therefore, unlike Pan, Donnersmarck’s film has none to compare it with as he stepped on new territory. No surprise then, that a variety of Hollywood’s premier filmmakers, among them the late Sydney Pollack, are - or were - in negotiations with Donnersmarck to do a Hollywood remake of the story. This I have yet to comprehend for if anything, Donnersmarck’s film is in fact a Hollywood film made in Germany, and I don’t mean it in a derogatory way, for where Hollywood filmmakers (as well as American writers) excel in comparison to their German counterparts, is in telling stories. The best Hollywood films are simply stories - that is, with a beginning, a middle, and an end - told well. As such, The Lives of Others like other German films that have made in onto the international circuit of late, such as Goodbye Lenin, The Downfall, or Sophie Scholl - The Last Days, are remarkable insofar as previously the German films that received international attention - and were subsequently showered with awards - were films which at home hardly anybody saw: Wings of Desire(Wim Wenders, W Germany 1987), Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog; W Germany 1982), Germany, Pale Mother(Helga Sanders-Brahms, W Germany 1981), etc. What seems to have changed is that the films that now not only scoop awards in the festival circuit, but also get distributed outside Germany, are films that were box-office successes at home and abroad and they are by and large critically acclaimed in all territories. The Lives of Others received rave reviews in the US and France, and so did Goodbye Lenin. Their box-office success is legend : Donnersmarck's film has an accumulated box-office record of $19m, which, for a film with a reported budget of only $ 2,0, is no mean feat. Of course, the French still have trouble coming to terms with this new German phenomenon. As a press agent of a French distributor once told me, ‘German films are at the same time too close and too far away from home’, referring to France. Hence the fact that German films are still far less popular in Cannes than they are with the French public at large, not to mention with the members of the Academy, for let’s not be fooled: it would be quite a stretch to talk of any German film in terms of being a box-office hit in the US. But then, the same could be said about almost any foreign film shown in the US, Almodovar’s films and a few others excepted.

Still, one can’t but wonder what happened to make German fare so popular all of a sudden …? Is it the fact that since Dieter Kosslick has taken over the Berlin International Film Festival and established a side-section called, ‘Perspective German Film’, German cinema receives more attention as it has a platform again by making new local product accessible to foreign distributors? Or is it that German films are really that much better, or more interesting, than they were previously? Or has the perception of Germany and German films shifted to such a degree that it’s become ‘hip’ (again) to watch a German film? Or is it because German films have found a way of blending conventional Hollywood story-telling with topics from their own backyard (e.g. the Third Reich, the separation and subsequent reunification of East and West), thus making the stories more accessible to the average viewer? In an article in the FAZ following Donnersmarck’s win, the writer deplores the fact that ‘unlike other contenders for Best Foreign Language Film‘, The Lives of Others is far more conventionally told’, something he blames on the fact that ‘what the Academy expects of German films are films that deal with Germany’s history’. Although there is some truth in it, as indeed, the only German film ever to be nominated for an Oscar that did not have a historical topic was Caroline Link’s Beyond Silence(Germany 1996), a film I deemed mediocre and luckily it lost out to Netherland‘s entry, Character, Donnersmarck’s film marks a departure insofar as it is the first German film to win that does not revolve around the Third Reich.

A film which, unfortunately, was entirely overlooked by the Academy (as well as by the European Film Academy and the German Film Academy) is Requiem (Hans-Christian Schmid; Germany 2006), although it is arguably a better film and one, I might add, that does indeed have a historical subtext, albeit a vague and subtle one, for what are we to make of Michaela/ Sandra Hueller’s parents if not regarding their bigotry, their obedience, their orderliness, in fact their whole demeanour , particularly, the mother’s, as the very prerequisites that made the Third Reich possible? But this subtle undercurrent may well have been too discrete for audiences to pick up on. This subtleness, the bleakness that permeates the whole film, its off-bear character, would indeed have made it an ideal contender for Cannes - had it not been shown at the Berlinale earlier. Unlike any other organisation the Association of German Film Critics voted it the Best German film of the year. Alas, since the creation of the German Film Academy, modelled on its American counterpart, their weight in the German film industry has become negligible. It seems, that this is just another indicator that at least on a certain level, German Film has gone down the American way altogether, starting with the fact that a great many German filmmakers and actors are now working on both continents (Franka Potente, Daniel Bruehl, Martina Gedeck, Oliver Hirschbiegel, Marco Kreuzpaintner, etc.) to the way we tell our stories, of which The Lives of Others is just one example, and which includes Goodbye Lenin and Sophie Scholl - The Last Days. Personally, I don’t necessarily consider this, shall we say,‘Hollywood approach’ to be a bad thing as long as there continues to be a diversity, and room for filmmakers like Haisenberg, Petzold, Dresen, and Veiel, who counterbalance this trend by telling their own, small, although by no means insignificant, stories.

That said, why Donnersmarck found it necessary in his Oscar acceptance speech to extend his thanks to his American distributor and to governor Schwarzenegger is a mystery indeed. For me, it put a damper on the film’s win since I couldn’t help thinking of Volker Schloendorff’s acceptance speech in 1980 when he won for The Tin Drum, a speech that was humble, moving, and rendered with much less arrogance.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Berlinale: World Premiere of Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer (France/ Germany/ UK, 2009)

Polanski's eagerly awaited The Ghost Writer premiered a few hours ago at Berlin's Berlinale Palast. Fuelled by all the buzz surrounding Polanski's recent arrest in Switzerland, The Ghost Writer has received a lot of advance publicity, which according to some critics is wholly undeserved. The worst review to date came from Variety's Derek Elley, who wrote that 'the best thing that can be said about the film is that viewers don't need to read the novel' as it is a word-for-word adaptation from Robert Harris' book. However, it's not all doom and gloom for Polanki's film as several German critics have given it favourable reviews. S. Vahabzadeh, for instance, who writes for the influential Sueddeutsche Zeitung, gave it three stars out of three. And although Kirk Honeycutt, writing for the Hollywood Reporter, was slightly less enthusiastic, overall his review at least makes you want to see the film, whereas Elley just dismisses it entirely, including its box office prospects. This phenomenon has always puzzled me: What is the point of predicting a film's box office potential? Or worse: Of not even giving it a chance? What purpose does this serve? All it does, is discouraging potentially interested distributors from buying the rights for their respective territories and keeping movie goers away from the screen. It seems to me that while any film critic is of course entitled to their own opinion and needless to say, also has the right to express it, predicting a film's failure is counter-productive to the industry - and art form! - they are supposed to serve, embrace, and love. People, including Variety's own Peter Bart, looking for the answer to the question of 'Who Killed Hollywood?', as is the title of one of Bart's books, need look no further: It's the box-office obsession by studios, producers, and obviously certain critics, but while the fear of the former regarding a film's reception is understandable, why a critic should want to kill a film before it's even opened is beyond me.

Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor and Olivia Williams attending the world premiere of Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer on Friday, 12 February 2010 at Berlin's Berlinale Palast.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Berlinale 2010 - Opening

The Berlin Film Festival opened tonight with the world première of Tuan Yuan (Apart Together) by Chinese director Wang Quan'an who won the Festival's Golden Bear two years ago for his film Tuya's Marriage, starring Chinese arthouse queen Yu Nan, who is a member of this year's jury.

Tuan Yuan was warmly received by the audience, critics however, are slightly more reticent. The Times gave it 3 stars out of 5, calling it a 'perfectly adequate opening film' while the Berlin based Tagesspiegel finds that 'the new China hasn't looked this old in a long time'. Whether Quan'an's film is worthy of an award is of course up to the international jury, headed by Werner Herzog, and a lot depends on the quality of the other nineteen films in competition to be screened over the next eleven days.

Tonight's opening was attended by a bevy of celebrities and members of the international film community including Tilda Swinton, Ben Foster, Martina Gedeck, Tom Tykwer, jury members Renee Zellweger and Werner Herzog, Senta Berger, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Wim Wenders, and Lia van Leer from Jerusalem's Cinemateque.

The Berlinale will have its first highlight tomorrow with the world premiere of Roman Polanski's The Ghostwriter, although Polanski himself is unable to attend as he's still under house arrest in Switzerland.

Pictures from tonight's red carpet (top to bottom): Actress Sibel Kekelli (Head On, Fatih Akin's Berlinale winner of 2004), Tilda Swinton and festival director Dieter Kosslick, Renee Zellweger, actress Martina Gedeck (The Lives of Others):

Monday, 8 February 2010

L’été meurtrier, Jean Becker, France 1983

On the outset, l’été meurtrier is a - complex, powerful - film about seduction and revenge, but at the centre it is a character study of an emotionally unstable girl whose life is turned upside down when she learns about the traumatic events surrounding her origins.

The film's central character, Eliane, is compellingly and convincingly played by Isabelle Adjani who excels at portraying Eliane as the multifaceted persona that she is: the scheming, vindictive, seductress as well as the unbalanced, disturbed, child. That Eliane has us, the viewer, on her side from the very first, regardless of her ulterior motives and her hidden agenda, is due to Adjani’s sensitive portrayal that succeeds at bringing out Eliane’s dark side by also highlighting her vulnerability.

The fact that Eliane’s mother is a German immigrant is a crucial to the narrative of l’été meurtrier - and it has its parallel in real life as Adjani’s own mother is German.

The character of Eliane is reminiscent of Linda in David Leland’s Wish You Were Here, both being girls where a lack of paternal and maternal love results in emotional instability, although in Eliane’s case, this emotional instability has far more severe consequences. Besides their similar emotional background, it is primarily their wit, their sassiness, and their folly - which at times is hilariously funny - that makes them sisters. And it is this side which wins us, the audience, over and which makes us side with and root for them from the start.

But unlike Leland’s film, Becker’s is that much darker. It is also far more complex as Becker not only uses several time levels, but also tells his story from several points of view. This device works surprisingly well as it adds to the sense of doom that dominates the film from the very start when Alain Souchon - playing PinPon, Eliane’s love interest - as the first of a number of narrators, begins to tell his story whereby neither his tone of voice nor what he says leave any doubt about the impending tragedy of which he becomes victim and perpetrator both at the same time.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Romy Schneider and Les choses de la vie, Claude Sautet, France 1969

Claude Sautet was born in 1924 and died in 2000 in Paris. He was regarded as ‘un cinéaste sociologique’(a sociological filmmaker). In fact, after his death, the then-French president, Jaques Chirac, maintained that “Claude Sautet’s films held out the mirror of our times”.

The film is based on a book by Paul Guimard, with a screenplay written by Jean Loup Dabadie, a French journalist and writer who later worked with François Truffaut on his film Une belle fille comme moi (France 1972). The reason why I consider Les choses de la vie central to Schneider's career is, first of all, because this film was their first of five collaborations and she would eventually turn into Claude Sautet’s muse. More importantly, however, in Les Choses de la vie Romy Schneider plays what later would become her trademark role: that of a modern, emancipated woman. Furthermore, after a string of mediocre films, it was this film, next to La Piscine (France 1969) that revived her career and in fact marked the beginning of what I choose to call “the great Romy Schneider years”. Les Choses de la vie received the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc in 1969. Previous recipients included Marcel Carné’s Quai de brûmes (France 1939) and Agnès Varda’s masterpiece Le bonheur (France 1964). Les Choses de la vie revolves around a dramatically filmed car accident, involving Pierre, played by Michel Piccoli, whose life is passing before his eyes as he is about to die, reflecting on the choices and decisions he made, and, most of all, on the two women in his life, his ex-wife Cathérine, played by Lea Massari and his current lover Hélène, played by Romy Schneider. Schneider and Piccoli both have star-billing in the film and both their names are mentioned above the title.

The first scene after the opening credits is almost exemplary for Schneider's subsequent career as we see her walking around a balcony with just a towel wrapped around her body, suggesting that a minute ago she might have been in the nude. Nudity (or partial nudity) was something that had become central to Schneider’s film-roles ever since she left Germany for France in the late 1950s, primarily in order to get rid of the much hated Sissi-image, which “stuck to her like oatmeal”, as she once said. Showing herself in the nude was her revenge not just on the Sissi Films, but also on the string of Heimat films, a peculiar genre that thrived in Germany in the 1950s, and in which Schneider’s role was instrumental (Wenn der weisse Flieder wieder blüht, Hans Deppe, Germany 1953; Die Deutschmeister, Ernst Marischka, Germany 1955) and which contributed to turn her into one of the biggest stars of post-war Germany. But it was a fame that she rejected to such a degree that when she was offered one million Deutschmark in the early 1960s to star in Sissi, part 4, she declined. Even Luchino Visconti had quite a time persuading her to revive the part once more in his film Ludwig (Italy, France, West Germany1972) and she only accepted after having been reassured by him that his idea of the Austrian empress would be more true to life than the escapist version she played in the Ernst Marischka films of the 1950. “Stars are endowed with national iconicity and as such have cultural value. Clearly a star’s meaning can shift from the national to the international level” (Hayward 2000: 355). Schneider’s role in history underlines this comment for she was a major star in Germany before rising to even greater fame in France, in spite of never losing her German accent.

Drawing a parallel between Schneider and Marlene Dietrich, who made a similar move 30years earlier, it must be added that Dietrich was often of dubious origin in most of her American films whereas Schneider was always introduced as a German. Another difference between the two stars is the fact that unlike Dietrich, Schneider never played a Nazi or Nazi sympathizer, something Dietrich did on various occasions (A Foreign Affair, Billy Wilder, USA 1947; Judgement At Nuremberg, Stanley Kramer USA 1960). But Dietrich, having acquired American citizenship in 1939 and who fought on the side of the Allies during World War II, could afford to do that whereas Schneider could not. Well aware of the atrocities committed by her country during the war, she had something of a guilt-complex which was fuelled by the fact that her mother, Magda Schneider, not only was Hitler's neighbour in Berchtesgaden, but also knew him personally. As a result, Schneider took pains to show her empathy with the Jews by, for instance, giving both her children Jewish christian names, David and Sarah.

“…The social history of nation can be written in terms of its film stars” (Durgnat in Dyer 1986: 6). Tying in with the above quote by Hayward, I think this one aptly expresses the extent to which the relationship between Germany and France had improved just 15 years after WWII for Schneider to rise to such fame in a country that had been a traditional enemy of Germany! That she went on to play various roles in which she portrayed Nazi victims (Le train, Pierre Granier-Deferre, France/ Italy 1973; La passante de Sans-Souci, Jaques Rouffio, France/ West Germany 1982) surely helped, as did the fact that she got married to a Frenchman, Daniel Biasini, in 1975. As a result, her relationship to her home country remained ambiguous throughout her life, for although she never gave up her German passport, the Germans not only resented her for deserting them, but also, I believe, for the fact that she frequently portrayed Nazi victims, which was something her countrymen were uncomfortable with as coming to terms with their history did not start in Germany until well into the 1980s.

A last important point about Schneider is her private life which was riddled by tragedy, starting with her break-up from Alain Delon in 1963 followed by the suicide of her first husband Harry Meyen in 1979, and culminated in the accidental death of her beloved son, David, in 1981, a year before her own death. The traumas Schneider went through were, in my opinion, something that two groups in particular could relate to and identify with: gay men, and women. Taking into consideration that the time when Schneider came into her own in film-roles in which she portrayed modern, emancipated women, was the advent of gay as well as women’s lib, it is, I believe, no coincidence that those two groups in particular made her their role model, for their freeing themselves from the shackles of society was reflected in the parts she played on screen. And any process of liberation involves a great deal of suffering, which was reflected in Schneider's life off screen, as well as on. A quote by Bernard Pascuito ties in with this: “Not that far away and at times so close to the characters she played on screen. Women who stopped loving, women who suffer and who make others suffer, frustrated mistresses and cuckolded wifes” (Pascuito in Agence France Presse 2002).

Romy Schneider was the recipient of two Césars (L’Importance c’est d’aimer, Andrzej Zulawski, France 1975; Une histoire simple, Claude Sautet, France 1979). She was voted actress of the 20th century by the readers of Paris-Match, receiving 42% of all votes (Agence France Presse 2002), and she was depicted on 15 covers of Paris-Match between 1961 and 1982. Two moving references also deserve being mentioned to show the on-going fascination with the Romy Schneider legend: one in Almodovar’s film All About My Mother (Spain/ France 1999) and a second one in François Ozon’s 8 femmes (France 2002). Again, that both directors are gay is, I think, no coincidence. In conclusion I would like to suggest that Romy Schneider’s off-screen persona was such that watching her on screen is like watching two films simultaneously: the one we see before us (Romy Schneider, the actress), and a second one, which is running on another level (Romy Schneider, the star), not unlike a film’s soundtrack, and separating the two is literally impossible.


Agence France Presse (May 28, 2002), no page numbers; no author name given
Dyer, Richard (1986): Stars.London: BFI
Hayward, Susan (2000): Cinema Studies/ Key Concepts. London: Routledge
Pascuito, Pascal (2002): la double mort de Romy. Paris: Albin Michel


A Foreign Affair, Billy Wilder, USA 1947
All About My Mother, Pedro Almodovar, Spain/ France 1999
Die Deutschmeister, Ernst Marischka, Germany 1955
Judgement At Nuremberg, Stanley Kramer, USA 1960
La passante de Sans-Souci, Jaques Rouffio, France/ West Germany 1982
La piscine, Jaques Deray, France/ Italy 1969
Les choses de la vie, Claude Sautet, France/ Italy/ Switzerland 1969
Le train, Pierre Granier-Deferre, France/ Italy 1973
L’importance c’est d’aimer, Andrzej Zulawski, France/ Italy/ West Germany 1975
Ludwig, Luchino Visconti, France/ Italy/ West Germany 1972
Sissi (part 1), Ernst Marischka, Germany 1955
Sissi (part 2), Ernst Marischka, Germany 1956
Sissi (part 3), Ernst Marischka, Germany 1957
Une histoire simple, Claude Sautet, France/ West Germany 1978
Wenn Der Weisse Flieder wieder blüht, Hans Deppe, Germany 1953
8 femmes, François Ozon, France/ Italy 2002

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Berlinale Announces Last Competition Entry: A Film By UK Street Artist Banksy

Banksy in Exit Through The Gift Shop

The Berlinale has just announced that British Street artist Banksy's film, Exit Through The Gift Shop, will complete this year's Competition section. With less than two weeks to go until the opening, the mystery surrounding the last remaining Competition entry has thus finally been lifted.

Berlinale chief Dieter Kosslick is understandably proud for landing Banksy's film, for Banksy is as hip as he is elusive, and doubts remain that he will actually show up for his film's world premiere.

Rumour had it that the last remaining gap in the Competition section would be filled with Eastwood's Invictus or Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. However, landing the first film of one of the most talked about artist's of the moment for the main section - although Banksy's film will be shown out of Competition - is far more fitting for a film festival with such an artistic and political slant as the Berlinale.