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):