Hollywood star Sean Penn is to present his documentary film on Ukraine at the Berlinale - and this time five films from Germany are running in the competition. The program was published around three weeks before the start of the Berlin Film Festival. This time, says artistic director Carlo Chatrian, reality is back. And if you look at the program, you get an idea of what he means by that. Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine is said to play a role during the festival.
Director and actor Sean Penn ("Milk", "Mystic River") has been to Ukraine several times. Penn was there in November 2021 and filmed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Chatrian said on Monday. Penn was also in Kyiv when the war broke out. Reality changed the film. The documentary "Superpower" also tells something about the role of artists and art in difficult times, Chatrian said.
Penn is now expected at the festival in Berlin. They are also in talks as to whether Selenskyj can be switched on, said managing director Mariette Rissenbeek. Alongside Cannes and Venice, the Berlinale is one of the world's major film festivals. The next edition is scheduled for February 16-26. Then the anniversary of the beginning of the war. The film by Penn and Aaron Kaufman is not in the price race, but is running in the Berlinale Special Gala series.
News from Petzold and Margarethe von Trotta
A total of 18 productions will compete for the Golden Bear and the Silver Bear. The festival management published the competition program on Monday. Among them are five productions from Germany - by the directors Margarethe von Trotta, Emily Atef and Angela Schanelec as well as the directors Christian Petzold and Christoph Hochhäusler.
Margarethe von Trotta has dealt with the writer Ingeborg Bachmann in her new film. Vicky Krieps and Ronald Zehrfeld play in "Ingeborg Bachmann - Journey into the Desert". Atef filmed the novel "Someday we will tell each other everything" by Daniela Krien. The book describes the relationship of a young woman to an elderly farmer.
Actress Paula Beer can be seen again in Petzold's new film "Red Sky". Petzold and Beer also worked together in "Undine", for which the actress won a Silver Bear at the Berlinale three years ago. Hochhäusler's project "Until the end of the night" was announced as a detective story, Schanelec is there with "Music".
Chatrian said they tried to accommodate many genres. Also in the running is "Manodrome" by John Trengove, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Adrien Brody. Films by Philippe Garrel, Ivan Sen, Zhang Lu, Matt Johnson and Giacomo Abbruzzese, starring Franz Rogowski, are also in the competition. A Japanese animation film is also planned.
After two exceptional years, the Berlinale is to take place again this time without pandemic restrictions. In contrast to last year, the cinemas can be fully occupied again. The US actress Kristen Stewart will chair the international jury this time. The director and Oscar winner Steven Spielberg is to be honored in Berlin for his life's work.
In the past few weeks, some film titles had already been released. The program includes a documentary about the former tennis star Boris Becker, the film "Golda" with actress Helen Mirren, the drama "Tár" with Cate Blanchett and Nina Hoss, the film adaptation "Sonne und Beton" based on the book by Felix Lobrecht and the Film "Seneca" with John Malkovich. The Berlinale will open with the comedy "She Came to Me" by Rebecca Miller. It features Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones") and Anne Hathaway ("The Devil Wears Prada").
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