direttore Paolo Di Maira

BERLINALE/The Best Offer is out of Competition

The Grandmaster” by the director and chairman of the jury, Wong Kar Wai, will be opening the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, from 7th – 17th February: martial arts, the life and times of the mentor and maestro of Bruce Lee, set in 1930s

China, included in the official selection but – obviously – out of competition. Also out of competition are “Night Train to Lisbon” by Bille August with Jeremy Irons, Martina Gedeck, Christopher Lee and Charlotte Rampling, and “Before Midnight” by Richard Linklater starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
The competition section features a rich line-up which includes, amongst others, long-awaited works such as “Promised Land” by Gus van Sant, the DreamWorks cartoon “The Croods” by Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders, “Camille Claudel 1915” by Bruno Dumont, “Elle s’en va” by Emmanuelle Bercot, “Closed Curtain” by Jafar Panahi, “Side Effects” by Steven Soderbergh and “Prince Avalanche” by David Gordon Green. Also out of competition is “Dark Blood” by George Sluizer, which promises to be the “big story” of this edition as it is the last movie by River Phoenix who died suddenly during filming.
“Independent cinema is going through a rebirth all over the world”, says the festival director Dieter Kosslick. “Fast and turbulent: life is hard and unfair, but it still provides lots of entertainment”.

Evidently we Italians have not been able to embrace this phase. In fact, once again, our movies are noticeable by their absence at the Berlinale: it is the same old story, after a relatively good edition last year, when the Taviani brothers’ “Caesar must die “ was selected and went on (surprisingly it should be said) to win the festival.

This time Italy will only be represented by a handful of titles by young filmmakers in the fringe sections and no established names except for Giuseppe Tornatore and “The best offer “ in the Berlinale Special, where it will be in the illustrious company of Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables” and “The Look of Love” by Michael Winterbottom, Ken Loach (with the documentary “The Spirit of ‘45”) and Jane Campion (who will be presenting her mini-series “Top of the Lake”).

The problems with this festival are well known and are nothing new: the Italians have always favored other showcases deemed to be more prestigious, that offer the possibility of greater visibility and promotion. It could also be said that this year not many of the movies were coherent with the line taken by the Berlinale.
But, quite extraordinarily, there were two Italian movies in competition at Sundance, the festival that, in a certain way, fishes from the same “pond” as the Berlinale: “There will come a day” by Giorgio Diritti, set in Amazonia, and “The Future” by Alicia Scherson, a co-production by Mario Mazzarotto’s Movimento Film with Chile, Germany and Spain, based on the novel by Roberto Bolaño, both independents with an international, original feel.

In Berlin the Italian flag will be flying in the Forum section thanks to “Dark Matter”, a documentary by Massimo D’Anolfi and Martina Parenti and, at least in part, the co-production with Greece, “I kóri (The Daughter)” by Thanos Anastopoulos. Then there are the shorts “Matilde” by Vito Palmieri (in the Generation Kplus section) and “Al Intithar” by Mario Rizzi (a co-production with the United Arab Emirates in the Berlinale Shorts section).

Finally, Cristina Comencini and Alice Rohrwacher will be in Germany looking for possible co-production partners on the international market. Their projects (respectively “Don’t Forget” and “Le Meraviglie. When You Were Born”), were selected from hundreds of titles, along with another 36, for the Berlinale Co-Production Market.

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