Berlin International Film Festival 2011 (10-20 February)

February 21st, 2011 - Graham Eley

Against the ropes Berlin IFF struggling to retain its top four status needs a strong 2011 showing.

 

True Grit (Coen Bros) continues its strong Oscar campaign by opening the BIFF tonight out of competition.

 

Bela Tarr, Joshua Marston & Asghar Farhadi are amongst the more prominent filmmakers in a competition that seems to offer one of the more interesting line-ups of recent years.  The competition includes potentially intriguing debuts from Ralph Fiennes & Paula Markovitch.

 

Isabella Rossellini heads the international jury, which includes Canadian maverick filmmaker Guy Maddin.  Jafar Panahi is unable to take his place on the jury following his 6 year prison sentence last December at the hands of the Iranian authorities.  The jury will retain his empty chair by way of a silent protest.

 

Tomboy, Celine Sciamma’s follow up to Water Lilies, is amongst the more eagerly awaited films showing in the Panorama section.  The sidebar also includes Jose Padiha’s sequel to his 2008 BIFF Golden Bear winner, Elite Squad.

 

Elsewhere, unfairly out of favour, Wim Wenders, shows his 3D documentary portrayal of Pina Bausch.

 

 

Competion line-up:

 

A Mysterious World

D. Rodrigo Moreno

 

High expectations these days for any high profile festival film from Argentina.

 

 

Come Rain, Come Shine

D. Lee Yoon-ki

 

Follow up to My Dear Enemy (2009) is the sole Asian representative in competition?

 

 

Coriolanus

D.  Ralph Fiennes

 

The latest Shakespeare on film offering for Fiennes’ directorial debut.  Potentially, a welcome addition to the sub-genre.

 

 

The Future

D. Miranda July

 

International premier for July’s Sundance hit.

 

 

If Not Us, Who

D. Andres Veiel

 

Interest in the Red Army remains unabated.

 

 

The Forgiveness of Blood

D. Joshua Marston

 

High expectations for Marston’s follow up to Maria Full of Grace

 

 

Innocent Saturday

D. Alexander Mindadze

 

Chernobyl disaster drama.

 

 

Lipstikka

D. Jonathan Sagall

 

Jerusalem reflections in Israel/UK co-production from the Canadian filmmaker.

 

 

Margin Call

D. JC Chandor

 

Credit crunch drama starring Kevin Stacey for another festival hit arriving from Sundance.

 

 

Nader and Simin, A Separation

D. Asghar Farhadi

 

Farhadi returns to Berlin where he picked up a Silver Bear for his 2009 festival hit About Elly.

 

 

Our Grand Despair

D. Seyfi Teoman

 

A return to Berlin also for Teoman for the follow up to the Summer Book.

 

 

The Prize

D. Paula Markovitch

 

The Argentine Military Junta continues to attract filmmakers over 20 years after its collapse.

 

 

Sleeping Sickness

D. Ulrich Kohler

 

European aid workers in Africa drama has scope for some relevant observations.

 

 

Tales of the Night

D. Michel Ocelot

 

The only 3D film in competition.

 

 

The Turin Horse

Bela Tarr

 

Tarr meets Nietzsche in the most keenly awaited competition entry this year.

 

 

Yelling to the Sky

D. Victoria Mahoney

 

Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) returns as another teenager up against it in a socially deprived neighbourhood.
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Asghar Farhadi’s highly acclaimed Nadir & Simin, A Separation was the major winner at the BIFF awards last night landing the Golden Bear for best film and Silver Bears for best actor and actress.  No stranger to BIFF success, Farhadi received a best director’s Silver Bear for his previous film and festival circuit hit, About Elly.

There was notable success also for one of the great auteurs of world cinema, Bela Tarr, whose The Turin Horse received a Silver Bear for The Jury Grand Prix and the international critics FIPRESCI award.

 

German filmmaker, Ulrich Kohler, bagged a Silver Bear in the best director category for Sleeping Success.

 

The Silver Bears for best screenplay went to Joshua Marston & Andamion Murataj for The Forgiveness of Blood (Joshua Marston) and best cinematography (via the artistic achievement award) to Wojciech Staron for the Prize (Paula Markovitch).

 

BIFF director, Dieter Kosslick, will be hoping that the 61st Edition’s impressive competition line-up and high profile award winners will mark a turning point in the festival’s recent fortunes where it has struggled to retain its top four status.

 

Awards:

 

Golden Bear for Best Film – Nadir & Simin, A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)

 

Silver Bear, The Jury Grand Prix – The Turin Horse (Bela Tarr)

 

Silver Bear, Best Director – Ulrich Kohler (Sleeping Sickness)

 

Silver Bear, Best Actress – Actress-ensemble in Nadir & Simin, A Separation

 

Silver Bear, Best Actor – Actor-ensemble in Nadir & Simin, A Separation

 

Silver Bear, Best Script – Joshua Marston & Andamion Murataj (Forgiveness of Blood)

 

Silver Bear, Best Cinematography (via the artistic achievement award) – Wojciech Staron (The Prize)

 

Alfred Bauer Prize for innovation – If Not Us, Who (Andres Veiel)

 

Best First Feature – On the Ice (Okpeaha MacLean)

 

FIPRESCI award (competition films) –  The Turin Horse (Bela Tarr)

 

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