65th Berlinale first films In Competition
The 65th Berlin Film Festival has announced the first seven films that will participate in the Competition program. The selection seems already quite interesting since many acclaimed directors will come or return to Berlin with their latest works.
Terrence Malick who won the Golden Bear in 1999 with The Thin Red Line is competing with his new drama Knight of Cups. As it is accustomed for Malick’s works the details of the project are limited but it is already known that the leading actors are Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman.
Another Berlinale Bear winner who participates this year is Andreas Dresen. The German director who has won Silver Berlin Bear in 2002 for his Halbe Treppe, this year directs Als wir träumten (As We Were Dreaming), a historical drama based on Clemens Meyer’s homonymous book. The lead actors are Merlin Rose, Julius Nitschkoff, Joel Basman and Marcel Heuperman.
Peter Greenaway is also a Berlinale favorite and returns to Berlin with Eisenstein in Guanajuato. This is the first part of Eisenstein’s biopic films that will continue in 2016 with The Eisenstein Handshakes. The film focuses on the experiences of Sergei Eisenstein when he visited Mexico in 1931 to consider a film privately funded by American pro-Communist sympathizers. Elmer Bäck will be playing Sergei Eisenstein.
Alexey German, Jr – the son of the acclaimed Russian director Alexey German – participates for the first time in Berlin. The director whose last feature film was Paper Soldier (2008) has finished his father’s magnum opus Hard to Be a God (2013) and now he presents his new feature film entitled Pod Electricheskimi Oblakami (Under Electric Clouds). According to the official reports Lui Frank, Merab Ninidze, Viktoriya Korotkova, Chulpan Khamatova and Anastasiya Melnikova are the leading actors.
English director Andrew Haigh has been a former Berlinale Generation participant and he has become widely known with his debut feature gay drama Weekend (2011). His newest film 45 Years is dealing with a 45th wedding anniversary party when a letter for the husband arrives. The body of his first love has been discovered, frozen and preserved in the icy glaciers of the Swiss Alps. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are the protagonists.
Jayro Bustamante’s debut feature film will also mark the first participation of a film from Guatemala to the Competition program. Ixcanul (Ixcanul Volcano) tells the story of Maria, a 17-year-old Mayan woman who lives on the slopes of an active volcano in Guatemala. An arranged marriage awaits her. Although Maria dreams of seeing the city, her status as an indigenous woman does not allow her to go out into that modern world. María Mercedes Coroy and María Telón are playing the leading roles.
Finally the opulent live action film adaptation Cinderella by Kenneth Branagh will screen out of competition. This will be a new interpretation of the well-known fable with an impressive cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, Derek Jacobi und Helena Bonham Carter.
The 65th Berlin Film Festival starts in February 5th 2015.