Berlinale 2014 preview

February 2nd, 2014
Author: Meredith Taylor

20147918_7 copyThe 64th Berlin International Film Festival is ready to roll with 20 of the 23 films in the Competition programme vying for the GOLDEN and SILVER BEARS. The following countries are participating: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Uruguay and the USA. The Competition programme includes 18 world premieres and three feature debuts.The Award Ceremony will take place at the Berlinale Palast on Saturday, February 15, 2014.

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Of the festival big-hitters, Wes Andersen’s UK dramady THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL is the star-studded, opening gala showcasing the experiences of an inter-war concierge and one Zero Moustafa; NO MAN’S LAND from China is an adventure drama set in the Gobi desert and George Clooney’s wartime drama THE MONUMENTS MEN, in which he also stars alongside Matt Damon and Bill Murray, are the titles that will attract the glitzy crowds.

Hot of the runway at Sundance is Richard Linklater’s highly-regarded BOYHOOD. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as his parents, it follows a small boy from six to eighteen through emotional development and introduces Ellar Coltrane as Mason.  John Michael McDonagh’s latest tale from Ireland, CALVARY is a dark morality tale that broods on Catholism, good and evil in the modern world and stars his long-term collaborator Brenden Gleeson. The full, unexpiated version of Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC (Part One) is also headlining the festival, although quite why this features so prominently when both parts have already been released in Europe, is beyond comprehension. THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY is the long-awaited directorial debut from Hossein Amini, based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, it stars Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst. The Korean break-out hit SNOWPIERCER will finally screen in Berlin. It imagines a world where the rich and the poor are divided on a train after an ice-age apocalypse sends humanity into meltdown. And best of all, it stars Tilda Swinton.

Tournage YSLBut in the lesser-known section of the festival, there are undoubtedly some hidden gems. Of the French films, I’m looking forward to Sophie Fillieres’ comedy IF YOU DON’T, I WILL (Panorama) which stars Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Davos.  I’m also intrigued to see how Christophe Gans will re-work LA BELLE ET LA BETE (Competition, out of Competition) with his stellar cast of Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux.  Jalil Lespert’s biopic drama about the fashion designer SAINT LAURENT and his life with partner Pierre Berge also looks a glossy art house treat, despite its distinctly un-starry cast.

Norway leads the Nordic contribution this year with Hans Petter Moland’s Competition entry IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE. It has Stellan Skarsgard and Bruno Ganz and promises to be great fun, judging by his quietly humorous previous hit, A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN (from 2010).  From Norway also comes BLIND (Panorama). Written and directed by Eskil Vogt (Oslo, August 31st), it bravely attempts to probe the subconscious of a newly sightless woman.  Documentary-wise Norway also brings architectural portmanteau piece CATHEDRALS OF CULTURE, which boasts a fine pedigree of directors including Wim Wenders, Robert Redford and Michael Madsen.

20143250_2 copyThe Greek New Wave has been the source of much excitement in recent years and we can look forward to Yannis Economides’ competition entry TO MIKRO PSARI, a crime drama that follows in the footsteps of his previous successful outings MATCHBOX and SOUL KICKING. Athanasios Karanikolas will be in Berlin to present STO SPITI (Forum), a family drama. Yorgos Servetas’ STANDING ASIDE, WATCHING, is another bracing New Wave piece that uses deserted streets and industrial sites to express the lethargy that has descended on a small community after the troubles.

Also on the documentary front, anyone who enjoys Canadian Denis Cote’s work – BESTIAIRE, CURLING AND VIC + FLO SAW A BEAR, will be glad to see his latest film,  JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING (Forum), an absurdist piece that ponders the working connection between man and machine.  German doc VULVA looks like an intriguing examination of the timely issues of circumcision, anatomical myths and intimacy surrounding the most sensitive part of the female body.  Another provocative-looking and very welcome documentary is FUCKING DIFFERENT XXY  in which initiator Kristian Petersen bravely attempts to break down classic gender identities in order to overturn stereotypes of ‘what’s normal’.  Other gay-themed outings at the festival are TEST, US director Chris Mason Johnson’s eighties drama set during the AIDS crisis and UNFRIEND, a Filippino drama which explores and expresses the repressed emotions unleashed from a gay teenage break-up.

And where would Berlinale be without the tradition of the homage and retrospectives strands. This year’s glittering classics in the Retrospectives this year range from Howard Hawks’ AIR FORCE; to Jean Cocteau’s LA BELLE ET LA BETE;  Orson Wells’ CITIZEN KANE;  Murnau’s FAUST; Clarence Brown’s FLESH AND THE DEVIL; Satyajit Ray’s NAYAK; and Marcel Carne’s QUAI DES BRUMES; not to mention Akira Kurosawa’s RASHOMON; Josef von Sternberg’s SHANGHAI EXPRESS. But lovers of Derek Jarman will be pleased that his own retrospective will be taking place at the BFI during February and March.

Here’s the C O M P E T I T I O N section in full:


Bai Ri Yan Huo (Black Coal, Thin Ice)  WORLD PREMIERE

People’s Republic of China

By Yinan Diao (Night TrainUniform)

With Fan Liao, Lun Mei Gwei, Xuebing Wang




By Richard Linklater (Before Midnight, Me & Orson Welles)

With Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater

the Little House copyChiisai Ouchi (The Little House) INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE


By Yoji Yamada (Tokyo FamilyAbout Her Brother)

With Takako Matsu, Haru Kuroki, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Chieko Baisho


Historia del miedo (History of Fear)  WORLD PREMIERE History of Fear copy

Argentina / Uruguay / Germany / France

By Benjamin Naishtat – feature debut

With Jonathan Da Rosa, Claudia Cantero, Mirella Pascual, Cesar Bordon, Tatiana Gimenez

Jack copyJack – WORLD PREMIERE


By Edward Berger

With Ivo Pietzcker, Georg Arms, Luise Heyer, Vincent Redetzki, Jacob Matschenz, Nele Mueller-Stöfen


20141257_2Kraftidioten (In Order of Disappearance) WORLD PREMIERE

Norway / Sweden / Denmark

By Hans Petter Moland (A Somewhat Gentle ManThe Beautiful Country)

With Stellan Skarsgård, Bruno Ganz, Pål Sverre Hagen, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Jakob Oftebro, Anders Baasmo Christiansen


20147599_1Kreuzweg (Stations of the Cross)  WORLD PREMIERE


By Dietrich Brüggemann (MoveRenn, wenn du kannst)

With Lea van Acken, Franziska Weisz, Florian Stetter

20141359_2La belle et la bête (Beauty and the Beast) INTERNATIONAL PREM

France / Germany

By Christophe Gans (Silent HillBrotherhood of the Wolf)

With Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux, André Dussollier

Out of competition

  20142336_2 copyLa tercera orilla (The Third Side of the River)  WORLD PREMIERE

Argentina / Germany / Netherlands

By Celina Murga (A Week Alone, Ana and the Others, Normal School)

With Alian Devetac, Daniel Veronese, Gaby Ferrero, Irina Wetzel, Dylan Agostini van del Boch

 20144685_1La voie de l‘ennemi (Two Men in Town) WORLD PREMIERE

France / Algeria / USA / Belgium

By Rachid Bouchareb (London RiverLittle Senegal)

With Forest Whitaker, Harvey Keitel, Brenda Blethyn, Luis Guzmán, Dolores Heredia


20143697_4Macondo  WORLD PREMIERE


By Sudabeh Mortezai – feature debut

With Ramasan Minkailov, Aslan Elbiev, Kheda Gazieva


20142433_1Praia do Futuro   WORLD PREMIERE

Brazil / Germany

By Karim Aïnouz (Suely in the SkyMadame Satã)

With Wagner Moura, Clemens Schick, Jesuita Barbosa

 Tui NaTui Na (Blind Massage)   WORLD PREMIERE

People’s Republic of China / France

By Ye Lou (MisterySuzhou River)

With Hao Qin, Xiaodong Guo, Lei Zhang



People’s Republic of China

By Hao Ning (Crazy Stone, Mongolian Ping Pong)

With Zheng Xu, Nan Yu, Bo Huang, Bujie Duo

20142518_1Zwischen Welten (Inbetween Worlds)  WORLD PREMIERE


By Feo Aladag (When We Leave)

With Ronald Zehrfeld





Panorama fictional features – IMAGES TO FOLLOW SHORTLY

Asabani Nistam! (I’m Not Angry!) – Iran

by Reza Dormishian

With Baran Kosari, Navid Mohammadzadeh, Reza Behboudi, Misagh Zare, Bahram Afshari


_Blind copy Blind – Norway / Netherlands

by Eskil Vogt

With Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali, Marius Kolbenstvedt


 Difret – Ethopia

by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari

With Meron Getnet, Tizita Hagere


Fieber (Fever) – Luxembourg / Austria

By Elfi Mikesch

With Eva Mattes, Martin Wuttke, Carolina Cardoso, Nicole Max, Sascha Ley


20142287_1 copyGüeros – Mexico

By Alonso Ruízpalacios

With Ilse Salas





Highway  India

By Imtiaz Ali

With Randeep Hooda, Alia Bhatt


Ieji (Homeland) – Japan

By Nao Kubota

With Kenichi Matsuyama, Yuko Tanaka, Sakura Ando, Takashi Yamanaka, Seiyo Uchino


In Grazia di Dio  Italy

By Edoardo Winspeare

With Celeste Casciaro, Laura Licchetta, Barbara De Matteis, Anna Boccadamo, Gustavo Caputo


-LOVEISSTRANGE copyLove Is Strange  USA

By Ira Sachs

With John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Charlie Tahan, Cheyenne Jackson



Mo Jing (That Demon Within) – Hong Kong, China

By Dante Lam

With Daniel Wu, Nick Cheung


20140967_2 copyNa kathese ke na kitas (Standing Aside, Watching) – Greece EP

By Yorgos Servetas

With Marina Symeou, Marianthi Pantelopoulou, Yorgos Kafetzopoulos, Nikos Georgaki



Night Flight – Republic of Korea WP

By LeeSong Hee-il

With Lee Jae-jun, Kwak Shi-yang

20147070_2 copyNước (2030) – Vietnam  WP

By Nghiêm-Minh Nguyễn-Võ

With Quỳnh Hoa, Quý Bình, Thạch Kim Long, Hoàng Trần Minh Đức, Hoàng Phi



PatardzlebiPatardzlebi (Brides) – Georgia / France  WP

By Tinatin Kajrishvili

With Mari Kitia, Giorgi MaskharashvilI

Risse im Beton (Cracks in Concrete) – Austria  WP

By Umut Dağ

With Murathan Muslu, Alechan Tagaev, Mehmet Ali Salman, Erdem Turkoglu, Ivan Kriznjak

The Midnight After – Hong Kong, China  WP

By Fruit Chan

With Wong You-nam, Simon Yam, Kara Hui, Janice Man, Suet La

Viharsarok (Land of Storms) – Hungary   WP

By Adam Császi

With Andras Sütő, Ádám Varga, Sebastian Urzendowsky

YE (The Night) – People’s Republic of China  WP

By Hao Zhou

With Zhou Hao, Liu Xiao Xiao, Li Jin Kang, Zhou Feng Qi 

Arrête ou je continue (If You Don’t, I Willby Sophie Fillières, France (WP)

Bai Mi Zha Dan Ke (The Rice Bomberby Cho Li, Taiwan (WP)

Bing Du (Ice Poison) by Midi Z, Taiwan / Myanmar (WP)

Calvary by John Michael McDonagh, Ireland / United Kingdom (EP)


Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (The Way He Looks) by Daniel Ribeiro, Brazil (WP)

Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? by Michel Gondry, France (EP)

O Homem das Multidões (The Man of the Crowd) by Marcelo Gomes, Cao Guimarães, Brazil (IP)

Papilio Buddha by Jayan Cherian, India / USA (EP)

Quick Change by Eduardo Roy Jr., Philippines (IP)

Stereo by Maximilian Erlenwein, Germany (WP)

Test by Chris Mason Johnson, USA (EP)


The Better Angels by A. J Edwards, USA (IP)

Kuzu (The Lamb) by Kutluğ Ataman, Germany / Turkey (WP)

Things People Do by Saar Klein, USA (WP)

Triptyque (Triptych) by Robert Lepage, Pedro Pires, Canada (EP)

Über-Ich und Du (Superegos) by Benjamin Heisenberg, Germany / Switzerland / Austria (WP)

Unfriend by Joselito Altarejos, Philippines (WP)

Xi You (Journey to the West) by Tsai Ming-liang, France / Taiwan (WP)

Yves Saint Laurent by Jalil Lespert, France (IP)

(WP= World Premiere, IP= International Premiere, EP = European Premiere)





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