Berlinale 2014 kicked off


Big stars and great movies, competitions and world premieres
at Berlin’s international film festival.

About 400 films make up the Berlinale festival’s this year – some even sold out well in advance. Twenty films are vying for the Golden and Silver Bear awards, according to www.dw.de . This year’s candidates have a strong Chinese – and even stronger German accent. Three front-runners out of Asia are independent films that stray from the glitz and glamour to tell the story of ordinary people. The strong showing from China reflects the rapidly growing importance of film and cinema in the Far East, says festival director Dieter Kosslick. „The Grand Budapest Hotel“ movie  will open the festival.
The Berlinale is also a good thermometer for just how healthy the German film industry is. At the 64th annual festival this year, four German films are part of the competition.
Even the opening film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” from Wes Anderson has a German connection. It was filmed in Görlitz and is one of the many successful international co-productions to appear at the festival, and tells a European story: The cryptic tragic comedy with a star-studded cast is set in the tumultuous time period between World Wars.
Outside of the contest, George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men,” is a current film about the dangerous hunt for art stolen by the Nazis in World War II.
The Forum and Panorama sections of the festival offer the usual overview of the international Art House Cinema scene, which generally tackles politics.
Films about the Holocaust appear in various sections. One of the notables is “Concentration Camp Factual Survey,” about the concentration camp in Bergen-Belsen. Alfred Hitchcock worked on the film in 1945, and the London Imperial War Museum completed the final version.
Whether the Golden or Silver Bears ultimately go to Brazil, Argentina, France, China, Austria, Japan, Norway, Great Britain, Germany or the US will be decided by an eight-member jury chaired by successful producer James Schamus (“Brokeback Mountain” and “Lost in Translation”). Two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltzm, James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, Iranian director and artist Mitra Farahani, and top Asian actor Tony Leung are all part of the jury.
One winner has already been determined: British director, Ken Loach, a master of social-realist film, will be receiving an Honorary Golden Bear for his nearly 50-year film career.
Romanian films
Romanian films will also be present at Berlinale and the European Film Market 2014, but not in the official competition: The Second Game, directed by Corneliu Porumboiu and The Forest is Like The Mountains, directed by Christiane Schmidt, Didier Guillain in the “Forum” section. A Very Unsettled Summer, directed by Anca Damian, and The Unsaved, directed by Igor Cobileanschi will be also screened.

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