The 57th Berlin International Film Festival opens Thursday with the world premiere of Olivier Dahan’s “La Vie en Rose” and runs until Feb. 18. A total of 373 films will be shown during the 11-day festival.
Twenty-six films will be shown in the official competition section, with 22 of them competing for the festival’s Golden and Silver Bear awards. The bear is the symbol of Berlin and is an icon for the festival.
The president of this year’s jury is American director Paul Schrader, famous for his classic “American Gigolo.” One of Schrader’s own films, “The Walker”, whose cast includes Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall, Willem Dafoe and blossoming German star Moritz Bleibtreu, will be shown out of competition at the festival. Schrader and the other judges will select the festival’s winning films.
This year, many have been critical of what they claim is an under-representation of German films. There are only two German productions in the official competition: Stefan Ruzowitzky’s World War II drama “Die Fälscher” (“The Counterfeiters”) and the thriller “Yella” by Christian Petzold.
Last year, many criticized festival director Dieter Kosslick of turning the Berlin Film Festival upside-down because the German films he chose were flops commercially. This year, Kosslick and his film selection jury rejected “The Life of Others.” This film later drew very large audiences and won every European film prize it was eligible for. The film also received an Oscar nomination for this year’s best foreign film.
However the Kosslick doesn’t seem bothered by the criticism. “German film is strongly represented in all sections of the festival,” he said. He stressed the fact that German actors and actresses such as Martina Gedeck, Julia Jentsch, and Moritz Bleibtreu were all appearing in the festival in international productions. “I think the German film industry can be very satisfied,” Kosslick said