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Berlin Film Festival announces lineup; includes Bela Tarr, Spike Jonze, more

Joshua Brunsting

by: Joshua Brunsting
January 18th, 2011

Spike Jonze

With Sundance literally days away, it appears as though the Berlin Film Festival  has come and stolen some momentum.

We have the upcoming Berlinale’s full in-competition line up, and I must say, it’s a really weird blend of films.

Far and away the most interesting film for anyone glancing at this line up has to be Bela Tarr’s THE TURIN HOUSE, which will be a world premiere.  The film will be the last from the beloved filmmaker, and has been suffering from delay after delay for quite some time.  Think of it as the indie, foreign TREE OF LIFE, in a way. TURIN HOUSE follows “a rural farmer who makes his living taking on carting jobs into the city with his horse-drawn cart. His horse is old and in very poor health, but does its best to obey its master's commands. The farmer and his daughter must come to the understanding that it will be unable to go on sustaining their livelihoods. The dying of the horse is the foundation of this tragic tale.”  Toss in Tarr’s iconic style of long takes and minimalistic aesthetic , and you have easily the festival’s most anticipated project.

Another interesting addition would be Joshua Marston’s MARIA FULL OF GRACE follow-up, THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD.  I’m a huge Marston fan, and this should prove to be no different.  Using a cast of unknowns, the film is set in Albania, and sounds like it could be a real winner.

But then you have the odd addition of J.C. Chandor’s MARGIN CALL.  While I’m sure the film is fine (how could you go wrong with Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, and Demi Moore), it seems like a really weird addition to a relatively indie/art house affair.  Toss in the premiere of Liam Neeson’s UNKNOWN (out of competition), and you have a Berlinale that is both interesting, and a tad bit weird.

However, the one piece of cinema I think will be getting the most buzz respectively, will be Spike Jonze’s short film, SCENES FROM THE SUBURBS.  Set to debut at the festival, the film “expands the music video into a film without abandoning the structure of a clip. The future has become reality. And the threat lies in the proximity of the military. Memories of a past summer.”  Long talked about as his Arcade Fire short, the film sees the band teaming up with the director, for what may be one of the most interesting music videos of recent memory.  Here’s to hoping.

What film are you most looking forward to? Here’s the lineup:

A Torinói Ló (The Turin Horse) Hungary/France/Germany/Switzerland
By Béla Tarr (Satantango, Werckmeister Harmonies)
With János Derzsi, Erika Bók, Mihály Kormos
World premiere

Almanya - Willkommen in Deutschland (Almanya) Germany
By Yasemin Samdereli – debut film
With Vedat Erincin, Fahri Yardin, Aylin Tezel,Lilay Huser, Demet Gül
World premiere / Out of Competition

El premio (The Prize) Mexico/France/Poland/Germany
By Paula Markovitch – debut film
With Paula Galinelli Hertzog, Sharon Herrera, Laura Agorreca, Viviana
Suraniti, Uriel Lasillo
World premiere

Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (Nader And Simin, A Separation) Iran
By Asghar Farhadi (About Elly, Fireworks Wednesday)
With Leila Hatami, Peyman Moadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, Sarina
Farhadi
International premiere

Les contes de la nuit (Tales Of The Night) France
By Michel Ocelot
World premiere – animated film in 3D

Les femmes du 6ème étage (Service Entrance) France
By Philippe Le Guay (Le coût de la vie)
With Fabrice Lucchini, Sandrine Kiberlain, Carmen Maura, Natalia Verbeke
International premiere / Out of Competition

Margin Call USA
By JC Chandor – debut film
With Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore , Paul Bettany, Zach Quinto
International premiere

Mein bester Feind (My Best Enemy) Austria/Luxemburg
By Wolfgang Murnberger (The Bone Man)
With Moritz Bleibtreu, Georg Friedrich, Ursula Strauss, Uwe Bohm,
Marthe Keller, Udo Samel
World premiere / Out of Competition

Saranghanda, Saranghaji Anneunda (Come Rain Come Shine) Republic of Korea
By Lee Yoon-ki (Love Talk, This Charming Girl)
With Lim Soo-jung, Hyan Bin
World premiere

Schlafkrankheit (Sleeping Sickness) Germany/France/Netherlands
By Ulrich Köhler (Windows on Monday, Bungalow)
With Pierre Bokma, Jean-Christophe Folly, Jenny Schily, Hippolyte Girardot
World premiere

The Forgiveness Of Blood USA
By Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace)
With Tristan Halilaj, Sindi Laçej, Refet Abazi, Ilire Vinca, Çelaj, Çun Lajçi
World premiere

Un Mundo Misterioso (A Mysterious World) Argentina/Germany/Uruguay
By Rodrigo Moreno (The Custodian)
With Esteban Bigliardi, Cecilia Rainero, Rosario Bléfari
World premiere

Unknown Germany/Great Britain/France
By Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan)
With Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Bruno Ganz
International premiere / Out of Competition

V Subbotu (Innocent Saturday) Russia/Germany/Ukraine
By Alexander Mindadze (Otryv/ Soar)
With Anton Shagin, Svetlana Smirnova-Martsinkievich, Stanislav
Rjadinsky, Vjacheslav Petkun, Sergej Gromov
World premiere

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