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Berlinale 2013: The 10 Films We Want to See

By Peter Knegt and Eric Kohn | Indiewire February 6, 2013 at 9:28AM

The 63rd Berlin International Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, offering dozens (and dozens) of world premieres across mutliple sections. By the time the festival's Golden and Silver Bears are handed out next weekend, we'll have a good idea as to some of the best world cinema coming to theaters near you (eventually, that is -- some of last year's program is just coming out Stateside now).

Nina Hoss in "Gold."
Nina Hoss in "Gold."
Gold (Thomas Arslan, Germany)
Nina Hoss -- who gave one of the best performances of last year's Berlinale in "Barbara" -- stars in one of the festival's best homegrown bets again this year. Berlin native Thomas Arslan puts the actress in late 1800s Canada, where a group of German settlers hoping to find their fortune in the recently discovered goldfields of the Yukon. Their 2,500 kilometer journey is not met without serious issues, however, giving us a very rare German-made, Canada-set modern western. It's in line with Arslan's previous work (almost all of which has screened at the Berlinale), which often features protagonists constantly on the move (Trojan in "Im Schatten"; Deniz in "Der schöne Tag). [Peter Knegt]

The Grandmaster (Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong)
Opening night films are always a mixed proposition at festivals, but word on the street is that Wong Kar Wai's "The Grandmaster" might be an exception. The Hong Kong auteur's movies never lack for supreme visual inspiration and it sounds like he brought out the big guns for this hyper-stylized account of Bruce Lee trainer Ip Man (Tony Leung). Those expecting a large scale action achievement will probably find themselves looking in the wrong place. But fans of Wong are almost certain to appreciate yet another lyrical collection of intimate moments culled from the more contemplative side of martial arts. [Eric Kohn]

Maladies (Carter, USA)
After making various cinematic appearances at Sundance last month, James Franco somehow also has a new film lined up for Berlin with Carter's "Maladies" (alongside Sundance alum "Interior. Leather Bar," which makes its international debut here). Working as a sort of play off the Franco's appearance on "General Hospital," he stars here -- alongside Catherine Keener, David Straithairn and Alan Cumming, no less -- as a successful soap opera actor who's retired because of his schizophrenia. Described by the Berlinale as "a sensitive exploration of perception which takes creativity and fine art, the voices we hear inside and out, impressions, and the world of the imagination just as seriously as do its protagonists," it could be far from accessible. But certainly should be interesting. [Peter Knegt]

This article is related to: Berlin International Film Festival

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