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by Peter Knegt and Eric Kohn
February 5, 2014 12:26 PM
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Berlin 2014: The 10 Films Indiewire Wants to See

"History of Fear"
This competition entry from first-time Argentinian director Benjamin Naishtat promises a quasi-post-apocalyptic tale about a society on the verge of collapse. Four years in the making, the drama promises a dark, murky exploration of socio-economic problems rendered in complex allegorical terms. The prominent slot given to the film and its alluring trailer suggest a unique experience bound to generate conversation in the wake of its premiere. Watch the trailer here.

"Nymphomaniac, Part 1: Long Version"
The first part of Lars Von Trier's epic is already out in some countries, and played a secret screening at Sundance. But in Berlin, we get the first look at Lars' true vision. His longer director's cut is having its world premiere at the fest, and we couldn't be more excited. Especially since early reviews of the edited version already suggest that Von Trier’s film, which features a cast that includes Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgaard, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman and Shia LaBeouf among many other familiar faces, brings an enticing literary and philosophical sensibility to its lewd subject matter. It'll likely be another reminder that no matter how much people like to characterize Von Trier as a provocateur, the ideas embedded in his work resonate even louder than the shocks.

Shia Labeouf and Stacy Martin in "Nymphomaniac."

"She's Lost Control"
Also recently announced as a selection for this year's SXSW Film Festival, first-timer Anja Marquardt's drama stars Brooke Bloom (last seen in 2013's sleeper festival hit "Swim Little Fish Swim") as a sex surrogate who falls in love with her client. In a recent coversation with Indiewire, SXSW head Janet Pierson called the film "really beautifully done," and the official synopsis refers to the film's "stylistically precocious" feel. Set in New York City, "She's Lost Control" has the aura of a real discovery -- a story of eroticism that isn't purely designed to titillate, focused on the emotional forces behind those who choose sexuality as their profession. 

"The Two Faces of January"
Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac star in this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel of the same name (directed by Hossein Amini, who adapted the screenplay for "Drive"), with Mortensen and Dunst starring as a couple who have fled to Greece after the con-artist husband killed a police officer. Oscar Isaac joins them a stranger who weasels his way into their lives, causing unexpected repercussions. Seeing as the author of the source material also penned "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (as well as Todd Haynes' upcoming "Carol"), we can expect plenty of globe-trotting characters hanging out in luxurious locations cloaked in a tinge of intrigue and tension when "January" debuts in Berlin.

"Yves Saint Laurent"
Jalil Lespert is bringing the story of famed fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent to the big screen in this biopic. On paper, his definitely makes for a cinematic story. The film begins in late 1950s Paris, when Saint Laurent takes up a position as assistant to couturier Christian Dior and then is suddenly made artistic director of one of the world’s most renowned fashion houses when Dior abruptly dies. Starring Pierre Niney as Saint Laurent, the film continues chronologically as the designer navigates the intense rise of his fame and the self-destructive nature of his social life. We're very curious to see how this translates onto the screen.

Indiewire will be offering full coverage from the 64th Berlin International Film Festival beginning tomorrow.

1 Comment

  • Julian Borg | February 5, 2014 5:11 PMReply

    Matthew Maggi devotes a lot of his free time learning about the film business. He is a very dedicated person, with a bubbly personality. He was so thrilled when he told me about the Berlin Festival which he was attending. Matthew needs all the encouragement from all of us so he can move forward in the very competitive field of the movie business. Well done son. Keep going.