Berlinale's Panorama Section Announces Partial 2005 20th Edition Slate
by Brian Brooks
The Berlin International Film Festival's Panorama section has announced the first half of its slate of films for its 20th anniversary edition beginning next month in the German capital. The section spotlights "arthouse" programming from both newcomer and established filmmakers. Panorama originated from the "Info-Schau," which was established to complement the Competition section of the festival in the 1970s. Former section head Manfred Salzgeber gave Panorama its distinct content-oriented format in 1985, exploring social issues.
"We want to pursue social processes with our program," commented Panorama's current head Wieland Speck in a statement. "For us, it's about finding films that push forward exactly what is currently happening in society's niches and at its fringes." In celebration of its second decade, Panorama will have a multimedia installation exhibited at the HomeBase Panorama Lounge in Potsdamer Platz featuring selected stills from over 1200 films in addition to festival photos.
This year's section will explore questions pertaining to "what preoccupies contemporary filmmakers," as well as "what stories motivate them," and "which life scripts do they pursue and which filmic forms do they use to tell them." Included in the 20 titles announced so far is Belgian/French production "Ultranova" by Bouli Lanners. The film explores a thirty-something seller of "ready-made" mansions who lives in isolation, but meets a woman who is attracted to the loner. From Ireland, Lenny Abrahamson's story of two inseparable friends mired in the world of heroin in "Adam and Paul" will screen along with Sally Potter's "Yes" starring Joan Allen. "Yes" follows an Irish-American scientist who, amidst a marital breakdown, begins an affair with a Lebanese surgeon in London.
Director-star Kevin Spacey's "Beyond the Sea," also starring Kate Bosworth, John Goodman and Brenda Blethyn is in the line up. Spacey recently received a Golden Globe nomination for best actor for his role in the film. Also from the U.S. is Ira Sachs' "Forty Shades of Blue," about a Russian woman who begins an affair with her musician husband's estranged son. The film is also in competition at this year's upcoming Sundance Film Festival.
Toronto 2004 film "Childstar" by Don McKellar, who also stars in the film along with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Mark Rendall, will screen in the section. The film, recently named one of "Canada's Top Ten," an annual honor organized by the Toronto International Film Festival Group, centers on a troubled American child star who disappears from the set of his big budget film-set in Canada. Also slated is Brazilian director Claudio Torres' story of the collision between rich and poor against the famous backdrop of Rio de Janeiro's "Christ the Redeemer" statue.
Olivier Duscatel returns to Berlin with his film "Crustaces et Coquillages" (Mariscos Beach), co-directed with Jacques Martineau along with fellow French filmmaker Frederic Balekdjian's "Les Mauvais Joueurs" (Gamblers). British filmmaker Dominic Savage's "Love + Hate" will also screen as well as Fruit Chan's "Dumplings" starring Bai Ling. Other films on the roster include Hong Kong filmmaker Yon Fan's "Colour Blossom," Liu Bingjian's "Plastic Flowers" (China); Yesim Ustaoglu's "Waiting for the Clouds" (Turkey); Ernest Abdyjaparou's "Saratan" (Kyrgyzstan/Germany); "Dallas" by Malgorzata Szumowska (Poland); "For the Living and the Dead" by Kari Paljakka (Finland); and Anahi Berneri's "A Year Without Love" (Argentina). The 55th Berlinale takes place February 10-20 in Berlin.