DAILY NEWS: Re-Start Your Engines; Berlin Begins Next Week
by Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
(indieWIRE/02.02.01) -- Just as industry and press begin to get over their
hacking coughs and runny noses post-Sundance, the Berlin Film Festival
busily prepares for its launch next Wednesday with Jean-Jacques Annaud's big
budget opener "Enemy at the Gates," starring Jude Law and Ed Harris. Running through Feb. 18, the Berlin festival will showcase hundreds of new films
from around the world as well as hold its annual European Film Market.
Last week, the Berlinale announced the full line-up for its 51st edition,
including the diverse group of 24 features in competition vying for the
Golden and Silver Bear top awards. American indies are in scant supply in
the glitz-heavy Berlin competition, with English language entries going to
studio and Indiewood fare, from the world premieres of John Boorman's "The
Tailor of Panama" and Mike Nichol's HBO production "Wit" to already released entries like Spike Lee's "Bamboozled," Sean Penn's "The Pledge" and Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic." Last year, Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" took home the Golden Bear after it was already in theatrical release domestically.
French and Asian debuts seem particularly strong this year, with Catherine
("Romance") Breillat and Patrice ("Girl on the Bridge") Leconte unveiling their latest films, "Fat Girl," and "Felix and Lola," respectively, while Patrice Chereau's Sundance premiere "Intimacy" will also compete. From China, new director Wang Xiao-Shuai ("So Close to Paradise," Cannes 1999) will screen "Beijing Bicycles" and from Taiwan comes Ling Chin-sen's "Betelnut Beauty." Japan has two films in competition, "Chloe" from Go Riju ("Elephant Song") and Masato Harada's horror film "Inugami," while South Korean director Park Chan-Wook follows up his 1999 box office success "Shiri," with another action-packed thriller "Joint Security Area."
Italy, having a bit of a comeback this year, will be represented by two
entries, Ferzan Ozpetek's "Le Fate Ignoranti" and Giuseppe Tornatore's Miramax release, "Malena."
Two new foreign comedies in the competition will likely spark U.S.
distribution interest: Lone Scherfig's popular Danish Dogme 95 entry
"Italian for Beginners," and Filippos Tsitos' Berlin-set "My Sweet Home."
The nine-member competition jury will be headed up by former Fox chairman
Bill Mechanic, and includes directors Dario Argento, Xie Fei, Fatih Akin, Hector Babenco, actresses Jacqueline Bisset and Dominique Blanc, critic Diego Galan, and film historian Kyoko Hirano.
In the wide-reaching Panorama section, new American films include Bruce
Weber's "Chop Suey," Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's porn spoof "The Fluffer," RD Robb's never-released Leonardo DiCaprio starrer "Don's Plum," and recent Sundance premieres "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," "Julie Johnson," "Series 7," and Kate Davis's doc winner "Southern Comfort."
Other Panorama films sure to be on industry radar include Irish director
Kirsten Sheridan's "Disco Pigs," Saul Metzstein's UK entry "Late Night Shopping," Panorama opener "The King is Dancing," from Belgian "Farinelli" director Gerard Corbiau, and a pair of French films, "Mortal Transfer," from "Diva" and "Betty Blue" director Jean-Jacques Beineix, and "Murderous Minds," from once Cannes Camera d'Or winner Jean-Pierre Denis.
The more experimental Forum sidebar will showcase among others, Jonas
Menkas's nearly 5-hour "As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief
Glimpses Of Beauty," and a bevy of U.S.-made documentaries, Alan Berliner's
latest "The Sweetest Sound," Jacky Comforty's "The Optimists (The Story of the Rescue of the Jews of Bulgaria)," as well as "Trembling Before G-D," "Pie in the Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story," and "The American Nightmare."
BERLIN COMPETITION LINEUP:
Lucrecia Martel's "La Cienaga" (Argentina)
Rachid Bouchareb's "Little Senegal" (Algeria/Senegal)
Wang Xiao-shuai's "Beijing Bicycles" (China)
Ling Chin-sen's "Betelnut Beauty" (Taiwan)
Go Riju's "Chloe" (Japan)
Masato Harada's "Inugami" (Japan)
Park Chan-Wook's "Joint Security Area" (South Korea)
Lone Scherfig's "Italian for Beginners" (Denmark)
Catherine Breillat's "A Ma Soeur" (France)
Patrice Leconte's "Felix et Lola," (France)
Patrice Chéreau's "Intimacy," (France)
Filippos Tsitos' "My Sweet Home" (Germany)
Ferzan Ozpetek's "Le Fate Ignoranti" (Italy)
Giuseppe Tornatore's "Malena" (Italy)
José Luis Garci's "You're the One" (Spain)
Wojciech Marczewski's "Weiser" (Poland)
Michael Winterbottom's "The Claim" (UK/US)
John Boorman's "The Tailor of Panama" (UK, Ireland)
Mike Nichols' "Wit" (US)
Lasse Hallström's "Chocolat" (US)
Spike Lee's "Bamboozled" (US)
Gus Van Sant's "Finding Forrester" (US)
Sean Penn's "The Pledge" (US)
Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic" (US)
For the complete line-up in all sections, visit the Berlinale's website at