Twenty-three titles have now been set for the Competition of the sixty-eighth Berlin International Film Festival, and the Berlinale’s promising twenty-four. So while we await the mystery title, here are the five that have been added today, along with another six slated for the Berlinale Special program.
Lav Diaz’s Ang panahon ng halimaw (Season of the Devil). Producer Bianca Balbuena has described it as “an anti-musical musical, a rock opera, whatever you want to call it.” With Piolo Pascual, Shaina Magdayao, Pinky Amador, Bituin Escalante, Hazel Orencio, Joel Saracho, Bart Guingona, Angel Aquino, Lilit Reyes, and Don Melvin Boongaling. World premiere. The image at the top here is from a collection of behind-the-scenes photos that MUBI tweeted last July.
Milko Lazarov’s Ága. From Cinando: “In the snowy Northern wilderness, two elderly Inuits dream to reunite with their daughter Ága, who has left the slowly eroding traditional way of life a long time ago.” With Mikhail Aprosimov, Feodosia Ivanova, Galina Tikhonova, Sergey Egorov, and Afanasiy Kylaev. World premiere. Out of competition.
José Padilha’s 7 Days in Entebbe. “On June 27, 1976,” writes Bruce Fretts in the New York Times, “hijackers commandeered an Air France flight from Israel to Paris and ultimately forced the plane with more than 200 aboard to land at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. The militants threatened to kill passengers unless Palestinian and other prisoners held in Israel and elsewhere were released. One week later, on the same day the United States celebrated its bicentennial, Israeli forces executed a mission rescuing most of the hostages. Among those killed were all of the hijackers as well as three hostages and one Israeli soldier, Jonathan ‘Yoni’ Netanyahu, the older brother of Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.” With Rosamund Pike, Daniel Brühl, Eddie Marsan, Lior Ashkenazi, Denis Menochet, Ben Schnetzer, Angel Bonanni, Juan Pablo Raba, and Nonso Anozie. World premiere. Out of competition.
Alonso Ruizpalacios’s Museo (Museum). Last April, Anna Marie De La Fuente reported in Variety that it’s “a coming-of-age story” within “a heist-road movie based on real events in the ‘80s. Museo recounts the circumstances behind the theft of pre-Hispanic artifacts from Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology and the shocking discovery that the thieves turned out to be two young men from the suburbs, instead of what was assumed to be the work of an international ring of art thieves.” With Gael García Bernal, Leonardo Ortizgris, Alfredo Castro, Simon Russell Beale, Bernardo Velasco, Leticia Brédice, Ilse Salas, and Lisa Owen. World premiere.
Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane. Word was out last summer that Soderbergh had shot a psychological thriller on an iPhone. Claire Foy plays “a woman who is sent to a mental institution though it is unclear whether her greatest fear is real or a delusion,” notes Henry Chu in Variety. With Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple, Aimee Mullins, and Amy Irving. World premiere. Out of competition.
Berlinale Special Gala at the Friedrichstadt-Palast
Pernille Fischer Christensen’s Unga Astrid (Becoming Astrid). The story of children’s author Astrid Lindgren “and the events and influences that shaped her to become the icon she is today,” as Trust Nordisk has it. With Alba August, Trine Dyrholm, Magnus Krepper, Maria Bonnevie, and Henrik Rafaelsen. World premiere.
Rupert Everett’s The Happy Prince. With Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Colin Morgan, Edwin Thomas, and Rupert Everett. European premiere. First Feature. Here’s a first round of reviews from Sundance.
Berlinale Special at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele
Ulli Lommel’s AMERICA Land of the FreeKS.Howlin’ Wolf Records calls it “a satire about the current zeitgeist.” With the late Ulli Lommel, Tanner King Barklow, Nola Roeper, Gil Kofman, Chris Kriesa, Lilith Stangenberg, Tatjana Lommel, and Max Brauer. World premiere.
Stephen Nomura Schible’s RYŪICHI SAKAMOTO: async AT THE PARK AVENUE ARMORY. International premiere. Billboard Japan notes that in the trailer, “the award-winning musician, composer and music producer can be seen making spontaneous, ‘asynchronous’ music with various instruments and items such as sheets of glass under the concept of creating a soundtrack for an imaginary film by Andrei Tarkovsky.”
Berlinale Special at Kino International
Heinz Brinkmann’s Usedom – Der freie Blick aufs Meer. The third part of a trilogy of documentaries about the island north of the German-Polish border.
Martin Šulík’s The Interpreter. According to Variety, it “centers on eighty-year-old Ali Ungar, who comes across a book by a former SS officer describing his wartime activities in Slovakia. He realizes his parents were executed by him, and sets out to take revenge, but finds instead the SS officer’s seventy-year-old son, Georg, a retired teacher. Georg, who had avoided his father all his life, decides to find out more about him, and Ali offers to be his interpreter. ‘The two old men embark on a journey to meet surviving witnesses of the [murders], and discover a country eager to forget its past,’ according to a statement.” With Peter Simonischek, Jiří Menzel, Zuzana Mauréry, Attila Mokos, and Anna Rakovská. World premiere.
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