Dark chaos and lighter moments at Berlinale

This years Berlin Film Festival headed by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven faces the press on the opening day of the event, with jury members Diego Luna and Maggie Gyllenhaal using the platform to talk politics.VIDEO: REUTERS
T2: Trainspotting, the sequel by Danny Boyle to the drug-fuelled 1996 Scottish cult classic, will get a gala screening. Historical drama Viceroy's House, by Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, is screening at Berlinale.
Historical drama Viceroy's House, by Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, is screening at Berlinale.PHOTOS: YOUTUBE
T2: Trainspotting, the sequel by Danny Boyle to the drug-fuelled 1996 Scottish cult classic, will get a gala screening. Historical drama Viceroy's House, by Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, is screening at Berlinale.
T2: Trainspotting, the sequel by Danny Boyle to the drug-fuelled 1996 Scottish cult classic, will get a gala screening.PHOTOS: YOUTUBE

Festival line-up includes films reflecting the daily apocalypse of the modern world as well as popcorn fare, says its director

BERLIN • The 67th Berlinale, Europe's first major film festival of the year, will reflect the dark chaos of the modern world and deliver a timely commentary on events in the United States, but viewers will also be able to enjoy plenty of lighter moments, its director said on Tuesday.

"Despite all of the resentment in the world, it is a conciliatory and life-affirming programme in the sense that the artists describe the daily apocalypse in which we have found ourselves, also in a visual way, but not without humour and... they don't describe it without an exit route," Mr Dieter Kosslick told reporters.

"Our Berlinale programme is also an answer to the kind of brainless, simple stories that we're hearing from across the pond that take your breath away and leave you thinking: This just can't be true."

While he did not mention the name of US President Donald Trump, who has provoked an international uproar by suspending travel to the US by citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, he said this year's line-up was "protest enough".

The choice of movies aims to show that diversity beats monotony and tackles issues such as persecution of homosexuals and discrimination against racial minorities, he added.

Stars expected to attend the Berlinale, which runs from Feb 9 to 19, include Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Robert Pattinson, Penelope Cruz, Catherine Deneuve and Sienna Miller.

It will kick off with the world premiere of French biopic Django, about gypsy-jazz great Django Reinhardt and his family's persecution in Nazi-occupied Paris.

Eighteen films will vie for the Golden Bear top prize, with a jury headed by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven and made up of members such as American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and Mexican actor and director Diego Luna.

In keeping with its long post-war tradition, the festival will mix arthouse cinema from European veterans, including Poland's Agnieszka Holland, Britain's Sally Potter, Germany's Volker Schloendorff, previous Golden Bear winner Calin Peter Netzer of Romania and Aki Kaurismaki of Finland; with popcorn fare.

Logan, the latest Wolverine instalment of the X-Men superhero series, starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Richard E. Grant, will have its world premiere in Berlin, and T2: Trainspotting, the sequel by Danny Boyle to the drug-fuelled 1996 Scottish cult classic, will get a gala screening.

Potter, one of four women directors in competition, has pulled together a cast including Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Kristin Scott Thomas and Timothy Spall for the comedy The Party, set in a house in present-day London.

Gere stars with Steve Coogan, Linney, Rebecca Hall and Chloe Sevigny in the thriller The Dinner, by American director Oren Moverman, an adaptation of the Dutch novel by Herman Koch.

Cruz joins Homeland's Mandy Patinkin in the Spanish production The Queen Of Spain, set in the 1950s under dictator Francisco Franco, screening in the Berlinale Special sidebar section.

Also screening will be Hong Sang Soo's On The Beach At Night Alone from South Korea, and an animated feature, Have A Nice Day, from Liu Jian of China.

Not to be missed is Bend It Like Beckham (2002) director Gurinder Chadha's historical drama Viceroy's House, in which Indian actress Huma Qureshi stars opposite Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson.

French production The Midwife by Martin Provost stars Deneuve as the mysterious former mistress of the title character's father.

And Pattinson is due in Berlin for a screening of James Gray's The Lost City Of Z, an adaptation of a bestseller by David Grann of The New Yorker.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2017, with the headline 'Dark chaos and lighter moments at Berlinale'. Print Edition | Subscribe