True Grit spurs Berlin film fest start

The Berlinale will screen nearly 400 films from 58 countries including 3D pictures from art-house directors.

Afp February 10, 2011

BERLIN: True Grit, an Oscar-nominated remake of the classic western film, on Thursday kicked off the 61st Berlin film festival, a 10 day extravaganza of glitzy entertainment and explosive political fare.

The film, which is up for 10 Academy Awards, is screening out of competition for the festival’s Golden Bear top prize, which will be awarded to one of 16 contenders on February 19.

The Berlinale will screen nearly 400 films from 58 countries including 3D pictures from art-house directors, while Madonna may drop in to unveil out-takes from a new movie she directed, W.E. The festival director Dieter Kosslick opted for less Hollywood and more Sundance this year.

“Kosslick seems to have placed less of an emphasis on the fame of the directors and actors this year and that’s a mark in his favour,” Lars-Olav Beier, film critic for Der Spiegel magazine, said.

“Better to have good films from unknowns than mediocre films with stars.”

Iranian film-maker Asghar Farhadi, who won a best director prize for his haunting drama About Elly at the 2009 festival, will be back with Nader and Simin, A Separation about an estranged couple reunited by a surprise event. Farhadi faced a production ban by Iranian authorities while making the film for comments in support of dissident director Jafar Panahi, whom the festival will honour this year. The ban was later lifted.

The festival will also feature a raft of hard-hitting documentaries including a film about the jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Last year’s Golden Bear prize went to Turkish drama Bal starring a seven-year-old boy as a struggling pupil who loses his father in a freak accident.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2011.


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