For eleven days from Thursday 5th to 15th of February, the cinema world will descend on Berlin for the 65th Berlinale, one of the year’s most prestigious international film events, with hundreds of screenings of upcoming films as well as events including film masterclasses from top directors like Wim Wenders, special screenings of classics such as The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain, and Culinary Cinema, a strand celebrating food on film.
The Berlinale is also a good opportunity to do some star-spotting, with some of the top names in cinema out in force – so keep your eyes peeled (you might even seem some in the lobby of our hotel). Black Swan and Noah director Darren Aronofsky and former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko are among those serving on the jury, deciding which of the 19 films in competition deserve the coveted Golden and Silver Bear awards.
The full line-up of screenings has just been announced and they are all open to the public and reasonably priced, take place at venues all over the city, including at the wondeful Zoo Palast cinema located near to the Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm (which you can read about here). With over twenty venues and hundreds of events and screenings to choose from, the problem is knowing where to go and what to see. Here’s our pick of some of the films you shouldn’t miss during the festival.
This digitally restored screening of one of the most famous Bond films (from 1964), starring Sean Connery and the wonderful German actor Gert Fröbe (as the villainous title character) will be introduced by the legendary production designer Sir Ken Adam – famous for his extravagant Bond movie sets and work with Stanley Kubrick. The screening also ties in with the special exhibition ‘Bigger Than Life’ which is currently at the Deutsche Kinemathek inBerlin, a celebration of Adam’s life’s work.
In Cold Blood
The 1967 film adaptation of Truman Capote’s book – one of the most famous true crime books ever written – has been digitally restored and is a must-see. The black and white photography, now looking as crisp as if it had been filmed yesterday, adds a stark, cold quality to the shocking story of the murder of a family in the American Midwest by psychopathic robbers. It’s a chilling classic.
Everything will be Fine
It’s a special year for Wim Wenders, the Berlin-based director, at this year’s festival. As well as debuting his film about a writer, played by James Franco, dealing with the aftermath of a tragic accident, he will also be receiving an honourary Golden Bear, and his films, including Paris,Texas, Alice in the Cities and Wings of Desire will be screened as part of a retrospective.
Knight of Cups
The once-reclusive American director Terrence Malick, famous for his classic Badlands, was notorious for not being particularly prolific; of late, though, he seems to be making a film every couple of years. His latest, starring Christian Bale, looks to be an intriguing glimpse at the pitfalls of fame and fortune in Hollywood, and has a strong line up of acting talent including Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett and Ben Kingsley.
Sir Ian McKellen stars as an ageing Sherlock Holmes, with the detective looking back over his life and attempting to solve one last case, in this intriguing-sounding drama directed by Bill Condon, who won numerous awards (including an Oscar) with McKellen when they worked together previously on Gods and Monsters in 1998. Based on a novel by Mitch Cullin, this will be the world premiere of what is bound to be fabulously entertaining film.
Queen of the Desert
Nicole Kidman stars in a biopic written and directed Werner Herzog about the traveller, writer, archaeologist, explorer and political attaché Gertrude Bell. The film also stars James Franco, who is no stranger to the festival and bound to be on the red carpet at some point – given that he is in two big films, directed by two German directors, at the biggest German film festival of the year!
65th Berlinale; 5th-15th February, at venues all over the city
For the complete festival programme, venue guide and online tickets, visit the festival website here