Asian in Focus as Berlin International Film Festival Opens

76de806a-68d0-4ca4-b242-27b2eb609e9f
The 67th Berlin International Film Festival jury, from left:
Wang Quan’an (China), Olafur Eliasson (Iceland), Maggie Gyllenhaal (U.S.),
Paul Verhoeven (Netherlands), Julia Jentsch (Germany), Diego Luna (Mexico),
Dora Bouchoucha Fourati (Tunisia); and moderator Anatol Weber.
PHOTO: Dean Napolitano

BERLIN — The 67th Berlin International Film Festival opened on Thursday with the premiere of the French film “Django,” set in 1943 during the German occupation of France, from director-writer Etienne Comar.

Four films from Asia will appear in the festival’s main Competition section: The animated film “Have a Nice Day” from director Liu Jian of China; “Mr. Long” from the singularly named director Sabu of Japan; “On the Beach at Night Alone” from director Hong Sang-soo of South Korea; and the Indian film “Viceroy’s House,” which will screen out of competition, from director Gurinder Chadha.

Several Asian films will screen in the Panorama section, including three from Chinese directors: “Ciao Ciao” by Song Chuan; “Ghost in the Mountains” by Yang Heng; and “The Taste of Betel Nut” by Hu Jia. Also in the Panorama section is “Close-Knit” from director Naoko Ogigami of Japan.

Asian films in the Forum section include two from Japanese directors: “Three Lights” by Kohki Yoshida and “The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue” by Yuya Ishii. Also in the Forum section: “Autumn, Autumn” from Jang Woo-jin of South Korea and the Indian film “Newton” from Amit V. Masurkar.

This year’s international jury lineup: Dutch director and screenwriter Paul Verhoeven, jury president; Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha Fourati; Danish-born Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson; American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal; German actress Julia Jentsch; Mexican actor Diego Luna; and Chinese director-screenwriter Wang Quan’an.

At the jury press conference, Mr. Wang noted his long association with the Berlin festival. After reaping multiple screenings and awards in Berlin over the past 15 years, Mr. Wang said he was looking forward to handing out awards this year. His film “Lunar Eclipse” (1999) was shown in 2002; “Tuya’s Marriage” won the Golden Bear award in 2007; “Apart Together” opened the festival in 2010 and won the Silver Bear award for best script (with co-screenwriter Jin Na); and White Deer Plain won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution in 2012 for Lutz Reitemeier, Mr. Wang’s director of photography on the film.

Mr. Wang said that while this is a good time for Chinese films because of financing, money also has had a “somewhat of a destructive effect” when it comes to art-house films in China. But he said that was part of the process and that he expected that eventually there would be “more space” for art-house cinema in the country.

The festival runs until Feb. 19.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s