Fri, Feb 01, 2008 - Page 16 News List

When music mingles with movies ...

The Berlin Film Festival, which will open next week with Martin Scorsese's 'Shine a Light,' promises to show just how closely film and song are related

By Andrew McCathie  /  DPA , BERLIN

Martin Scorsese's documentary on the Rolling Stones will open the Berlin Film Festival next week with the Oscar-winning director's take on one of the world's greatest pop groups setting the scene for a glittering celebration of music and film.

"It will somehow be a music Berlinale," said Berlin Film Festival director Dieter Kosslick.

Mick Jagger & Co. in person, along with Scorsese, will join a long list of international stars on the red carpet at this year's festival.

This includes Madonna, Julia Roberts, Eric Bana, Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, Daniel Day-Lewis and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.

Also expected in Berlin for the festival are Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman. Women as directors and performers are expected to play a prominent role at this year's event.

Now celebrating its 58th edition, the Berlinale has emerged as one of the world's top three film festivals with the stream of premieres, limousines and stars offering a touch of glamour to Berlin as the cold gray winter months grind on.

Jury president, Greek-born director Constantin Costa-Gavras, and his team will this year have to choose from 26 movies that have been selected for the Berlinale's main competition.

This includes flicks from Iran, China, Europe, Japan, Brazil, Mexico and the US.

Scorsese's documentary Shine a Light, based on two Stones' concerts, brings "to the big screen the pure essence of a cult band," Kosslick said.

Kosslick has also pulled off another coup by securing the world premiere of pop star Madonna's directing debut, Filth and Wisdom, a comedy about the dreams of ordinary people who are seeking to find a way out of the drudgery of daily life.

The following is a list of films that will be vying for the Golden and Silver Bear prizes at the Berlin Film Festival which takes place from Thursday to Feb. 17.

* Avaze Gonjeshk-ha (The Song of Sparrows), Majid Majidi

* Ballast, Lance Hammer

* Bam gua Nat (Night and Day), Hong Sangsoo

* Caos Calmo (Quiet Chaos), Antonello Grimaldi

* Elegy, Isabel Coixet

* Feuerherz (Heart of Fire), Luigi Falorni

* Gardens of the Night, Damian Harris

* Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh

* Il y a longtemps que je t'aime ... (I've loved you so long ...), Philippe Claudel

* Julia, Erick Zonca

* Kabei Our Mother, Yoji Yamada

* Kirschblueten Hanami (Cherry Blossoms Hanami), Doris Doerrie

* Lady Jane, Robert Guediguian

* Lake Tahoe, Fernando Eimbcke.

* Man Jeuk (Sparrow), Johnnie To

* Musta Jaa (Black Ice), Petri Kotwica

* Restless, Amos Kollek

* Standard Operating Procedure, Errol Morris (documentary)

* There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson

* Tropa de Elite (The Elite Squad), Jose Padilha

* Zuo Yuo (In Love We Trust), Wang Xiaoshuai

Out of competition:

* Be Kind Rewind, Michel Gondry

* Katyn, Andrzej Wajda

* Fireflies In The Garden, Dennis Lee

* The Other Boleyn Girl, Justin Chadwick

* Shine A Light, Martin Scorsese (documentary)


The movie, which is not in the running for the festival's top awards is to be screened as part of the Berlinale's panorama section, which showcases independent and art-house cinema.

Also screening at this year's Berlinale is Steven Sebring's Patti Smith: Dream of Life, which pays homage to the American rock star, poet and painter Patti Smith. She is also planning to hold a concert in Berlin during the festival.

In addition, this year's festival's lineup includes Cafe de los Maetros, Argentinian director Miguel Kohan's film dedicated to some of the great figures of tango.

Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi chart the musical career of the Iraqi band Acrassicauda from the fall of Saddam Hussein to the present in their movie Heavy Metal in Baghdad.

Berlin this year will also mark US film directors' ongoing disagreement with Washington over the war in Iraq with the world premiere of Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris' movie about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Morris' SOP Standard Operating Procedure also seeks to shed light on the machinations behind the so-called war on terror and comes in the wake of a string of films on the Iraq war.

The release of Morris' new film follows his acclaimed documentary, The Fog of War, about former US secretary of defence Robert McNamara. Set in part against the dark days of the Vietnam War, The Fog of War won an Academy Award for best documentary in 2004.

Moreover, a contingent of movies from the US, such as the international premiere of There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson's acclaimed film on the early days of the oil prospecting business starring Daniel Day-Lewis, are also to be shown in Berlin.

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