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Feb 14, 2013

Bosnian Roma family plays itself in stark film

BERLIN (Reuters) – When Bosnian director Danis Tanovic learned about a Roma family refused emergency medical care because they could not pay for it, he not only decided to turn their story into a film but managed to convince the couple to play themselves.

The result is “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker”, a simple, powerful tale of one man’s struggle to provide for his partner and two daughters and of a society where money is apparently more important than human life.

Feb 13, 2013

Quirky comedy film “Prince Avalanche” charms Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Cinema has a new odd couple in “Prince Avalanche”, a low-budget film set in the remote, fire-ravaged forests of Texas and starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as an unlikely pair of workers painting markings on a seemingly endless road.

The tedium of their work allows space for them to argue, bicker, compete and bond in David Gordon Green’s oddball remake of a 2011 Icelandic movie called “Either Way”.

Feb 13, 2013

Binoche plays tragic sculptress Claudel in new film

BERLIN (Reuters) – The story of French sculptress Camille Claudel is almost impossibly sad, and Juliette Binoche attempts to portray that tragedy in a new film set in an asylum where the actress performs alongside mentally disabled patients.

“Camille Claudel 1915″, in competition at the Berlin film festival, depicts three days in the life of an artist who spent her last 29 years in a mental institution in southern France, confined against her will by her family.

Feb 12, 2013

Director Panahi defies Iran ban to make another film

BERLIN (Reuters) – Iran’s Jafar Panahi has defied a 20-year ban on filmmaking to secretly co-direct “Closed Curtain”, a multi-layered portrayal of how restrictions on his work and movement have brought on depression and even thoughts of suicide.

The movie, in competition at the Berlin film festival, has its premiere on Tuesday, but Panahi was not expected on the red carpet despite festival organizers saying the German government had requested he be allowed to travel.

Feb 11, 2013

Famous film couple back 9 years on in “Before Midnight”

BERLIN (Reuters) – Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise the roles of Jesse and Celine in “Before Midnight”, the third but not necessarily the last movie in their long-running series based on the same characters as they age over time.

In this film, set 18 years after “Before Sunrise”, the couple is on holiday in Greece and we learn that they live with their twin daughters in Paris while Jesse’s son has stayed with his mother in Chicago.

Feb 11, 2013

London’s “porn king” stars on the big screen at Berlin festival

BERLIN (Reuters) – British actor Steve Coogan and director Michael Winterbottom reunite for “The Look of Love”, a biopic of pornography publisher and night club impresario Paul Raymond that brings to the screen the sleaze, success and tragedy in his life.

Dubbed the “king of porn”, or, more politely, the “King of Soho” after the London area where his empire was based, Raymond began amassing his fortune in 1958 with the opening of the “Raymond Revuebar” and expanded to theatre and men’s magazines.

Feb 10, 2013

Chilean film “Gloria” cheered at Berlin festival

BERLIN (Reuters) – There were cheers for Chilean drama “Gloria” at the Berlin film festival on Sunday, partly out of relief as the annual cinema showcase finally got its first hit after a series of critical misses.

The touching story of a middle aged woman’s quest for love and adventure in modern-day Santiago drew comparisons to Woody Allen for the intimacy of the relationships and to Meryl Streep for the arresting performance of actress Paulina Garcia.

Feb 8, 2013

Humble Damon cheers Oscar hopeful, friend Ben Affleck

BERLIN (Reuters) – It seems that wherever Matt Damon goes to promote his movies he is asked about something else altogether – his old friend and collaborator Ben Affleck, whose Iranian hostage drama “Argo” is in the running for a Best Picture Oscar.

Damon shared a screenplay Academy Award with Affleck for the 1997 film “Good Will Hunting” and has gone on to become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, with blockbusters including the “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Bourne Identity” series.

Feb 7, 2013

Martial arts drama kicks off Berlin film festival

BERLIN (Reuters) – The 2013 Berlin film festival kicks off on Thursday with the red carpet premiere of “The Grandmaster”, Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai’s martial arts period drama set in China at the time of the Japanese invasion in the 1930s.

Starring regular collaborator Tony Leung Chiu Wai as kung fu master Ip Man and Zhang Ziyi as his rival and friend Gong Er, the heavily stylised picture is a story of honour, principle, betrayal and forbidden love all set in a time of turmoil.

Feb 7, 2013

Martial arts epic to kick off Berlin film festival

BERLIN (Reuters) – The 2013 Berlin film festival kicks off on Thursday with “The Grandmaster”, a martial arts epic from Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai who is also presiding over this year’s jury.

The 11-day stretch of screenings, photocalls, interviews and parties will showcase hundreds of movies, with much of the focus on 19 entries in the main competition and a handful of star-studded U.S. titles.

    • About Mike

      "I cover arts and entertainment across Europe, Middle East and Africa, ranging from film festivals like Cannes and awards shows like the BRITs and from books and theatre to art, opera and industry stories. My previous postings include Moscow, senior correspondent in Central Asia and deputy bureau chief in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I also covered the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq."
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