Berlin & Beyond Film Festival at the Castro 1/15 – 21


[Above: Wim Wenders in One Who Set Forth.] 

The 14th Annual Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, which is a showcase for new films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland curated by the Goethe-Institut, opens at the Castro Theatre tomorrow night. Altogether, the festival features twenty-five full-length films and a program of ten shorts, along with several special events.

One of these events is the presentation of an award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing to Wim Wenders, right after the US Premiere of his latest film, Shooting Palermo, about which I’ll write more later in the week. Brief review: it’s not as crisp as it might have been, but good watching all the same. Wim Wenders is the acclaimed director of such films as Kings of the Road (which will be shown Sunday), Buena Vista Social Club, and Paris, Texas.

Another special event is an extraordinary screening of the Marlene Dietrich classic, The Blue Angel. Extraordinary, because this is not the film you know! It turns out that German directors in the early sound era made a practice of shooting in German for the home market, and then shooting the same scenes in English for the international market. This print is of the English-language version, which was recently discovered in the Berlin Archives and restored.

Opening night begins on January 15th at 6:30 with a party (special admission required) followed by an open screening at 8:00 of Cherry Blossoms, which is being co-presented with Frameline. The story follows a middle-aged German-Japanese couple. When the wife unexpectedly dies on a journey from Berlin to Tokyo, where they had planned to visit their son, the husband continues on and on the way “discovers a new understanding of both his late wife and himself.” The director, Doris Dörrie, says that she drew heavily upon Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story for inspiration. The lead actress, Hannelore Elsner, will be present at the screening.

There are too many great films and events to highlight in a single article, so this will be the first of many posts covering the festival. Check back here for daily updates; in the meantime, here is the full schedule and the tickets page.

1 Comment so far

  1. Berlin & Beyond Festival: Recommended Weekend Films, 1/16-18 | San Francisco Metblogs (pingback) on January 16th, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

    […] post is second in a series about the Berlin and Beyond Festival. The next installment will be published […]

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