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BERLIN

D A ILY
6

FEB. 16, 2016

THR.COM/BERLIN

A L O N E
I N B E R L I N
The cast and director
discuss one of the Berlinales
most anticipated titles

P L U S
Theater director
Michael Grandage
dishes on his film
debut, Genius
THRs critics on
the best of the fest
(so far)
From left, Brendan Gleeson,
Emma Thompson, Vincent
Perez and Daniel Bruhl were
photographed exclusively for
The Hollywood Reporter on
Feb. 15 at Borchardt in Berlin
by Fabrizio Malteze.

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2/15/16 6:40 PM

adv hollywood 10-02-16_Opmaak 1 10-02-16 16:45 Pagina 1

YOUNG
WRESTLERS
by Mete Gmrhan

Screenings:
Sun Feb 14 14:30
Wed Feb 17 09:30

CinemaxX 10 (EFM)
Zoo Palast 1

Thu Feb 18 10:00

Filmtheater am
Friedrichshain

Sat Feb 20

CinemaxX 3

11:30

NEED FOR
MEAT
by Marijn Frank

Screenings:
Wed Feb 17 19:30 MGB
Thu Feb 18 19:00 CineStar IMAX

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2/11/16 12:12 PM

FEBRUARY 16, 2016


THR.COM/BERLIN

TODAY
BERLIN
WEATHER
AND HIGH 39 F
TEMPS
4 C

BE R L IN

TOMORROW

39 F
4 C

Buyers Knock
Down Doors
for Suburbicon
By Rebecca Ford

he George Clooneyhelmed crime comedy


Suburbicon, considered
one of the hottest projects
coming into the market, has
closed deals around the world.
Bloom locked in a slew of
sales including for the U.K.
(eOne), Germany
(Tele Munchen/
Concorde), Spain
(Tri-Pictures
S.A.),
Italy (Leone
Clooney
Films), Latin
America (Sun Distribution),
Canada (Elevation), Greece
(Odeon), Hong Kong (Bravos),
Scandinavia (MisLabel),
Romania (Odeon), Turkey
(Bir), Korea (Woosung), Japan
(Tohokushinka Film Corp.),
C O N T I N U ED O N PA G E 2

Intl Buyers
Pounce on
Fords Secrets
By Alex Ritman

ne of the high-profile
offerings at Berlins
European Film
Market has attracted a number of international buyers.
Political thriller Official
Secrets, being directed by
Justin Chadwick (Mandela:
Long Walk to Freedom), has
been snapped up by SND for
France, Notorious Pictures
for Italy, Corbi for Spain and
Swen Group International for
Latin America. Elsewhere,
deals were signed with Times
Media Films for South Africa,
Cinemundo for Portugal,
Eagle Films for the Middle
East, Tanweer for Greece
C O N T I N U ED O N PA G E 2

Plan About Town

From left: Julianne Moore, director Rebecca Miller, Greta Gerwig and producer Damon Cardasis attend
the photo call Monday for the Panorama Special screening of the relationship drama Maggies Plan.

Studios Soar as Streamers Sputter

Traditional players like Paramount, Focus and EuropaCorp scored major titles with A-list talent,
pushing back hard against potential disruptors Amazon and Netflix By Rebecca Ford

t was a tale of two markets during the first five


days of the Berlin International Film Festival,
with three big domestic deals creating lots
of heat while the international sales side remained
relatively cool and quiet.
The frenzy began as sales agents and buyers
were touching down in Berlin for the market on
Feb. 9 when EuropaCorp
scooped up U.S. rights to James
Ponsoldts tech-world drama-thriller The Circle starring
Tom Hanks and Emma Watson.
CAA and UTA were planning
on showing seven minutes
of footage during EFM, but
EuropaCorp chose to aggresHanks
sively buy it for about $10
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

D6_Berlin_news1+2_E.indd 1

million without seeing the promo.


CAA had one of its busiest festivals in recent
memory, also closing the two other splashy domestic deals: Jeff Nichols Loving and George Clooneys
Suburbicon. Both directors were in town for the festival (Clooney with the Coen Brothers Hail, Caesar!
and Nichols with his sci-fi competition film Midnight
Special), so they were able
to woo buyers during CAAs
presentations.
Paramount scooped up
Suburbicon for U.S. rights in a
huge $10 million deal Friday.
Sources say the studio had
considered buying the crime
comedy for the world, but
Watson

C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 2

2/15/16 8:31 PM

theREPORT

HEAT INDEX

CORENTIN FILA
The newcomer shines in Andre Techines
competition entry Being 17, about the
awakening of gay adolescent desire, with
THRs review calling him a gifted natural.

T E R E N C E DAV I E S
The special gala screening of A Quiet
Passion, the directors biopic about poet
Emily Dickinson, draws buzz for star
Cynthia Nixon amid mixed reviews.

KNOW YOUR DEALMAKER

Studios
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

instead just took U.S. rights,


which allowed Bloom to sell off
international in what was one of
the richest deals at EFM.
Theres an appetite for these
big movies with strong commercial appeal, says CAAs Roeg
Sutherland. Plus, its the time of
year when distributors are looking to fill their slates for fall.
After CAA showed eight
minutes of footage from Nichols
Loving, which stars Joel Edgerton
and Ruth Negga as a Virginia
couple who are imprisoned
because of their interracial marriage, a bidding war among U.S.
distributors resulted in Focus
acquiring North American rights
for $9 million.
The buy was Focus first since
Peter Schlessel left the company,
which is turning its attention to
specialty films, as it did under
previous chief James Schamus.
However, it turns out Focus
didnt made the biggest bid.
Sources say Amazon had actually

enough caution around the


offered more, but the filmmakers
world that if its not the right
went with Focus, known for its
stuff, theyre not going to buy
success with prestige films.
out of desperation.
Entering the festival, insiders
While there are likely to be
wondered if Amazon and Netflix
other international sales before
would be as aggressive as they
the end of the week
had been in Sundance,
including bigger deals
but so far that hasnt
on the David Oyelowobeen the case. Sources
Rosamund Pike starrer
say Amazon has been
A United Kingdom and
bidding on projects,
Steven Soderberghs
but some filmmakers
hillbilly heist film
are unsure about its
Logan Lucky most
model, which involves
Edgerton
international players
partnering with a theatagree its been slower than they
rical distributor. When Amazon
had hoped. Still, sales agents
scooped up Kenneth Lonergans
Manchester by the Sea at Sundance say that the need for product
will result in some good business
for $10 million, a theatrical partbefore the festival wraps.
ner was not in place, and one has
It feels like buyers are being
yet to be announced.
conservative, says Highland
In contrast, the international
Film Group COO and co-founder
playing field has been signifiDelphine Perrier, but I think
cantly slower, with hardly any
at this market, theres been an
deals announced by the end of
advantage for projects that may
the first weekend, normally the
not at first seem very commerbusiest time at the market.
cial, because weve seen that
People are hungry and ready
unique films like Ex Machina and
to buy, but theyre hungry and
Room are able to come out into
ready to buy the right stuff, says
the world and make money.
Blooms Alex Walton. Theres

Suburbicon
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

NADINE DE BARROS

PRESIDENT, FORTITUDE INTERNATIONAL

De Barros sold Salma Hayek and


Alec Baldwins comedy Drunk Parents
around the globe, including Germany
(Wild Bunch) and Canada (Entertainment
One), and introduced hot new package
An Ideal Home with Paul Rudd and
Steve Coogan. Her other projects
in preproduction include Toms Dad with
Will Ferrell and sci-fi thriller Android
with Olga Kurylenko.

MEANWHILE, IN THE REAL WORLD


The Chinese box office hit
$548 million over the New Years
holiday period, setting a record
weekly tally for a single territory.
The Revenant won five BAFTA
awards, including best film, director (Alejandro G. Inarritu) and
actor (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern
and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran
have joined the cast of Star Wars:
Episode VIII, which started filming
Monday in London.

India (PVR), Taiwan (Filmware), Czech Republic


(AQS), Poland (Monolith), Australia (Roadshow),
Former Yugoslavia (Blitz) and the Middle East
(SalimRamia).
Clooney, in town for the premiere of opening
night film Hail, Caesar!, charmed buyers at a presentation Thursday about his directorial project. A slew
of distributors put in bids, with Paramount winning
domestic rights.

Official Secrets
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

and India, Aqua/Pinema Group for Turkey, IPA for Taiwan, PT


Prima Cinema for Indonesia, Shaw Organisation for Singapore and
Entertainment in Motion for airlines.
Making its market bow in Berlin, the film is set to star Paul Bettany,
Natalie Dormer, Martin Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Harrison Ford. Tahar
Rahim and Gillian Anderson also were added to the cast during the Berlinale.
With a screenplay by Sara and Gregory Bernstein, Official Secrets is based
on the book The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War: Katharine Gun and the
Secret Plot to Sanction the Iraq Invasion. Set in 2003 in the months before
the Iraq War, the plot sees a British intelligence officer leak information about an illegal spy operation against the U.N. Security Council to
ensure passage of a resolution for war. When she is arrested, a reporter
looks for evidence to free her.
The Solution Entertainment Groups Lisa Wilson and Myles Nestel are
executive producing and handling the financing and international sales
at the EFM. UTA Independent Film Group packaged the project and
represents domestic rights.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

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Matt Damon and Julianne Moore are attached to star


in the film, which has a script by Joel and Ethan Coen
and is set in the quiet family town of Suburbicon,
where a home invasion causes a picture-perfect
family to turn to blackmail, revenge and betrayal.
Joel Silver will produce under his Silver Pictures
banner alongside Clooney and Grant Heslov
under their Smokehouse Pictures label and Teddy
Schwarzman for Black Bear Pictures, which is fully
financing the project. Bloom handled the films
international rights at the market, and CAA repped
U.S. rights.

Dormer

2/15/16 8:30 PM

MARKET PREMIERE TODAY


FEB. 16 CINESTAR 5 11:00

WORLDWIDE SALES, CONTACT THE ANNEX


ALEX HUGHES, MGB #145 TEL: +1.416.363.9971 EXT. 241

The Annex D6 021616.indd 1

2/4/16 12:58 PM

theREPORT

BERLIN IN BRIEF
HBO Eyes Scandi Originals

HBO Europe will start producing original drama series in


Scandinavia as it expands its
originals push beyond its four
Eastern European markets of
Poland, Czech Republic, Romania
and Hungary. Antony Root, HBO
Europes executive vp original
programming and production,
announced the plans for the
HBO Nordic service at Berlins
European Film Market.

The Best of the Berlinale (So Far)


THR critics favorites include a sci-fi thriller starring Michael Shannon and Kirsten Dunst,
an Italian doc about Europes migrant crisis and a gay coming-of-age drama from France
Huppert is at
a crossroads in
Things to Come.

DEBORAH YOUNG

Yosuka Kubozuka Joins


Banks Hayworth

Yosuke Kubozuka will star opposite


Elizabeth Banks in Sloane
URens adventure drama
Rita Hayworth With a
Hand Grenade. Banks is
starring as war photogKubozuka
rapher Caroline Baker,
who was shot down and stranded
on a South Pacific island with only
one other inhabitant, a marooned
Japanese soldier (Kobuzuka).
Radiant Films International is
selling the film at the market, while
UTA Independent Film Group is
handling domestic rights.

Hong Kongs Golden Scene


Picks Up 10 Years

Hong Kongs Golden Scene has


acquired international rights for
10 Years, the low-budget sleeper
hit about the future of Hong Kong
under Chinese rule. Tapping into
the citys growing political discord
over the influence of Mainland
China into Hong Kong civic affairs,
10 Years opened in late December
and grossed just shy of $700,000
from a limited theatrical run during
its first month in cinemas.

Oscar Nominee Theeb


Sells to China, France

Fortissimo Films has closed sales


for foreign-language Oscarnominated Jordanian drama Theeb
across most of Europe and Asia.
Directed by Naji Abu Nowar, the
film won a BAFTA on Sunday night
for outstanding debut by a British
writer, director or producer. Theeb
sold to JIFF Distribution (Australia),
Rialto Distribution (New Zealand),
Lemon Tree (China), Neo Films
(Greece), Jour 2 Fete (France),
Entermode (Korea) and Edko
(Hong Kong). THR

Being 17
This quiet stunner represents
a return to peak form for
French filmmaker Andre Techine.
Depicting the awakening of gay
adolescent desire and self-knowledge, the director has crafted an
intimate epic about high school
classmates Damien (Kacey Mottet
Klein) and Thomas (Corentin
Fila) navigating an eruption
of confused feelings for each
another. The performance of
Sandrine Kiberlain as Damiens
doctor mother cant be overpraised, and the drama builds
in wholly unexpected ways to a
final act of searing poignancy.
DAVID ROONEY

Dont Call Me Son


Written and directed by
Anna Muylaert, whose The Second
Mother won Stateside raves
last year, this Brazilian drama
tells the fast-paced story of a

cross-dressing teenage boy who


finds out he was stolen at birth
and is then forced to move in with
his wealthy biological parents.
Poignant and energetic, the
movie turns a potentially bleak
subject into a warmhearted study
of genetics, gender and the true
meaning of home. As the protagonist, newcomer Naomi Nero is a
real discovery. JORDAN MINTZER
Fire at Sea
Life on the Sicilian island of
Lampedusa is shaken by waves
of migrants mostly Africans,
some Syrians in Italian
filmmaker Gianfranco Rosis
quietly powerful documentary.
Conveying the immensity of the
crisis, which is costing thousands of lives each year as it puts
European unity to the test, the
film alternates dramatic rescue
operations by the Italian coast
guard with vignettes of local

Midnight Special
In his fourth feature, Jeff Nichols
(Mud) pays transporting
homage to the rich tradition,
spanning the late 1970s through
the mid-80s, of intelligent sci-fi
emotionally grounded in relatable human dynamics. Built
around a performance of formidable gravitas from Michael
Shannon as a father on the run
to protect his enigmatic young
son (Jaeden Lieberher), the film
confirms the director as among
the most compelling storytellers in American cinema today.
Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton and
Adam Driver round out a superb
supporting cast. D.R.
Things to Come
For her impressive fifth feature, French writer-director
Mia Hansen-Love follows the quotidian travails of a 50-something
philosophy teacher played
effortlessly and with plenty of
verve by Isabelle Huppert who is
dumped by her longtime husband, burdened with a growingly
senile mother and suddenly
forced to face the onset of old
age by herself. The filmmaker
tackles the subject in a manner
both deeply intellectual and
compassionately playful, mixing
witty reflections with a surprising
number of cat jokes. J.M.

Freestyle Takes Divine Access for the U.S. By Rebecca Ford

ivine Access, a comedy starring


Sarasota Film Festival, is produced by
Billy Burke, has been picked up for the
Prince, Carissa Buffel and Kevin Matusow of
U.S. by Freestyle Digital Media.
Traveling Picture Show Co. and Burke and
Steven Chester Prince directed the film,
Terry G. Jones of Blackball Entertainment.
which also stars Gary Cole, Patrick Warburton,
G-Men Medias Clay Glendenning and Jeff Way
Burke
Joel David Moore, Sarah Shahi, Dora Madison,
executive produced.
Barak Hardley and Adrienne Barbeau.
Freestyle Digital Media has a distinctly dynamic
Prince also wrote the script for Divine Access with
and smart team with the unique audience reach
John A. OConnell and Michael Zagst. The story follows that we have been looking for, said TPSC Films
Burkes character, Jack Harriman, who becomes
president Prince. Divine Access has had a successan instant spiritual celebrity after humiliating
ful run on the festival circuit this past year, and
Rev. Guy Roy Davis (Cole) on public-access TV.
we are thrilled to have found such a fitting distribuThe comedy, which premiered at the 2015
tion home. THR
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

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fishermen and their families.


Rosi captures the subtle changes
that have come over the islanders
since the boats began arriving.

2/15/16 9:20 AM

DRAMA
SERIES DAYS
1516 FEB 2016

Market Screenings | Panel Programme | Networking Events

15

MONDAY, 15 FEB

16

TUESDAY, 16 FEB

GROPIUS MIRROR
10:0010:30 Official Opening*

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
10:0013:00 CoPro Series Pitching*

10:3011:30 Commissioning Strategies


the Trendsetters EFM Panel hosted by HBO

EFM PRODUCERS HUB at MGB


12:4513:00 Presentations and Talks Series

Europe moderated by C21

16:0017:00 Cross-Atlantic Series Success:


(Re)Making TV for Europe and the World
EFM Industry Debate hosted by IFA and the Filmund Medienstiftung NRW in cooperation with
The Hollywood Reporter

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
10:4511:45 CLEVERMAN Case Study
International Co-Production of a Series

BERLINALE TALENTS at HAU2


17:0018:30 Floating Shapes:
How to Give Stories the Right Flow
MONDAY & TUESDAY, 1516 FEB
EFM CINEMOBILE & MGB CINEMA
10:0019:00 Market Screenings

MGBCINEMA
13:10 14:10 Showcase TV Drama Vision
Scandinavia presented by Goteborg Film Festival
BERLINALE TALENTS at HAU1
17:00 18:30 Take a Long Look:
The Cinematography of Game of Thrones
MEET THE DOCS TALKS at MGB
17:30 18:00 Documentary Series
* by invitation only

Along with the Drama Series Days, the 66th Berlin


International Film Festival will again present a curated
selection of high-quality drama series within the
framework of the Berlinale Special programme at
the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.

www.efm-berlinale.de

EFM 2016_DSD_THR_245x330_RZ.indd 1
EFM D4 021416.indd 1

12.02.16 11:44
2/12/16 1:44 PM

theREPORT

THR AT BERLIN

n
H i d d eS
GEM

NEWS
Kevin Cassidy
kevin.cassidy@thr.com
+1 213 840 1896

TVs Dallas: The Dethroner

Husband-and-wife filmmakers tapped actor Patrick Duffy for a surreal take on


how the 80s series helped end the reign of Romanias dictator By Scott Roxborough

Patrick Brzeski
patrick.brzeski@thr.com
+81 (0) 80 5900 0233
Rebecca Ford
rebecca.ford@thr.com
+1 310 929 7054
Alex Ritman
alex.ritman@thr.com
+44 79 3000 3017
Scott Roxborough
scott.roxborough@thr.com
+49 (0) 172 587 5075
Georg Szalai
georg.szalai@thr.com
+44 777 137 0103
Etan Vlessing
etan.vlessing@sympatico.ca
+1 416 578 8276
REVIEWERS
Jon Frosch
jon.frosch@thr.com
+1 310 773 7191
Deborah Young
dyoung@mclink.it
David Rooney
drooney@nyc.rr.com
Jordan Mintzer
jpmintzer@mac.com
Boyd van Hoeij
filmboyd@gmail.com
COPY
Mike Barnes
mike.barnes@thr.com
ART
Kelsey Stefanson
kelsey.stefanson@thr.com
Christopher Hawkins
christopher.hawkins@thr.com
PRODUCTION
Maya Eslami
maya.eslami@thr.com
PUBLISHER
Lynne Segall
lynne.segall@thr.com
SALES
Alison Smith
alison.smith@thr.com
+44 7788 591 781
Debra Fink
debra.fink@thr.com
+1 213 448 5157
Lourdes Costa
lourdes.costa@thr.com
+44 7516 386 360
Frederic Fenucci
frederic.fenucci@thr.com
+44 7985 251 814
Tommaso Campione
tommaso.campione@thr.com
+44 7793 090 683
Ivy Lam
ivy.lam@thr.com
+852 617 692 72

replica of the J.R. Ewing bunkhouse from the show that was
built by a newly rich capitalist in
Romania in the 1990s. At first, it
attracted hordes of tourists and
Dallas fans, but now its more of
a run-down shell, says Huang.
A lot of Romanians are kind of
embarrassed about the place.
In the film, Ungur stars as a
Dallas-obsessed Romanian
who, like her country, is haunted
by the show and its impact. The
characters of Bobby and J.R.
inspire the 1989 Romanian revoappear only as ghostly apparitions
lution that toppled Ceausescu.
in voice-overs. Initially, Huang
For years, Larry Hagman would
had planned to voice the Bobby
tell me how he took personal
parts himself but, on a whim, he
credit for defeating commusent a copy of the nearly finished
nism, Duffy told The Hollywood
film to Duffy.
Reporter. I used to take that
I admit, at first I didnt
with a grain of salt, but over
understand it, says Duffy.
the years, I had the strangIt wasnt the kind of
est series of coincidences.
movie Im used to seeing.
I was at the Washington
So I showed it to my sons,
Duffy
correspondents dinner and the
who said, This is brilliant,
Romanian ambassador ran over
you have to get involved. The
to shake my hand and tell me how actor waived his usual fee, asking
important Dallas was to defeating only for a good bottle of wine to
the communist regime. Then just
revisit the career-defining role.
last June I was in Monte Carlo
Huang says hes ambivalent
with my wife and the same thing
about the shows influence on the
happened: the Romanian ambascountry and its people.
sador there came over, his eyes
If you look at the brand of corwelled up with tears, and he took
rupt crony capitalism embodied
his pin of the Romanian flag
by J.R. in the show, its very much
and pinned it on my jacket.
the kind of capitalism running
For Ungur and Huang, the
things in Romanian now, he says.
impetus for the film was the
So the legacy of Dallas is a comactual Hotel Dallas, a life-sized
plicated thing.
Co-director Ungur also stars
as a Romanian obsessed with
all things Dallas.

atrick Duffy actually wasnt


surprised when Romanian
director Livia Ungur and
collaborator (and husband)
Sherng-Lee Huang contacted him,
asking if he would reprise his
iconic role of TVs Bobby Ewing
for their surreal art house film
Hotel Dallas. The experimental drama, which premieres
in Berlins Panorama sidebar,
explores the impact the 1980s TV
soap had and continues to have
in shaping Romanians image
of capitalism and the West. Dallas
was the only U.S. TV show to air
in Romania during the regime
of Nicolae Ceausescu. Apparently,
the dictator thought the over-thetop portrayals of Texas cutthroat
capitalism would remind his
subjects how good they had it in
the communist state.
Instead, the show became a hit
and its stars folk heroes. If you
believe the hype, Dallas helped

berlin according to ...

THE SALE S AGENT

ANDREAS ROTHBAUER
Managing director,
Picture Tree International
The one thing you cant
live without during the
festival (not including
your phone)
Coffee and tea. I fill up a
thermos can with tea every
morning to take to the market and keep me caffeinated.
Favorite place to take
clients
Rutz Wine Bar in Chausseestrasse. Its got a great

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

D6_Berlin_Gem_HotelDallas_G.indd 6

selection of German and


Austrian wines, which are
really underrated. Its great
to see peoples faces when
they have a great Austrian
red. They dont expect it.
What you can do only
in Berlin
Smoke in bars. Its officially
illegal, but there are plenty
of places you can still
light up inside. You can get
a list of them online.
Biggest Berlin faux pas
Screaming at [European

Film Market director] Beki


Probst. The market had
just moved to the MartinGropius-Bau, and I was
unhappy with the location
and layout of our stand.
I was young and stupid, and
I just let fly. Weve long since
made up. And the stand is
still in the same place.
Advice to a Berlin
first-timer
Get away from the market
and festival bubble and
see the city. Potsdamer Platz
is not Berlin.

2/15/16 5:09 PM

PRO MOT IO N

SEE & BE SEEN

at the

CANNES
INTERNATIONAL
FILM FESTIVAL
CANNES PREVIEW ISSUE 5/4
CLOSE: 4/27

MATERIALS: 4/29

FESTIVAL AND MARKET DAILIES


5/11-5/18

THR.COM/CANNES
LIVE MAY 2016

CONTACT: UNITED STATES | Debra Fink | debra.fink@thr.com


EUROPE | Alison Smith | alison.smith@thr.com Tommaso Campione | tommaso.campione@thr.com
Frederic Fenucci | frederic.fenucci@billboard.com | +44 7985 251 814
ASIA | Ivy Lam | ivy.lam@thr.com AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND | Lisa Cruse | lisa@spiritedmedia.co.nz

thrhaff_FPBerlin_Cannes_Coverage_2016.indd 1

2/8/16 12:06 PM

Q&A DIRECTOR

Michael
Grandage

The multiple Tony and Olivier


winner dishes about making the scary
transition from stage to screen (a la
Sam Mendes) with Genius By Alex Ritman

Youve lined up an enviable A-list cast for your


film debut. How did that happen?
Colin was attached to it when it came to
me. His agent is also Nicoles agent, so shed
seen the script and called, long before we
were doing Photograph 51. Jude is a longtime
collaborator in the theater. Laura was just
somebody whom I adore and thought shed be
perfect. I have to say, if its always as easy
as that, Ill be really, really happy!
Even though you are a successful theater
director, were you worried about undue levels of
expectation for your first film?
The only thing going into the film I felt
confident about was the interaction with
the actors. But the rest, the technical side
particularly, was all alien. Ive never been
to any kind of film school. So I spent a year
shadowing friends. I did a bit of work with
Kenneth Branagh, going to the Cinderella and
Jack Ryan sets. I also surrounded myself
with really good people. They could have
patronized the hell out of me. But the whole
thing was a very collaborative process.
Did other theater directors who have moved into
film offer you any advice?

Thanks to advice from


Mendes, I went into
the shoot [for Genius]
so confidently,
says Grandage.

Sam Mendes gave me the most amazing tip,


which was such a simple thing. He said, Use
every single day of your preproduction well,
because it will yield results as soon as you go
into the shoot. Its true. Theres nothing more
satisfying than turning up on set and having
hundreds of people all looking at you going,
Does he know what hes doing and does he
know what he wants? and the moment you
open your mouth you go, What Id like to do
is You literally watch them relax, because
they go, Oh, thank God.

How does West look as Hemingway?


Brilliant. He made a complete transformation, partly due to an extraordinary hair and
makeup department. Ive worked with Dom
before, and he does get into character. Even if
he hadnt got the right mustache and hairpiece, he would have still been Hemingway.

How do you now see your new film career fitting


in alongside everything else?
The story of a book editor doesnt initially sound
Well, I want to do more, and I probably will
like an edge-of-seat cinematic experience. How
do one as early as this year or early next. It
were you drawn to it?
was very odd. I kept waiting for the process
I was phenomenally attracted to the story
that was going to be the unsatisfying bit, but
from the first word. I realized, just to be
I loved every part of it. Which is why I want to
selfish for a second, that while it was a story
go back and do another quite quickly. I want
about an editor and his relationship with
to do a film of Photograph 51, with Nicole.
his writers, it also dealt with what a director
does, which is taking the genius of the raw
It seems incredible that your only other film work
material and crafting it in order to bring it to
was The Madness of King George.
the public. In this case, the writer is Thomas
And it was a non-speaking role. Actually, its
Wolfe and the editor is Max Perkins, and we
a screaming man, so I do have some vocals.
watch this huge manuscript hundreds of
[Director] Nicholas Hytner had been working
thousands of words start to come down,
with a group of us, so when he got his first
with lots of tears and lots of laughter. And of
film, he wrote a little card to all
course, this exposes what the
of us with parts, saying, I can
film is really about friendship.
BY THE NUMBERS
offer you a sailor, pig farmer,
Im with you, on paper its a dry
amputee I went, Ooh, Ill
subject, but I hope in reality its
be an amputee. I did the same
something with juice in it.
Grandages Tony
with Genius. I wrote to a lot of my
Award noms, including
two wins for Red (best play
collaborators, explaining that I
Youve got West playing Ernest
and direction of a play)
could offer actress in theater,
Hemingway, Law as Wolfe and
station master, etc. And all my
Pearce as F. Scott Fitzgerald. Do you
old friends and colleagues from
think Americans might be upset
Olivier Award noms, including
a win for directing Caligula
my theater performances are in
about their literary greats being
there somewhere.
portrayed by Brits and Australians?
We now swap all the time.
Years spent (2002-12) as
Which limb were you missing?
Weve had an American playing
artistic director of the Donmar
It was my leg, I think.
Margaret Thatcher! If all
Warehouse in London

10

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

D6_Berlin_QA_grandage_I.indd 8

those Americans can come over and play


famous Brits, then a few Brits can play a few
famous Americans.

SARAH LEE/THE GUARDIAN/SIPA USA

OR SOM EON E W HOSE ON LY PR EV IOUS

film role in front of and behind the


camera was playing a screaming
amputee in 1994s The Madness of King
George, Michael Grandage, 53, might
appear to have done well having his directorial debut land in the Berlin Film Festivals
main competition. The intervening two
decades have, of course, seen the Brit rise to
become one of the most celebrated theater
directors on either side of the Atlantic.
His most recent West End production, the
Nicole Kidman-starring Photograph 51,
received rave reviews, sparking talk of a U.S.
move, while his Broadway revival of Hughie
with Forest Whitaker is in previews ahead
of its premiere on Feb. 25 (he flew to Berlin
for just 24 hours for the red carpet). And
then theres the film in question Genius,
which dives into the world of celebrated
New York book editor Max Perkins and stars
Kidman, Colin Firth, Jude Law, Dominic
West, Laura Linney and Guy Pearce.

2/15/16 4:32 PM

P RO M OT I O N

JUNE 12, 2015

LAWSUITS, SECRET MEETINGS, REVENGE


UTAs midnight raid on CAA was just the tip
of a new Hollywood power struggle as
private equity and pressure to grow by (almost)
any means redefine the cutthroat talent business

THE INSURGENTS

From left: UTAs David Kramer,


Jay Sures and Jeremy Zimmer

WHATS UP WITH
WONDER WOMAN?

Warners Greg Silverman answers


that question and much more
E XCLUSIVE PHOTOS

SUMNERS 92ND
BIRTHDAY BASH

Les Moonves, Philippe Dauman


and the girlfriends party

AGENCY
19cover_l [P]{Print}.indd 2

WARS

The Breakfast Club The ball-busting quartet sitting in the corner by the window in the
dining commissary at the MPTF Country Houses Fran and Ray Stark Villa started as a table for two:
David Kramer, 81, began dining with Mickey Callan, 79, soon after the latter moved to the campus. Then
Bridget [Swackhamer] showed up and Mickey hit on her and then changed his mind, then I hit on her
and I wasnt going to let her go, Kramer says. We left our original table and took a place where the
three of us could be together, and Stuart [Damon] asked one day, Could I join your table? and we just

stood up and we applauded and he sat down and that was it. The four (three stars and a press agent,
says former publicist Kramer of his retired actor pals) have met every weekday since. At 8 a.m., the
game is on: This is the table of hooligans, says Damon, 78. Sarcasm reigns. We dont listen to each
other we also dont hear each other! Notes Callan, We talk about our ex-wives. Swackhamer,
74, jumps in to object: No ex-wife here. Damon: Thats OK, we can always talk about your name; it
looks great on a marquee. Callan, as is often the case, has the last word: Two marquees!

5/28/15 6:22 PM

Mickey Callan

PREVIOUS SPREAD: BUILDING: WESLEY MANN. THIS PAGE: POOL: WESLEY MANN. HOPE, OPENING, AERIAL, GARDEN, KRAMER, SAMBERG: COURTESY OF MPTF. CALLAN:
COLUMBIA PICTURES/PHOTOFEST. DAMON, HANLEY: EVERETT COLLECTION. GROOMING BY MISHELLE PARRY AND ASHLEY DONOVAN AT CELESTINE AGENCY.

A Broadway star
(West Side Story) and
Columbia contract
actor, he appeared in
Cat Ballou with Jane
Fonda in 1965, among
other film and TV roles.

predictable propensity among residents to ham


it up (Johnny Weissmuller was known to let out
his Tarzan call while walking around the campus
during his stay in long-term care) and equally
predictable carping about the new films screened
each Sunday and Thursday at the Louis B. Mayer
Theater (Nobody knows how to enunciate!
Nothings properly lit!). High-profile visitors
still come to connect with former colleagues. I
had lost track of Jan Sterling, who was my co-star
in Billy Wilders Ace in the Hole, says Douglas.
We had a wonderful time reminiscing, particularly about the scene where I choked her with a
fur piece and almost killed her. I visited her often
until her death [in 2004].
Foster, whose seven-figure gift financed an
aquatics therapy center that opened in 2006,
often visited her studio teacher Irene Brafstein
(who also taught Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields
and Molly Ringwald) in the hospital on campus.
I have a loyalty oath to the people who raised
me, says Foster. You talk to people there, and
its kind of a tapestry. Indeed, the MPTF is a
centrifuge of industry name-dropping (even if
those names might often be modified by late)
PHOTOGRAPHED BY

Wesley Mann

13fea_MPTF_L [P]{Print}.indd 67

Stuart Damon

He played Dr. Alan


Quartermaine on ABCs
General Hospital
for more than 30 years
(with stints on other
soaps and series
including Space: 1999).

Bridget Hanley
Swackhamer

David Kramer

He worked as a
publicist for stars
including Leslie Nielsen
(right, with Kramer in
the 1980s), Tony Curtis,
Farrah Fawcett
and Richard Harris.

She starred as Candy


Pruitt (here with Bobby
Sherman) on the 1960s
series Here Come the
Brides, and later was
on Harper Valley P.T.A.

unrivaled outside of Soho House. You still see


people networking, marvels Beitcher.
That networking often is therapeutic. The
setup there, it looks like a beautiful studio, says
Cynthia Sikes Yorkin, wife of 89-year-old directorproducer Bud Yorkin, who returned in March
to their Bel Air house under hospice care after his
18-month stay in Woodland Hills for treatment
for dementia. What was wonderful for Bud is
that he felt like he was on the lot. Everyone is in
show business. Those photos of the stars up on the
wall; its just like a commissary. He was talking
about his work. He felt like he was recognized, at
the pond, the rose garden. Even though he wasnt
able to engage in the same way conversationally
hes very cognizant, but he couldnt express it
it was so sustaining. It allowed him to have that
engagement in life that he wouldnt have been
able to have anywhere else.
That rose garden, by the way, came courtesy of
MPTF supporter Roddy McDowall, who attended
the Country Houses groundbreaking as a child
actor. As he was nearing death in 1998, McDowall
summoned Elizabeth Taylor and Sybil Burton
Richard Burtons wife at the time of his and

Taylors initial affair to his Fryman Canyon


estate: [The women] hadnt talked in all of those
years, says Scherer, who witnessed the occasion. Hes got a morphine drip. It turned out to
be his last real day of consciousness. He says
to them, You two are going to raise the money
for a rose garden together or Ill haunt you from
my grave. They looked at Roddy, and their
love of Roddy was greater than their hate for each
other. And the night we dedicated the garden in
2001, Elizabeth Taylor calls Sybil up and apologizes. Its the power of this place.
C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 7 0

Casey Affleck, Taylor


Hathaway, Joseph Schilling, Anne
and Andy SambergGordon-Levitt
attended 2014s
Reel Stories, Real Lives
fundraiser
this years event
is April 25.

www.thr.com | THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

| 67

4/17/15 8:39 PM

18 WINS

LOS ANGELES PRESS CLUB 2015 NATIONAL


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALISM AWARDS
INCLUDING

BEST PUBLICATION & BEST WEBSITE

thrhaff_FP_berlin_LA press club wins_2016.indd 1

2/5/16 10:04 AM

Alone
in Berlin

R O U N D T A B L E
The all-star cast and director of the Berlinale
competition entry discuss why the real-life story of
an ordinary German couple who fought back against
the Nazis needs to be told now more than ever
BY SCOTT ROXBOROUGH

T S TA K EN N E A R LY 70 Y E A R S TO BR I NG ALONE IN BERLIN TO

the screen. The story of a real-life working- class German couple


who begin an extraordinary campaign of resistance against
the Nazis, the tale was first written about in 1947 by German
Hans Fallada. His novel, one of the first anti-Nazi books to be published in the country after World War II, was a hit in Germany but
fell into obscurity. It was rediscovered in 2009 and, translated into
English, became a global best-seller.
The 2016 film adaptation of Alone in Berlin by Swiss actor-turneddirector Vincent Perez, 51, stars Irishman Brendan Gleeson, 60, and
London native Emma Thompson, 56, as Otto and Anna Quangel.
After their son is killed in the war, and with Adolf Hitler at the height
of his power, the Quangels begin to write postcards denouncing the
Nazis and distribute them across Berlin. German star Daniel Bruhl,
37, plays the police detective who is tasked with finding the culprit
behind this act of treason.
On Monday, just hours ahead of the films world premiere in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival, the director and cast
sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss the long journey from
book to film and the importance of fighting tyranny, whatever the cost.
What drew you all to this story?
VINCENT PEREZ Reading the book.
When I read the book, I was
totally immersed in that time
and, having a German mother,
I was quite fascinated by it. I
really felt something new about
that time. It was like a voice
whispering, It was like that.
It became very important for
me to make this film. It became
a very long journey for me, it
took me nine years.
EMMA THOMPSON I knew the book
and I have been fascinated with
the Second World War since I
did Remains of the Day [in 1993].
I have always been interested in
what it was like for Germans living here while that terrible thing
was rising up within their power
structures. Ive always thought
that the Nazis invaded Germany
as well as everywhere else, and
that is not well understood.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY

D6_Berlin_roundtable_I.indd 10

This story is about


what it means to be
human under the most
difficult possible
circumstances,
Thompson says.

I G OT THE SCR IP T F IR ST,


BEFORE I READ THE
BOOK. AND IT HAD SUCH
A BA R E -FACE D AT TACK ON
T R U T H . I K N E W I T WA S
SPECTACU L A R .
Gleeson, on what attracted him to the project

Fabrizio Maltese

2/15/16 6:27 PM

THIS STORY
HAPPENED IN
GER M A N Y, BU T I T
COULD HAPPEN
IN FRANCE, IT
COULD HAPPEN
A N Y W HER E .
Perez

Read THRs
review of
Alone in Berlin
on page 16.

The story is also a


warning to be alert for
any sort of manipulation
and changes in society,
which we are seeing right
now, says Bruhl.

Having been born, lets face it,


only 15 years after the end of
the war in a rather austere postwar London, the effect of the
Second World War is very much
felt on our generation because of
our parents. Its inside all of us
not Daniel, because hes much
younger but me and Brendan
certainly. Its fascinating and horrifying and its terribly, terribly
important that we know that
in this country there were people
who were appalled and who
tried to resist.
This was not a story I was
told while growing up. I was, in
a sense, brainwashed. Because
we all watched the films where
only the British people (were
the heroes) and in France too,
all those films about the French
resistance. And Vincent had his
commitment to the story, his
family background, his deep connection to it. It never occurred
to me to say anything but, We
have to do it.
BRENDAN GLEESON I got the script
first, before I read the book. And
it had such a bare-faced attack
on truth, (especially) in terms
of the relationship between the
two married people, which I
found massively interesting and
challenging. I remember being
in Berlin when the wall was here.
We hitched through East Berlin
and stopped in a cafe and had the

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

D6_Berlin_roundtable_I.indd 11

feeling, a very real feeling, that


you better keep your head down.
The notion of the lack of trust
and the breakdown of the marriage (in the script) it provided
this superb dramatic challenge of
having so much silence. I knew it
was spectacular. So I was champing at the bit.
DANIEL BRUHL I am fascinated
by Falladas writing in general.
Its a very precise, very tough
language, with stories often
focusing on working-class people.
And this book in particular is a
history lesson for myself. I live in
this neighborhood, in Prenzlauer
Berg. These are my streets where
I live everyday. I was attracted by
the character I play because this
is a man who was broken by the
regime. It happened to so many
people. Emmas right, Im a bit
younger, but as a German, you
eventually are confronted by this
question: What did my family do?
How did they behave? For every
German, this is a subject that,
eventually, becomes important.
Its rare to see Germans depicted
this way in the cinema, particularly
in an English-language film.
PEREZ Yeah, there have been
some German films depicting
the German perspective, but not
many on an international level
Thats one of the reasons we did
it in English. This isnt a story we

11

2/15/16 6:28 PM

want or need to tell the German


people. They know the history.
But to make an international film
that will play everywhere is a gesture to show to everyone that
this story happened in Germany,
but it could happen in France, it
could happen anywhere.
The other big challenge was to
make a movie about the Second
World War that doesnt look like
all the other ones. That was one
of the main visual challenges. It
was a real gift to find the house
where we shot, to be able to have
that whole house, a real house
from the time, and be able to put
everyone in it. But the heart of
the film is something else. The
heart of the film is the couple,
how they reconnect after the loss
of a child by finding a cause.
THOMPSON Each scene with them
together is like a little play
about marriage. They are people
who rediscover love again
because they are doing something together, something
worthwhile. Thats very real and
very modern. Thats because
we are so often dealing with
relationships in films that are
just pablum. But this relationship is about something. Its
about people finding meaning,
and within this meaning grows
this beautiful plant of love.
Daniel, your character is not a Nazi
but is doing the job of the Gestapo,
just following orders. Thats an
argument, or excuse, often heard
from Germans at the time.
BRUHL When I did my social
year, which you do here instead
of going into the army, I cared
for 12 different people from that
generation, and that was my
only chance to speak to actual
people who had lived this. And
11 of them said exactly that: we
didnt know, we didnt know. So
in the preparation for the film,
we talked about a book that is
very interesting, Defying Hitler
by Sebastian Haffner. The author
was a young lawyer who fled and
went to England, and his book
shows that you could know. At
least in the cities, you knew what
was going on.
THOMPSON This story is about
what it means to be human
under the most difficult possible
circumstances. What Fallada
and Haffner also write about so
beautifully is the bewilderment
and the heartbreak of the people
who worked within the police

and law. These tools that had


been invented and relied upon
for many centuries to protect
us and balance our behavior were
quietly dismantled, taken away
and replaced by the most
brutal and literally cretinous
human stupidity.
GLEESON I think very few people
can allow themselves to see
what is actually happening. I
mean, how many people go to an
abattoir? Most people eat a steak.
People only see what they want to
see, really. When you are pushed
to do the right thing, its difficult.
THOMPSON There is a great essay
called The Bureaucracy of
Homicide in the book Protest
and Survive that is about the
bureaucracy of the CIA and FBI
and the ways you can convince
someone to press a button that
will send a drone to kill people
miles and miles away with whom
you have no quarrel. So we are all
doing it now. Lets not pretend

this is something that happened


in the past. This is present, at the
moment. We are sending drones
to kill people who are not hurting
us. We are all part of this. We are
all saying, I cant afford to look
at that, its too disturbing.
In the end, Otto and Anna write
hundreds of cards, almost all of
which are immediately turned into
the Gestapo. Their effort seems
almost pointless.
GLEESON Thats always the challenge, that its a useless gesture.
Thats the inner fear, that all of
this is worthless. Its like hitting
the wall in the marathon, when
you think theres no point.
But getting through that, thats
when the breakthrough happens.
And remember, this is early in
the French campaign. Its 1940.
They think no one understands
the pain, because it hasnt
touched everyone yet, in the
way it will. On one postcard,
they wrote, They killed our

From left: Gleeson, Thompson,


Perez and Bruhl were
photographed Feb. 15
at Borchardt in Berlin.
Inset: Gleeson and Thompson in
a scene from the film.

son, theyll kill yours. Its not


just a gesture, its trying to open
peoples eyes, to stop cooperating
with the war machine.
VINCENT Otto and Anna, what
I like about them, they are not
superheroes with machine guns.
They are doing something on their
level, but they are doing it. And
they will give their lives for that.
THOMPSON Its something any of
us who have engaged in activism
of any kind or objected to any
of the wars are confronted with.
You oppose the Iraq War, and
then you are told you must be

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

D6_Berlin_roundtable_I.indd 12

Saddam Husseins friend. That


happened to me, in my own
country. Intelligent journalists,
who, because you objected to a
war in which they were going to
bomb a huge bloody great city
and kill civilians, that somehow
that makes you Saddam Husseins
best friend. That happened in
1990. Hello? Wake up! We are
doing it again. We will keep doing
it unless we keep learning.
PEREZ What happens with the
Quangels is they managed to fall
in love again. They managed to
connect. And thats enough.

12

2/15/16 6:28 PM

LETS NOT PRETEND THIS IS


SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED IN
T H E PA S T. T H I S I S P R E S E N T, AT
THE MOM EN T. W E A R E SEN DI NG
DRONES TO KILL PEOPLE WHO ARE
NOT HURTING US. WE ARE ALL
PA RT OF T H I S . W E A R E A L L
SAYING, I CANT AFFORD TO LOOK
AT TH AT, IT S TOO DIST U R BI NG.
Thompson, on contemporary parallels to Alone in Berlin

What was the greatest challenge in


making this film?
THOMPSON The greatest challenge
was stopping talking long enough
to film the bloody thing. We
would sit there for hours talking
and talking. It went on for
days. And finally Vincent says,
Hey, we have to film this.
This isnt just a novel. Its based on a
real couple. What personally do you
take from their story?
BRENDON Just encouragement.
That little voice, or that sometimes massive voice, thats inside

you that says, Thats wrong,


actually. Their story encourages
you to listen to that voice, to
realize its right.
THOMPSON During the shoot,
Vincent kept on saying to me, Tu
es deja une combattante! You
are already a combatant. Which
is true. Im always banging on
about something. Its Anna who
is finding her way, finding whats
inside her. For me, the inspiration
is this woman who had no education to speak of and no joy in her
life, really, discovering the bit of
her that was able to rebel. The bit

of her that was able to say, No,


Im not going to behave like that.
Im going to do what feels right.
Thats hugely inspirational. It
reminds us of what we need to do.
We mustnt forget that, however
well-heeled we become, however
well-versed we become, however
well-educated we are its not
as if people who have had all the
education and opportunities that
weve all had dont sometimes
turn into monsters. They do. We
always have to be alert. That
was so inspiring, that this woman
woke up and was brave.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

D6_Berlin_roundtable_I.indd 13

BRUHL Their story also is a

warning to be alert for any sort


of manipulation and changes in
society, which we are seeing right
now. I have to say I really like our
chancellor, but the refugee crisis
has changed Germany already.
Slowly, there is a poison that goes
around; people who thought they
were liberal are not so liberal
anymore. You can really witness
how the whole country, the whole
continent, is changing. Thats
dangerous. You have to be aware.
And be willing and have the guts
to say something about it.

13

2/15/16 6:28 PM

Shochikus Creepy

EFM SCREENING GUIDE


2016
FEB. 16

9:00 Cloudy Sunday,


CinemaxX 9, 116 mins., Greece,
Feelgood Entertainment
The Beat of Love, dffb-Kino,
77 mins., Slovenia, Slovenian
Film Centre
Fukushima, mon amour,
CinemaxX 11, 109 mins.,
Germany, The Match Factory
Robinson Crusoe, CineStar 1,
91 mins., Belgium, Studiocanal
9:15 Homo Sapiens,
CineStar 7, 94 mins., Austria,
NGF Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Filmproduktion
9:20 The Exile, CinemaxX 15,
87 mins., Spain, Cinema
Republic
Monsieur Chocolat, CineStar
2, 119 mins., France, Gaumont
9:30 Francofonia, CinemaxX
12, 87 mins., France, Germany,
Films Boutique
The Diary of First-Graders
Mom, CinemaxX 19, 79 mins.,
Russia, Igmar
Do Mixers Go to Heaven?,
CinemaxX 17, 95 mins.,
Germany, Clip Film- und
Fernsehproduktion
Nice People, CinemaxX 14,
90 mins., Sweden, First Hand
Films
Snow Monkey, CinemaxX 16,
148 mins., Australia, Norway,
Cinephil
Winwin, CinemaxX 13,
84 mins., Austria, Stray Dogs
Our Lovers By Invitation
Only, CinemaxX 2, 90 mins.,
Spain, Filmax International
Par accident, CineStar 4,
85 mins., France, Be for Films
Much Loved, CinemaxX 18,
104 mins., France, Morocco,
Celluloid Dreams
Bang Gang (A Modern Love
Story), CineStar 6, 98 mins.,
France, Films Distribution
Kids in Love, Marriott 1,
83 mins., U.K., Carnaby Intl
Sales & Distribution
9:45 Rauf, CinemaxX 10,
94 mins., Turkey, Peri Istanbul
10:00 One Breath, Zoo Palast
2, 101 mins., Germany, Greece,
ARRI Media World Sales A
Department of ARRI Media
GmbH

The Night Manager, EFM


Cinemobile, 114 mins., United
Kingdom, Spain, USA, IMG
Media
Heidi, Zoo Palast 3, 111 mins.,
Germany, StudioCanal
Kiki,Kino Arsenal 1, 95 mins.,
Sweden, USA, Films Boutique
10:40 Help, I Shrunk My
Teacher, CineStar 1, 101 mins.,
Germany, Austria, ARRI Media
10:50 Raging Rose, CinemaxX
11, 83 mins., France, Alpha
Violet
11:00 Sophies Misfortunes,
CineStar 4, 104 mins., France,
Gaumont
The Small and the Wicked,
CinemaxX 19, 94 mins.,
Germany, Coin Film
Nise The Heart of
Madness, dffb-Kino,
109 mins., Brazil, TvZero
French Cuisine, CinemaxX 9,
81 mins., France, Studiocanal
Truth and Power, MGB-Kino,
43 mins., USA, Participant
Media
Second Origin, CinemaxX 12,
107 mins., Spain, United
Kingdom, DeAPlaneta
Toronah, CineStar 5,
71 mins., Canada, The Annex
Entertainment
The Dreamed Ones,
CinemaxX 13, 89 mins.,
Austria, Ruth Beckermann
Filmproduction
Eastern Business,
CinemaxX 15, 89 mins.,
Romania, Romanian Film
Center
11:10 Walking Distance,
CinemaxX 17, 104 mins.,
Mexico, Pluto Film
Shooting Stars, CinemaxX 2,
112 mins., Croatia, Serbia,
Croatian Audiovisual Centre
11:15 Parasozial, Marriott 1,
93 mins., Germany, USA, Wind
Child Entertainment
Creepy, CineStar 6, 130 mins.,
Japan, Shochiku
The Swedish Theory of
Love, CinemaxX 14, 75 mins.,
Sweden, First Hand Films
Keeper, Kino Arsenal
2, 95 mins., Belgium,
Switzerland, France, Be for
Films

11:30 The New Classmate,


CinemaxX 18, 100 mins., India,
Films Boutique
Letters from War, CineStar 2,
105 mins., Portugal, The Match
Factory
Amok, Parliament, 100 mins.,
Macedonia, Dream Factory
Macedonia
Creative Control, CinemaxX 5,
97 mins., USA, Coproduction
Office
Miss Impossible, CinemaxX
10, 90 mins., France, Doc &
Film International

12:45 Attack of the


Lederhosenzombies,
CinemaxX 19, 78 mins.,
Austria, Eastwest
Filmdistribution
Black, CineStar 4, 95 mins.,
Belgium, Be for Films
12:50 Bone Tomahawk,
CinemaxX 12, 134 mins., USA,
Celluloid Dreams
13:00 Magnus, CinemaxX 9,
76 mins., Norway,
TrustNordisk
The Inerasable, Marriott 1,
107 mins., Japan, Shochiku
Port of Call, dffb-Kino, 98
mins., Hong Kong, China, All
Rights Entertainment
Tale of a Lake, CineStar 1,
76 mins., Finland, LevelK

12:00 Outside, Zoo Palast 2,


87 mins., Germany, Romania,
Tag/Traum Filmproduktion
I Am the Ambassador,
MGB-Kino, 57 mins., Denmark,
DR Sales
Trenk, the Little Knight, Zoo
Palast 3, 80 mins., Germany,
Austria, Global Screen

13:10 The Pleasure Is Mine,


CinemaxX 18, 93 mins.,
Mexico, Capricci Films
Showcase TV Drama Vision
Scandinavia, MGB-KINO, 60
mins., Sweden, Goteborg Film
Festival

12:10 Exiled, CinemaxX 16,


102 mins., Latvia, Lithuania,
Reel Suspects
Meet the Guilbys, CinemaxX
1, 83 mins., France, Films
Distribution
12:15 Beau Sejour, EFM
Cinemobile, 52 mins., Belgium,
Lagardere Studios
The Fourth Phase, CineStar 5,
80 mins., USA, Red Bull Media
House

13:15 Amateur Teens,


Parliament, 92 mins.,
Switzerland, Film Republic
Trepalium, EFM Cinemobile,
57 mins., France, Lagardere
Studios

12:20 Burn Burn Burn,


CinemaxX 11, 106 mins.,
United Kingdom, UDI - Urban
Distribution International

13:25 The Black Frost,


CinemaxX 17, 82 mins.,
Argentina, Still Moving

12:40 Aliyah DaDa, CinemaxX


14, 115 mins., Romania,
Romanian Film Center
Mystic Mountain, CinemaxX
13, 87 mins., USA, Snow Lion
Films

13:30 Junction 48, CinemaxX


10, 97 mins., Israel, Germany,
The Match Factory
Departure, CineStar 6,
109 mins., United Kingdom,
France, Mongrel International

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

D6_Berlin_SG B.indd 1

A Unique Life, CinemaxX 15,


118 mins., Turkey, Turkish Films

Fire at Sea, CineStar 2,


107 mins., Italy, France, Doc &
Film International
14:00 California City, Zoo
Palast 3, 80 mins., Germany,
Real Fiction Filme
Family Film, CinemaxX 16,
95 mins., Czech Republic,
Germany, Slovenia,
Cercamon
The Dark Side of the Moon,
Zoo Palast 2, 97 mins.,
Germany, Luxembourg,
Picture Tree International
GmbH
14:15 Case, MGB-Kino,
94 mins., Iceland, Red Arrow
International
Free to Run, CinemaxX 13,
99 mins., France, Switzerland,
Belgium, Jour 2 Fete
Beyond the Walls, EFM
Cinemobile, 89 mins., France,
Newen Distribution
14:30 Coconut Hero,
CineStar 1, 101 mins.,
Germany, Canada, Beta
Cinema
Accabadora, CinemaxX 11,
94 mins., Italy, Rai Com
Rosehill, CinemaxX 19,
78 mins., USA, Germany,
ManifestoFilm
14:40 Go With Me,
CinemaxX 14, 91 mins., USA,
Electric Entertainment
14:45 Ivy, CinemaxX 15,
106 mins., Turkey, Germany,
Turkish Films
15:00 Two Birds, One Stone,
CinemaxX 4, 82 mins., France,
Loco Films
Belgica, CinemaxX 18,
127 mins., Belgium, France,
Netherlands, The Match
Factory

14

2/15/16 2:39 AM

EFM SCREENING GUIDE


2016
Nord Shorts Kurzfilmprogramm, CinemaxX 17, 86
mins., Germany, Tamtam Film
DXM, Parliament, 98 mins.,
Austria, Terra Mater Film
Studios
15:10 Rhubarb, CinemaxX 12,
70 mins., Netherlands, Dutch
Features Global Entertainment
15:20 Good Luck Sam,
CineStar 6, 90 mins., France,
Belgium, Films Distribution
15:30 Battle for Sevastopol,
CinemaxX 2, 123 mins., Russia,
Ukraine, Loco Films
15:45 Old Stone, CinemaxX 6,
81 mins., China, Canada,
Forum/Office
Quo vado?, CinemaxX 10,
86 mins., Italy, Taodue
Barakah Meets Barakah,
CinemaxX 16, 88 mins., Saudi
Arabia, MPM Film

16:00 Me and Kaminski, Zoo


Palast 2, 95 mins., Germany,
Belgium, The Match Factory
GmbH
Kokoro, CinemaxX 13,
90 mins., France, Tunisia,
Belgium, Doc & Film
International
Pleasure.Love, CinemaxX 19,
101 mins., China, Movie View
International
The Brotherhood, MGB-Kino,
50 mins., Mexico, 11:11 Films
and TV
Then Is It the End? The
Filmcritic Michael Althen,
Zoo Palast 3, 122 mins.,
Germany, Preview Production
16:15 Back Home, CinemaxX
11, 96 mins., Romania,
Romanian Film Center
The Writer, EFM Cinemobile,
50 mins., Israel, Keshet
International
16:20 Aloys, CineStar 1,

16:30 A Perfect Day to Fly,


CinemaxX 14, 70 mins., Spain,
Latido Films
Houra, CinemaxX 12,
80 mins., Iran, Farabi Cinema
Foundation
Death in Sarajevo,
CinemaxX 4, 85 mins., France,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, The
Match Factory

D6_Berlin_SG B.indd 2

17:30 A Maid for Each,


CinemaxX 18, 67 mins.,
Lebanon, France, Doc &
Film International
Sticky Notes, Marriott 1,
94 mins., USA, Carnaby
International Sales &
Distribution
Dust Cloth, CinemaxX 10,
99 mins., Germany, Turkey,
Ret Film
Splitting Up Together,
EFM Cinemobile, 51 mins.,
Denmark, DR Sales
A Bride for Rip Van
Winkle, dffb-Kino, 120 mins.,
Japan, Toei Company
Beowulf: Return to the
Shieldlands, EFM Cinemobile,
60 mins., United Kingdom, ITV
Studios Global Entertainment

16:40 Being Charlie,


CinemaxX 15, 97 mins., USA,
Bobs Your Uncle
17:00 Barcelona Christmas
Night, Kino Arsenal 2,
105 mins., Spain, Filmax
International
Niedersachsen
Kurzfilmprogramm,
CinemaxX 17, 69 mins.,
Germany, Junafilm
Galloping Mind, CineStar 6,
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Cinecitta D2 021216.indd 1

115 mins., Belgium, Hungary,


Be for Films
Cromo, MGB-Kino, 97 mins.,
Argentina, Pyramide
International

91 mins., Switzerland, France,


New Europe Film Sales

By Sidney Lumet, CinemaxX


16, 109 MINS., USA, Cinephil
17:40 Nagasaki: Memories of
My Son, CineStar 4, 130 mins.,
Japan, Shochiku
17:45 Chnchik, CinemaxX 14,
87 mins., Germany, Armenia,
zero fiction film
18:00 Kivalina, CinemaxX
Studio 12, 64 mins., USA, Savor
Terra Films
18:20 Heart of a Dog,
CinemaxX 15, 75 mins., USA,
Celluloid Dreams
18:45 Brothers of the Wind,
CinemaxX 18, 97 mins.,
Austria, Terra Mater Film
Studios
19:15 You Carry Me, CinemaxX
10, 162 mins., Croatia, Dutch
Features Global Entertainment

15

1/28/16 10:22 AM

2/15/16 2:39 AM

R E V I E WS
Alone in Berlin

Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson and Daniel Bruhl


star in this overly polite adaptation of Hans Falladas
WWII novel, directed by Vincent Perez BY BOYD VAN HOEIJ

GER M A N COU PL E

dedicate themselves
to tiny acts of civil
disobedience in
Nazi Germany in
Alone in Berlin, an adaptation
of the 1947 Hans Fallada novel
inspired by a true story and
published in the U.S. in 2009
as Every Man Dies Alone. After
several Mitteleuropean productions, including a 1975
West German version starring
Hildegard Knef, Swiss-born
actor-turned-helmer Vincent
Perez (Queen Margot) is the
unlikely director of this Germanaccented Anglophone version
starring Emma Thompson and
Brendan Gleeson.
They play the Quangels, a
working-class German couple
who formed a private resistance
movement of two after they lost
their son in the war. Handsomely
packaged, the film unfortunately
is also too well-behaved and
lacking in psychological depth
to really set itself apart from
countless other WWII dramas
theatrically, even if pockets
of older audiences might be
responsive. Locally, Alone in
Berlin should do decent business,
aided by the presence of local
star Daniel Bruhl (Rush),
who plays the improbably mustachioed inspector charged
with finding these middle-aged
Sophie Scholls.
At first sight, Otto and Anna
Quangel dont seem like the
types who would like to draw
attention to themselves in early
1940s Berlin. Otto is a foreman at a factory where wood is
transformed into practical and
in-demand objects such as coffins, while Anna gets dragged
along to house calls made by
the National Socialist Womens
League, whose members knock
on the doors of women not (yet)
dedicated to the war effort. Otto

isnt a party member, which


was frowned upon at that time,
but as he explains to his colleagues, hes given his only son,
Hans (Louis Hofmann), to the
country, and what more could a
man be asked to do? (The actual
couple on which the Quangels
were based, Otto and Elise
Hampel, became radicalized
after Elises brother died.)
The films screenplay, credited
to Perez and Achim von Borries
(and with uncredited input
from James Schamus, also one
of the producers), moves (too)
swiftly from Hans death seen
in an appropriately panicky
prologue to the Quangels
resistance, which consists of writing anti-Nazi statements on the
back of postcards and then leaving them in public places around
the city. The films main failing
is that it never manages to
convincingly explain why the
Quangels would do such a thing.
Clearly, they want to rebel
against the system that killed
their only child, but why strew
postcards around the city, a highrisk tactic thats not guaranteed
to make any difference?
Indeed, practically all the
postcards end up on the desk of
Inspector Escherich (Bruhl),
who, after a perfunctory complaint about lacking resources,
sets out on an increasingly
involved manhunt to find this
enemy who fights with the pen
rather than the sword. The
Quangels risk being discovered
each time they venture into the
city, but the film doesnt dramatize this convincingly; theres
the suggestion that Otto needs
to see the cards being picked up
and read, for example, but Perez
doesnt much explore this compulsion or the dangers associated
with it. Even more damaging is
the fact that the director doesnt
spend much time exploring

Gleeson (left) and Thompson are


a couple of German resistants.

what kind of satisfaction their


tiny acts of rebellion give the
protagonists, or to what extent
those acts impact their initially
wobbly marriage; neither of these
characters is a big talker.
Gleeson and Thompson make
for a believable working-class
pair, with Gleeson sporting
an impressive German accent
throughout. As in Calvary, he is
equally convincing commanding
the room or disappearing among
the masses, and hes especially
good in scenes in which he has
to do very little, even if there
finally isnt enough here to give
viewers a full handle on Ottos
emotions and motivations.
Thompson drifts in and out
of her German accent Kate
Winslet in The Reader shes not
and her character is even less
developed, barely more than a
stick-figure grieving mother.
Her association with the Womens

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D6_Berlin_rev_alone+sarajevo_I.indd 16

League, for example, suggests


that she wanted to blend in
and/or believed in Nazi ideology
for at least some time, though
Perez doesnt do much with
that except in a single scene that
finds Anna lecturing the snooty
wife of a high-ranking Nazi
official (Katharina Schuettler).
How both characters, not even
fully literate, evolved into resistants is finally more hinted at
than clearly laid out.
Bruhl is similarly boxed in by
an underdeveloped character:
Escherichs increasingly rash
actions lack sufficient motivation.
Theres pressure from his higherup (Mikael Persbrandt, playing
a Nazi with a Swedish-American
accent) to get results, but the
shocking decisions he repeatedly
makes arent fleshed out with
enough psychological nuance.
Belgian maestro of light
Christophe Beaucarne is one of

16

2/15/16 6:30 PM

Death in Sarajevo

The latest from Danis Tanovic revisits Bosnias war-torn past to little dramatic effect

Europes top cinematographers,


but his visual style here lends
the film a classical air that
doesnt quite fit a story of the
satisfaction derived from private
acts of anarchy.
Similarly, the costumes and
production design are beautifully conceived but dont give
any visual clues as to why this
incongruously perfect-looking
world is something that needs to
be rebelled against.
Alexandre Desplats score
goes from mournful to percussion-filled, trying to ratchet up
the tension in the films second
half. It doesnt quite work.
Competition
Cast Emma Thompson, Brendan
Gleeson, Daniel Bruhl, Mikael
Persbrandt, Monique Chaumette,
Joachim Bissmeier, Katrin Pollitt
Director Vincent Perez
105 minutes

BY STEPHEN DALTON
ISTORY IS A HOT EL T H AT YOU CA N

check out of any time, but you can never


leave, in Bosnian Oscar-winner Danis
Tanovics compact contemporary thriller. Death
in Sarajevo takes place on June 28, 2014, the
100th anniversary of the assassination of Austrian
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the trigger event
that plunged Europe into World War I. Throwing
together multiple characters in a single luxury
hotel, this Altman-esque ensemble drama has
lofty aims but misses the target.
The film revisits events that have been covered
onscreen many times before, without throwing
much light on what they mean today. The director
admits he conceived his Bosnian-French coproduction with his fellow countrymen in mind,
and its commercial impact is unlikely to stretch
much beyond domestic audiences and connoisseurs with special interest in Balkan cinema.
The script is freely adapted from Hotel Europe,
a stage play by the flamboyant intellectual and
political activist Bernard-Henri Levy that his
fellow Frenchman, Jacques Weber, performed in
Sarajevo in 2014.
Weber returns to co-star as a version of
himself here, but Tanovic also expands and
extensively rewrites the text, opening it up into a
multicharacter story featuring a range of Balkan
voices and perspectives.
The setting is the fictional Hotel Europa,
though locals and keen-eyed tourists will recognize it as Sarajevos Holiday Inn, a modernist
landmark built for the 1984 Winter Olympics
and shelled during the Balkan wars of the early
1990s. Making full use of the building, from
rooftop terrace to basement strip club, Tanovics
restless cameras follow his characters as they
stride from room to room, scene to scene.
Boasting starry former guests including Bill
Clinton and Angelina Jolie, the Europa seems
designed to symbolize all of
Bosnia, with its colorful cast
of crooked bosses and fractious workers, shifty gangsters
and visiting dignitaries.
Behind his suave mask of
calm, hotel manager Omer
(Izudin Bajrovic) seethes
in desperation as his debts
mount and bankruptcy looks
inevitable. With a grand VIP
dinner looming to mark the
centenary of Ferdinands
death, he resorts to increasBajrovic (right) is a
hotel manager scrambling
ingly desperate measures
to avoid a staff strike.
to pressure his receptionist
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D6_Berlin_rev_alone+sarajevo_I.indd 17

Lamija (Jennifer Lopez-a-like Snezana Vidovic)


into stopping her militant mother Hatidza
(Faketa Salihbegovic-Avdagic) from leading
her co-workers into a flash strike over unpaid
wages. Threats turns to violence, then take a
creepy sexual turn.
Meanwhile, on the hotels roof, TV news
reporter Vedrana (Vedrana Seksan) debates
Sarajevos war-torn history with various
guests, including a handsome Serb nationalist (Muhamed Hadzovic) who shares his name
with Gavrilo Princip, the young firebrand who
shot Ferdinand. Once a national hero in Bosnia,
Princip is now a hugely divisive figure. The
teasing magic-realist option of bringing him
back from the dead to defend his own troubled
legacy is quickly dropped, as this Princip proves
to be merely a namesake and distant relative.
Embittered and angry, he initially seems bent
on murder too, only to glumly conclude no
assassination could change anything today.
Despite its hand-held energy and zippy realtime pacing, Death in Sarajevo lacks the urgency
and friction required to function as a coherent
thriller. Tanovic peppers the action with potentially explosive ingredients drugs, guns, thugs,
fascists but his plot is too loose and diffuse to
make them dramatically interesting.
The message that historical events are always
complex and controversial, especially in the
Balkans, is unquestionably true but hardly a
profound insight. Not quite a political thriller, not
quite a provocative drama, not quite an inspired
stage adaptation, Death in Sarajevo is a minor
addition to Tanovics illustrious body of work.
Competition
Cast Jacques Weber, Snezana Vidovic, Izudin
Bajrovic, Vedrana Seksan, Muhamed Hadovic
Director Danis Tanovic // 85 minutes

17

2/15/16 6:31 PM

REVIEWS

Kutsuna (left) and


Takeshi are an
unlikely couple.

While the Women Are Sleeping

Iconic Japanese actor Beat Takeshi is a mysterious voyeur in Wayne Wangs stylish psycho noir

BY DEBORAH YOUNG
N OV ER LY CU R IOUS

novelist delves too deeply


into the affairs of an
older man and his barely legal
companion in While the Women
Are Sleeping. In his first time
filming in the land of the rising
sun, versatile Chinese-American
director Wayne Wang (Maid in
Manhattan, The Joy Luck Club)
deftly transfers Javier Marias
enigmatic, semi-erotic short story
from Spain to Japanese climes.
The result has the calculated fascination of a Patricia Highsmith
thriller, though minus her moral
ironies and plus some very Wangian tongue-in-cheek satire. Shot
with a light touch, pleasingly
stylish and hard to secondguess, the film is a warm tease
up to its deliberately ambiguous

ending, which will leave audiences scratching their heads and


may limit business to card-carrying art house members.
The spotlight is on the performance of a zen-like Beat Takeshi
(aka director Takeshi Kitano) in
the role of a mystery man besotted with his young girlfriend,
whom he tapes every day while
shes sleeping. In his first major
role outside of his own films in a
decade, he grounds the story
with an electrifying presence at
once lovable and menacing.
But hes not the only voyeur
in the story. Kenji (Hidetoshi
Nishijima), a novelist with writers block, has an obsession with
the strange couple and soon turns
into a peeping Tom. Kenji and his
editor wife Aya (Sayuri Oyamada)

3 Questions With
Wayne Wang

by Gavin J. Blair

Working in a language that you cant understand, were you


worried about nuances in the story being lost?
That was nerve-racking, and I had to put some of my confidence
in my producer Yukie [Kito] and the writer. The writer was very
picky that she was not just going to translate, but also rewrite in
Japanese. There were so many layers of checks. The assistant

are sharing a weeks vacation


at a fancy beach resort. After an
acclaimed first novel, Kenji
has fallen into a writing slump
and despite Ayas coaxing is
unable to start a new book.
Inspiration is waiting on the
other side of the pool, where they
first notice the odd couple Sahara
(the 68-year-old Kitano) and his
stunning 19-year-old girlfriend,
Miki (Shiori Kutsuna). Its obsession at first sight for Kenji, who
begins to stalk them. The mystery
surrounding them only deepens
when Sahara shows Kenji the
tapes he has made of Miki while
shes asleep. He says that he has
filmed her every day for the last
10 years, erasing each days previous tape, so he will have a record
of her last day. Because one day

directors were also completely bilingual. And then when I gave


the script to the actors, they flagged a few things too.
Youve had a multicultural life; did that help prepare you
to make this film?
My wife always tells me Im a bird without landing gear. I love
traveling, I love trying to get beneath cultures and understand
them. When I go back to China, I dont feel Im really Chinese.
Im more American, but Im not really American. What the hell I
am, I dont know.

he knows she will betray him.


And he will have to kill her.
Its a nice set-up and handled
with flair. Even though nothing terrible happens onscreen
nothing worse than a pair of
bright red socks slowly sinking to
the bottom of the pool Wang
charges the atmosphere, and
every act is filled with danger. In
one scene, the wide-eyed, perspiring writer hovers in the doorway
of Saharas hotel room while
the older man expertly shaves
the neck of sleeping Miki with a
sharp barbers razor before photographing her. Its an erogenous
zone Westerners may not automatically go to, but is much more
disturbing than brief glimpses of
the girls bare thighs.
Theres humor in the film, too.
Actor Lily Franky peppers up the
role of a spacey, aging hippie who
runs a cozy restaurant where the
couples tryst. Though Aya, Kenjis
wife, seems too much the superficial chatterbox to count, she, too,
has her day turning the tables,
when Sahara plants suspicions of
infidelity in his mind.
The Japanese tech work is
outstanding in creating the kind
of dreamlike atmosphere needed
to make this work, particularly
Atsuhiro Nabeshimas stylish
cinematography and Norifumi
Atakas minimalist production
design centered around the
hotel. As the film speeds to its
end, some continuity questions
arise why is Kenjis soaking wet
jacket suddenly dry in the next
shot? that may be clues to the
doubtful reality of what is happening around him.
Panorama Special
Cast Beat Takeshi, Hidetoshi
Nishijima, Shioli Kutsuna,
Sayuri Oyamada, Lily Franky,
Hirofumi Arai, Makiko Watanabe
Director Wayne Wang
103 minutes

What was it like directing Takeshi, whos known as quite


a character?
Hes so powerful and so strong that I didnt have to do
much. The only thing that was kind of intimidating was that
he told me he only does one take, even in his own
films. But I got him to do a few. He always
joked with me that after wed done one take,
I always said, That was perfect, lets do
another one. Hed be like, Why do we need
Wang
another one if it was perfect?

THE
THEHOLLYWOOD
HOLLYWOODREPORTER
REPORTER18
18

D6_Berlin_rev_women+barakah+cross_E.indd 18

2/15/16 4:24 PM

Crosscurrent

A journey on the Yangtze River becomes a mystical mind-trip


in this pretty if ponderous Chinese film BY DEBORAH YOUNG

T
Al Banawi (left)
and Fageeh meet
cute in the
Middle East.

Barakah Meets Barakah


Mahmoud Sabbaghs sweet, slight romantic comedy
is notable mainly for hailing from Saudia Arabia

BY NEIL YOUNG
H ER E L I T T L E F E A R S GROW GR E AT, GR E AT L OV E

grows there, as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, an allmale production of which provides the backdrop for
Mahmoud Sabbaghs Saudi Arabian romantic comedy Barakah
Meets Barakah (Barakah yoqabil Barakah). Surely one of the more
conventional films ever to enjoy a premiere at the Berlinales riskembracing Forum parallel section, its of considerable interest
as a very rare cinematic export from a country where nearly all
manifestations of cinema have been officially banned since 1979.
A suitable pick for any festival or platform favoring humanrights themes, this easygoing crowd-pleaser is rendered rich and
strange by its unlikely origins, arriving 3 1/2 years after Haifaa
Al-Mansours German-produced, Oscar-submitted Wadjda. And
screen-debutante leading lady Fatima Al Banawi, who plays wellheeled, immaculately attired Instagram celebrity Bibi, displays a
winning combination of beauty and personality.
Fashion-forward Bibi is taking part in a photo shoot on the
Djeddah waterfront when municipal law-enforcement officer
Barakah (Hisham Fageeh) turns up to check on permits. Bibi
and Barakahs paths cross on several further occasions, with a
palpable romantic spark quickly taking hold between two twentysomethings who hail from very different social strata. Bibi has
been brought up in Western-style luxury by her adoptive parents;
amateur-dramatics enthusiast Barakah resides in a ramshackle
neighborhood notable for its strong community spirit. Hes the
beneficiary of daily advice from two elderly locals: his shishapuffing uncle Daash (Sami Hifny) and foghorn-voiced midwife
Saadiya (Khairia Nazmi), who lives in his buildings rooftop apartment and is an ebulliently abundant source of folklore remedies.
The ever-watchful holy cops are the main obstacle to Bibi and
Barakah spending any private time together, with all public spaces
governed by inflexible laws that forbid contact between unmarried
men and women. Writer-director-producer Sabbagh largely plays
such hindrances for laughs in a picture so impeccably chaste that
the lovebird couple never even get to kiss.
The development of the relationship between Barakah and
Bibi whose actual name also turns out to be Barakah, surprise,
surprise is only patchily engaging, however. Fageehs stiff earnestness underscores the virginal Barakahs hesitancy in matters
of the heart, but the business of him playing Ophelia in the Hamlet
production never clicks into proper comic gear. The picture fizzles
in its third act, rather than building to a properly satisfying finale.
Forum
Cast Hisham Fageeh, Fatima Al Banawi, Sami Hifny
Director Mahmoud Sabbaghe // 88 minutes

H E W I N T ER JOU R N EY OF
becomes apparent when she magically turns up in distant places
a small cargo boat up
along the river, is a spirit. In one
the Yangtze River, from
of her incarnations, shes a devout
Shanghai to its source in the high
Buddhist living in a remote
mountains, becomes the excuse
temple, though she doesnt shave
for a process of inner discovery
her head like the other nuns.
in writer-director Yang Chaos
She belongs to no man and
Crosscurrent (Chang Jiang Tu).
refuses no one who comes to her.
Much like his previous film
So much for Chuns longing to
Passages, which won a Camera
have a woman of my own.
dOr at Cannes in 2004, its all
Whatever the films clear limiabout metaphor and mood, while
tations, as the ultimate romantic
the storytelling is so lightweight
Chinese travelogue it does deliver
it might not exist. Alas, this
aesthetic pleasures. The Yangtze
drunken boat sailing on poetry
increasingly becomes a major
cant hold interest for its entire
character. Many of the scenic
two-hour running time.
towns along the river have been
Drifting through seas of
gutted by flooding, and many old
romantic doubt and yearning,
buildings have been relegated to
the scenically beat-up cargo boat
a watery grave with the construccommanded by young Captain
tion of the controversial Three
Gao Chun (Qin Hao) chugs its
Gorges Dam, whose sluice gates
way upriver. Chuns father, the
provide a breathtaking scene of
boat owner, has died, and Chun
passage for the little boat.
keeps a black fish in an incense
Ancient Buddhist temples
bowl, waiting for it to die so Dads
and statues dot the shore,
spirit can be released. This is the
captured in stunning long shots
first intimation of the mystical/
by Mark Lee Ping-Bing, a DP
traditional/Buddhist themes
on Wong Kar-wais In the Mood for
that will turn viewers on or off,
Love. Echoing his work on Hou
depending on their persuasion.
Hsiao-Hsiens The Assassin are
The film follows the rhythm of
poems written by some long-gone the strongly affecting landscapes
that seem to leap out of Chinese
deckhand who voiced his melpaintings. Meanwhile, An Weis
ancholy and feelings of despair
subdued soundtrack is exceptionin a secret diary. When Chun
ally lovely.
stumbles across the hand-written
book, he is captivated. From that
Competition
point on, he charts his course by
Cast Qin Hao, Xin Zhilei,
the river ports in the poems, and
Wu Lipeng, Wang Hongwei,
in each place he finds the same
Jiang Hualin
woman waiting for him.
Director Yang Chao
While his crew of two, kindly
116 minutes
old alcoholic Uncle Xiang (Jiang
Hualin) and needHao plans a
lessly resentful young
journey of both
deckhand Wu Sheng
body and soul.
(Wu Lipeng), is still
moored in the fog of
Shanghai harbor, Chun
first catches sight of
the beautiful An Lu
(Xin Zhilei), who stares
back at him from a boat
even more decrepit
than his own. When
he approaches her, she
shares her bed without
further preliminaries.
An Lu, as gradually

THEHOLLYWOOD
HOLLYWOODREPORTER
REPORTER19
19
THE

D6_Berlin_rev_women+barakah+cross_E.indd 19

2/15/16 4:24 PM

8 Decades of The Hollywood Reporter


The most glamorous and memorable moments from a storied history

Poitier, with this wife,


Juanita, received the Silver
Bear trophy for his work in
The Defiant Ones from
Eleanor Roosevelt (left).

HE EIGHTH EDITION

of the Berlin
International Film
Festival, held in 1958,
came at a time of transition for
Germanys most prestigious cinema event. In a speech delivered
at the opening ceremony, Berlins
new mayor Willy Brandt who
would become chancellor of
Germany, serving from 1969-74
urged the fest to embrace a new
spirit of open-mindedness. The
cinematic standards of different
nations differ from one another
no less than the languages and
customs of different peoples, he
said. But that cant allow us to
be narrow-minded. I trust in the
cosmopolitanism of this city.
The mayors message was

reflected throughout the festival that year. For the first time,
the Soviet Union was sent an
invitation to participate in the
Berlinale, and after years of
focusing mostly on European
fare, the competition selection
included titles from Uruguay,
Egypt, Iran, Japan, India and
Mexico. More significant for
Hollywood, the festival broke the
racial barrier by awarding a best
actor Silver Bear to Sidney Poitier
for his performance in The Defiant
Ones, Stanley Kramers film
noir classic about two escaped
prisoners one black (Poitier),
one white (Tony Curtis) who
are chained together and must
cooperate to survive. It was the
first time the honor was extended

to an actor of African descent.


News of the award reverberated throughout the industry,
boosting Poitiers career and
establishing a decades-long
relationship between the actor
and the Berlinale. Shortly after
the Berlin ceremony, Poitier
(and Curtis) received a best
actor Oscar nomination for his
Defiant Ones turn again, the
first time that a black actor
received that distinction, though
Poitier lost to David Niven for

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

D6_Berlin_endpg_Poitier_E.indd 20

20

Separate Tables. Returning to


Berlin, Poitier nabbed a second
top Silver Bear in 1963 for Lilies
of the Field, in which he played an
itinerant worker who encounters
a group of East German nuns,
who believe he has been sent to
them by God. Again, Poitiers
Berlinale honor was followed by
an Oscar nom and this time
he prevailed, becoming the first
black male actor to triumph in
a competitive Academy Awards
category. PATRICK BRZESKI

ULLSTEIN BILD/ULLSTEIN BILD VIA GETTY IMAGES

For Poitier, Berlin Proved


a Springboard to Oscar

2/15/16 12:03 PM

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4-7 April 2016 // Cannes // France

Just like Henrik Pabst, thousands of talented


people bring content to life.
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Henrik Pabst, Managing Director, Red Arrow International

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