Berlin sets Panorama lineup
EmptyCanadian director Bruce McDonald will open the Berlin International Film Festival's Panorama section with "The Tracey Fragments," a look at an emotionally shattered teenager, starring Ellen Page.
No stranger to Berlin, McDonald screened his previous production, "The Love Crimes of Gillian Guess," at the Panorama in 2005.
Another Berlin regular, Japanese helmer Yoji Yamada, will open the Panorama Special program with his samurai epic "Love and Honor."
The film is the last in a Yamada samurai trilogy based on novels by Shuuhei Fujisawa. The first two films — "The Twilight Samurai" (2002) and "The Hidden Blade" (2004) — screened in competition at Berlin.
In "Love and Honor," the focus is on a young samurai, played by Takuya Kimura, who serves as a food taster for his lord.
Panorama organizers also announced the 17 films that will make up this year's non-fiction section, the Panorama Dokumente.
Panorama director Wieland Speck characterized this year's lineup as a return to the "big names and themes relating to politics, music, art and fashion."
Politics is represented by such films as Lynn Hershman Leeson's "Strange Culture," a look at the FBI's terrorist investigation of biogenetics professor Steve Kurtz; Daniel Gordon's "Crossing the Line," about four U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea who defected to the North in 1962; and "Miss Gulag," a look at three women sent to Russia's notorious Siberian gulag UF91-9.
The two omnibus features screening in the Panorama Dokumente section also take a strong political stand.
"Invisibles," featuring sections directed by, among others, Isabel Coixet, Wim Wenders and Fernando Leon de Aranoa, looks at the "silent sufferings" of peoples in the Third World; while "Fucking Different New York" peers into New York's gay, bisexual and transgender communities as seen by such directors as Steve Gallagher, Todd Verow and Barbara Hammer.
Music comes in the form of documentaries looking at the famous — like the David Bowie-produced doc "Scott Walker: 30 Century Man" about the influential singer-songwriter — to the not-so famous, including Peter Kahane's "Tamara," an exploration of the career of East German rocker Tamara Danz. Leopold Gruen's "The Red Elvis" looks at another rocker from behind the iron curtain, U.S. musician Dean Reed, who found success in the communist GDR.
Art, particularly cinema, is the focus of Jeff Garlin's "This Filthy World," a look at the "guerrilla filmmaking" of the 1970s that features bad-taste legend John Waters.
Andre Schaefer's "Here's Looking at You, Boy" looks at the history of queer cinema and features interviews with Stephen Frears, Gus Van Sant, Tilda Swinton and Francois Ozon.
Other notable docs include Ric Burns' four-hour "Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film"; Olivier Meyrou's "Au-dela de la haine," on the life of fashion mogul Yves Saint-Laurent; and "Lagerfeld Confidential," Rudolphe Marconi's portrait of German designer Karl Lagerfeld.
The Panorama and Panorama Dokumente sections are part of the 57th annual Berlin International Film Festival, which runs Feb. 8-18. The full lineup for the Main Program and Panorama Special is due to be announced at the end of January.
A full list of films screening in the Panorama Dokumente can be found at www.holly woodreporter.com.