Berlinale balances dark, light

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Escapism and harsh reality will vie for attention next month in the Berlin International Film Festival's Generation and Perspectives on German Cinema sidebars.

Fantasy and adventure are recurring themes in Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey's animated feature "Brendan and the Secret of Kells" and Lars Buschel's live-action "Lippel's Dream," which will have their world premieres in the kid-focused Generation lineup.

Other animated titles in the sidebar include "Mamma Moo & Crow," Igor Veyshtagin's tale of an overly ambitious cow, and "Mary and Max," the feature debut of Oscar-winning shorts director Adam Elliot.

More grime and grit are featured in Perspectives on German Cinema, which focuses on up-and-coming helmers. Lars-Gunnar Lotz's psychodrama "For Miriam" examines how a teacher is undone by an accident that kills her best pupil's sister, and Stefan Schaller's "Jedem das Seine" (To Each His Own) pits two brothers on opposite sides of the legal system.

But each section also has its surprises. In addition to fantasy elements, Generation programmer Maryanne Redpath has picked titles focusing on the dark side of growing up, including Antonio Campos' "Afterschool" and Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D'Sa's drug-soaked "Cherrybomb."

Similarly, there are a few laughs in the mainly dour Perspectives lineup. Lars Jessen's "Dorfpunks" pokes fun at the 1980s with a story of punk rockers who move to a rural Swiss village.
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