Asian cinema bookends Berlin festival

'Apart Together' opens, 'About Her Brother' closes

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BERLIN -- Asian cinema will bookend the 60th Berlin International Film Festival, with Chinese drama "Apart Together" from Golden Bear winner Wang Quan'an ("Tuya's Marriage") opening the event with its world premiere Feb. 11 and "About Her Brother," the latest from Japanese director, and Berlinale regular Yoji Yamada ("The Twilight Samurai") closing the festival Feb. 20.

"Apart Together" focuses on the reunion of two lovers who were separated when one, a solider, fled from Shanghai to Taiwan in 1949 to escape Mao Tse-tung's troops. The film stars Lu Yan, Ling Feng, Xu Cai Gen and Mo Xiaoqi. The film will screen in competition, giving Wang Quan'an a chance for a second Golden Bear. "Apart Together" will also screen separately in Berlin's Culinary Cinema section on Feb. 17.

"About Her Brother," screening out of competition, will mark Yamada's seventh visit to Berlin. He was last here with the World War II period drama "Kabei: Our Mother," which premiered in competition in 2008.

Asian films have traditionally had a strong presence in Berlin. Far East titles dominate the Festival's Forum sidebar, announced Tuesday. The lineup of the 40th Berlinale Forum includes four Japanese features: Omori Tatsushi's "A Crowd of Three," Ishii Yuya's "Sawako Decides," "Kanikosen" by director Sabu and Yang Yonghi's "Sona, the Other Myself;" two each from Korea -- So Sang-min's "I'm in Trouble!" and Ryu Hyung-ki's "Our Fantastic 21st Century" and Taiwan -- "Au revoir Taipei" by Arvin Chen and Hou Chi-Jan's "One Day;" Chinese film "Crossing the Mountain" by Yang Rui and the India title "The Man Beyond the Bridge" from director Laxmikant Shetgaonkar.

In addition, the Forum will screen a three-film homage to Japanese pre-war director Shimazu Yasujiro.