BERLIN 2013: Films From James Franco, Abhishek Kapoor Added to Panorama Sidebar

James Franco

"Everyone wants to examine the unanswered questions about origins ... but I wonder why every character in this film is such a dick."

A strong showing of U.S. movies is mindful of the early 1980s and mid-1990s, “when U.S. independent cinema was a trademark” of the sidebar, organizers say.

BERLIN – New films from multi-hyphenate James Franco and rising Bollywood star director Abhishek Kapoor (Rock On!) are among the highlights in the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival, which announced its finalized lineup Tuesday.

Interior, Leather Bar, an experimental film directed by Franco with Travis Mathews, will have its international premiere in Berlin. Franco and Mathews star in the feature, a “reimagining” of the 40 minutes of lost footage from William Friedkin’s 1980 S&M thriller Cruising.

Franco also stars in Maladies from director Carter, which will have its world premiere in the Panorama section in Berlin. In it, Franco plays a successful young actor with perceived mental problems who retires to live with his similarly deranged sister in a small town. Catherine Keener, David Strathairn and Fallon Goodson also star.

On the other side of the cinema spectrum is Kai Po Che, the new Bollywood film from Kapoor, who scored a hit with his sophomore feature Rock On!. Kai Po Che follows actors Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar and Amit Sadh as three friends growing up against the backdrop of India’s religious politics. The film will have its world premiere in Berlin.

Overall, the Panorama sidebar will feature 32 features from 23 countries, with organizers highlighting a number of U.S. releases. The strong U.S. showing brings back “memories of the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, when U.S. independent cinema was a trademark” of the Panorama offering, the festival said.

Other new features added to the Panorama lineup include It’s All So Quiet from Dutch director Nanouk Leopold (Brownian Movement), which will open the Panorama Special section; Sundance entries Concussion from first-time director Stacie Passon and Upstream Color from Shane Carruth; and Reaching for the Moon (aka The Art of Losing), the latest movie from Brazilian director Bruno Barreto (Four Days in September) that stars Miranda Otto, Gloria Pires and Tracy Middendorf.

A Fold in My Blanket, a drama from Georgian director Zaza Rusadze, will open the main Panorama program Feb. 7.

Other Panorama highlights this year include Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut Don Juan’s Addiction and Frances Ha, the latest feature from Greenberg director Noah Baumbach.

The 63rd Berlin International Film Festival runs Feb. 7-17.