Hamburg taps Cronenberg for Sirk honor


COLOGNE, Germany -- Canadian director David Cronenberg will be honored with this year's Douglas Sirk Award at the 15th annual Hamburg International Film Festival, organizers said Monday.

The lifetime achievement award, given to "personalities who have rendered outstanding services within the film industry," will be presented to Cronenberg in Hamburg on Sept. 28 before the German premiere of his latest film, the underworld thriller "Eastern Promises."

"The wealth of cinema also includes the extreme. With David Cronenberg, we are showing our appreciation for a filmmaker who makes consequently transgressional, irrational and disturbing films," Hamburg Festival director Albert Widerspiel said. "Sometimes cheered, sometimes ripped apart by both audience and critics, he provokes a healthy polemic that becomes the art of cinema -- as indeed it does all arts -- very well."

"Promises" stars Naomi Watts as a midwife who delves into the world of London's Russian mafia while investigating the identity of a dead mother.

The Hamburg International Film Festival opens Sept. 27 with "Odette Toulemonde," the directorial debut of French author Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt ("Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Qu'ran"), and runs through Oct. 4.