Panorama files away 'Shock Doctrine'

Berlinale section lines up political features, docs

BERLIN -- Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross, who won a Silver Bear in 2006 for their controversial docudrama "The Road to Guantanamo," are returning to Berlin with another piece of agitprop: "The Shock Doctrine."

Based on the book by Naomi Klein, the film examines the darkest sides of neoliberalism, from the privatization of public goods to the violent upheaval of entire societies, and will screen as a work in progress in Berlin's Panorama Dokumente section.

Politics is never far away at the Berlinale, and the 2009 Panorama reflects that. Whether with documentaries such as Philippe Lioret's "Welcome" on Iraqi refugees in Europe or dramas like Michael Glawogger's "Kill Daddy Good Night," which shows how the Nazi massacre of the Jews continues to effect lives in the present.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Panorama sidebar, programmers will screen highlights from the past three decades as well as new films from famous names who got their start here.

Gus Van Sant, whose directorial debut, "Mala Noche" (1985), premiered in the Panorama, returns with his Oscar favorite "Milk." He will be joined by Rob Epstein, whose documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk" (1984) will receive a special Panorama screening 25 years after it first unspooled.

Other familiar faces returning this year include Catherine Breillat, whose "La Barbe Bleue" is her take on the famous Bluebeard tale, and Philippe Lioret, whose "Welcome" will screen in the Panorama's main program.

The sidebar also will celebrate British Oscar winner John Hurt and homosexual icon Quentin Crisp with three films. In Richard Laxton's "An Englishman in New York," Hurt plays an elderly Crisp, updating his role as the young man in Jack Gold's "The Naked Civil Servant" (1975). Panorama will also screen Jonathan Nossiter's biography of Crisp, "Resident Alien," which premiered in Berlin in 1990.

The complete Panorama lineup follows:

"La Barbe bleue," Catherine Breillat, France (world premiere)
"An Englishman in New York," Richard Laxton, U.K./U.S. (world premiere)
"Das Vaterspiel" (Kill Daddy Good Night), by Michael Glawogger, Germany/Austria/France (world premiere)
"El Nino pez" (The Fish Child), by Lucia Puenzo, Argentina/Spain (world premiere)
"Welcome," Philippe Lioret, France

"The Shock Doctrine," Michael Winterbottom, Mat Whitecross, U.K. (world premiere)
"Little Joe," Nicole Haeusser, U.S. (world premiere)

Special presentations:
"Milk," Gus Van Sant, U.S. (2008)
"Resident Alien," Jonathan Nossiter, U.S. (1990)
"Tapage nocturne," Catherine Breillat, France (1979)
"The Naked Civil Servant," Jack Gold, U.K. (1975)
"The Times of Harvey Milk," Robert Epstein, U.S. (1984)