The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Tina Turner documentary, lockdown films headline virtual Berlin fest
BERLIN: The world premiere of a documentary about music legend Tina Turner and an ‘impressive’ pack of pandemicera movies will take the spotlight at an all-virtual Berlin film festival starting Monday.
With theatres shuttered due to the coronavirus outbreak, Europe’s first major cinema showcase of the year was pushed back by a month, put online and divided into two parts as the movie industry struggles to find its feet.
The Berlinale, now in its 71st year, will hold the competition for its Golden Bear top prize March 1-5 virtually for critics, reporters and rights buyers.
For the second stage, organisers hope to invite stars and screen the films for the general public in June, mainly at open-air cinemas.
The festival has also gone ‘gender neutral’ with its acting awards – best actress and best actor prizes are history, replaced with best lead and supporting performance.
Industry watchers say that despite severe restrictions on making and screening movies, the Berlinale has managed to pull together an exciting lineup.
“I’m pleasantly surprised that they were able to get what looks like a pretty impressive collection of solid movies together for this festival,” Scott Roxborough, European bureau chief for The Hollywood Reporter, told AFP.
One of the hottest titles is ‘Tina’, a star-studded HBO documentary about the queen of rock’n’roll by Oscar winners Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin (‘Undefeated’) to be released on March 27.
The film features neverbefore-seen concert footage, interviews with the 81-year-old superstar and recollections from the likes of Angela Bassett and Oprah Winfrey.
Directors including Emmy winner Maria Schrader (‘Unorthodox’), German-Spanish actor Daniel Bruehl (‘Rush’) and France’s Celine Sciamma (‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’) will be premiering new work in competition.
All 15 contenders for the top prizes to be awarded on Friday are films that were made or in post-production during the pandemic.
Berlinale artistic director Carlo Chatrian said the selection captures ‘the uncertain times we are experiencing’.
Bruehl, who starred in the bittersweet German comedy ‘Good Bye, Lenin’ and is now part of the Captain America franchise, will make his directorial debut with ‘Next Door’, a black comedy about gentrification.
Schrader will unveil ‘I’m Your Man’, a sci-fi comedy about a woman falling for a custom-made Mr Right, played by British actor Dan Stevens (‘Beauty and the Beast’) while Sciamma offers up ‘Petite Maman’, a magical realist look at girlhood.