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Psychotic Murderers + Anti-Jewish Bigotry: Berlin Festival

Lene Maria Christensen Pilou Asbæk A Family
Lene Maria Christensen and Johan Philip Asbæk (a.k.a. Pilou Asbæk) in A Family (Zentropa / Rolf Konow).
Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Also of note at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival are Michael Winterbottom’s violent crime drama The Killer Inside Me, starring Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, and Kate Hudson, which caused a furor at the Sundance Film Festival due to its graphic depiction of violence against women (Winterbottom is hardly new to controversy); Thomas Vinterberg’s Submarino, the story of two estranged, downtrodden brothers; and 2006 Golden Bear winner Jasmila Zbanic’s On the Path, in which a Bosnian man with a drinking problem gets involved with Muslim fundamentalists.

Also, Pernille Fischer Christensen’s A Family, which pits old family ties (parents) against new family ties (husband); Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Howl, featuring James Franco as poet Allen Ginsberg, on trial for obscenity; and Oskar Roehler’s Jud Süss – Film Without a Conscience, a biopic of actor Ferdinand Marian, who starred in what may well be the most reviled movie in history, Veit Harlan’s anti-Semitic Jud Süß (1940).

In Roehler’s film, Tobias Moretti stars as Marian, Moritz Bleibtreu plays Joseph Goebbels, and The Lives of Others’ Martina Gedeck is Anna Marian. Paula Kalenberg plays Jud Süß leading lady Kristina Söderbaum.

Martin Scorsese’s suspense thriller Shutter Island, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, will be screened out of competition, along with a couple of well-received Sundance entries, Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right and Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give; Yoji Yamada’s family drama About Her Brother; graffiti artist Banksy’s documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop; and Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan, starring Bollywood idol Shahrukh Khan.

Banksy will be at the Berlinale – but no one will know exactly who or exactly where. He’ll be incognito.

The complete official program for the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, which runs Feb. 11-21, has been announced.

Twenty-six films will be screened, of which twenty will be vying for the Golden Bear. The other six entries will be screened out of competition. Among the films in competition, Roman Polanski’s mystery thriller The Ghost Writer has attracted the most attention chiefly because of the filmmaker’s arrest last year. Stars Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan are expected in Berlin, but Polanski remains under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad.

Based on the novel The Ghost by Robert Harris, who also wrote the film’s screenplay, The Ghost Writer was finished by Polanski after his arrest. Ewan McGregor plays a professional ghostwriter hired to pen the memoirs of a former Tony Blair-like British Prime Minister (Brosnan) with a deep dark secret in his past.

Also in the Ghost Writer cast: Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall, Jim Belushi, Eli Wallach, Timothy Hutton, Robert Pugh and Tom Wilkinson.

Photo: Courtesy of the Berlin Film Festival

Berlin Competition lineup

Bal (”Honey”), director Semih Kaplanoglu

Caterpillar, Koji Wakamatsu

En Familie (”A Family”), Pernille Fischer Christensen

En ganske snill mann (”A Somewhat Gentle Man”), Hans Petter Moland

Eu cand vreau sa fluier, fluier (”If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle”), Florin Serban

The Ghost Writer, Roman Polanski

Greenberg, Noah Baumbach

Howl, Rob Epstein

Jud Suss – Film ohne Gewissen (”Jud Suss – Film without a conscience”), Oskar Roehler

Kak ya provel etim letom (”How I Ended This Summer”), Alexei Popogrebsky

The Killer Inside Me, Michael Winterbottom

Mammuth, Benoit Delepine

Na Putu (”On the Path”), Jasmila Zbanic

Der Rauber (”The Robber”), Benjamin Heisenberg

Rompecabezas (”Puzzle”), Natalia Smirnoff

San qiang pai an jing qi (”A Woman, A Gun And A Noodle Shop”), Zhang Yimou

Shadada (”Faith”), Burhan Qurbani

Shekarchi (”The Hunter”), Rafi Pitts

Submarino, Thomas Vinterberg

Tuan Yuan (”Apart Together”), Wang Quan’an.

Out of competition

Exit Through The Gift Shop, Banksy

The Kids Are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko

My Name is Khan, Karan Johar

Otouto (”About Her Brother”), Yoji Yamada

Please Give, Nicole Holofcener

Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese

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