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Missing Link Movie Opening Berlin Film Festival: The ‘Science’ of Racism + Pygmies

Missing link movie Man to Man: Régis Wargnier’s historical drama about the racist defense of the human-ape connection – pygmies? – in mid-19th-century British scientific circles will open next year’s Berlin Film Festival. (Pictured: Kristin Scott Thomas in the missing link movie Man to Man.)
  • Starring Joseph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas, Régis Wargnier’s missing link movie Man to Man – about how racist and colonialist views tainted scientific studies in 19th-century Britain – will open next year’s Berlin Film Festival.
  • Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich will head the Berlin Film Festival jury.
  • Star Trek spoof is Germany’s top homemade box office hit this year.

Régis Wargnier’s missing link movie Man to Man to open Berlin Film Festival

On Feb. 10, the 2005 Berlin Film Festival will open with the world premiere of Régis Wargnier’s missing link movie Man to Man, about how scientists get things wrong when they allow cultural prejudices to get in the way of scientific data.

The French-British socio-historical drama stars Shakespeare in Love leading man Joseph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas – coincidentally, a 1996 Best Actress Academy Award nominee for Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient, in which she plays the romantic interest of Joseph’s brother, Ralph Fiennes.

Set in the 1860s, Man to Man revolves around a group of British anthropologists searching in Africa for the “missing link” between humans and apes. Captured pygmies – later brought to the United Kingdom – are believed to be that coveted connection, but a dissenting anthropologist (Joseph Fiennes) thinks otherwise.

Régis Wargnier, whose Indochine won the 1992 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and earned Catherine Deneuve a Best Actress nomination, co-wrote the Man to Man screenplay with Michel Fessler, Fred Fougea, and Ghanaian-born author William Boyd.

Besides Joseph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas, Man to Man also features the following:

Iain Glen. Hugh Bonneville. Flora Montgomery. Alistair Petrie. Mathew Zajac. Lomama Boseki. Peter Egan.

Roland Emmerich to preside over Golden Bear jury

German-born director Roland Emmerich, whose credits include a bunch of lowbrow, big-budget, special-effects-laden Hollywood productions like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, will head the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear jury.

Apart from Wargnier’s missing link movie, so far only Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and André Téchiné’s Changing Times / Les Temps qui changent have been announced as entries in Berlin’s main competition line-up.

Anderson’s unusual comedy, which had few reviewers laughing in the United States, features Best Actor Oscar nominee Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, 2003), Owen Wilson, Best Actress nominee Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, 1998), Best Supporting Actress winner Anjelica Huston (Prizzi’s Honor, 1985), Best Supporting Actor nominee Seymour Cassel (Faces, 1968), and Jeff Goldblum.

Téchiné’s film stars veterans Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu (Best Actor nominee for Cyrano de Bergerac, 1990).

German movies surge at domestic box office

And speaking of Germany and cinema, according to Deutsche Welle, German movie houses took in an extra 10 percent more at the box office in 2004 when compared to the previous year.

Peter Dinges of the German Federal Film Board (FFA) told Der Spiegel that 2004 has been the second most successful year for German films since the fall of the Berlin Wall. From January–September, German movies comprised 20.5 percent of the local box office gross, the highest figure since the FFA began collecting data in 1995.

The year’s biggest homemade hit has been Michael Herbig’s (T)raumschiff SurprisePeriode 1 (“[D]reamship Surprise – Period 1”*), a Star Trek spoof starring director-co-screenwriter Herbig alongside German superstar Til Schweiger (Maybe Maybe Not / Der Bewegte Mann).

* Raumschiff translates as “spacecraft.”


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Berlin Film Festival website.

Image of Kristin Scott Thomas in Régis Wargnier’s missing link movie Man to Man: ZenHQ Films / Skyline Films / Vertigo Productions.

“Missing Link Movie Opening Berlin Film Festival: The ‘Science’ of Racism + Pygmies” last updated in August 2020.

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