This year’s Berlin film festival, from 7-17 February, will include feature films by three South Korean film directors, E J-yong’s, Behind the Camera, Lee Don-gu’s Fatal and Kim Don-ku’s Jury. It will also be showing its first Saudi movie (although it is officially presented as French), the short film Sanctity, by director and actress Ahd Kamel, which received an award at the Doha Tribeca Festival in November.
Closed Curtain, by the controversial Iranian director Jafar Panahi and Kambozia Partovi, is also in the line-up for the 63rd Berlin film festival. In 2010 Panahi was sentenced to six years in prison and a 20-year ban on making films. Closed Curtain is something of a mystery given the ban on Panahi’s work, but it is thought it may be a sequel to This is not a Film, a video documentary that was smuggled out of Iran and screened at the 2011 Cannes festival.
Big names at the festival include Jude Law and Catherine-Zeta Jones in Side Effects about the pharmaceutical industry, Catherine Deneuve in Elle s’en va and Juliette Binoche in Camille Claudel 1915.
This year the festival opens with Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster. This kung fu epic has been eight years in the making. Set in the early 20th century it features a showdown between China’s top kung fu fighters for title of grandmaster. Wong Kar Wai is the president of this year’s Berlin festival jury.
The 2013 festival also includes a section on indigenous filmmaking, NATIVe – a Journey into Indigenous Cinema, with special emphasis on four geographical areas – Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada.
From 9-15 February seven cinemas in various neighbourhoods become additional venues for screening, with many directors and stars turning up for question and answer sessions.
The Berliner Co-Production Market – where producers and the financiers negotiate new deals – has 38 feature-film projects on its list this year.
The complete festival programme will be finalised at the beginning of February.