Strong French contingent hunts Bears
by Fabien Lemercier
08/02/2007 - Winner of seven Golden Bears since the Berlinale began, but only two since 1966 – Bertrand Tavernier’s Fresh Bait in 1995 and Patrice Chéreau’s Intimacy in 2001 – French cinema is hoping to come away with further awards at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival, which opens today with Olivier Dahan’s La Vie en Rose [trailer] (see article).
After a poor 2006 edition, with only one film in competition, French films are making a comeback at Berlin this year with four features in the competition line-up, including films by a trio of well-known directors: André Téchiné’s The Witnesses [trailer], Jacques Rivette’s Don’t Touch the Axe [trailer] and François Ozon’s Angel, which will close the festival.
Other competition titles joining these four French co-productions are: Ariel Rotter’s The Other [trailer], Bille August’s Goodbye Bafana [trailer], Zhang Lu’s Desert Dream [trailer] and Sam Garbarski’s Irina Palm [trailer, film focus].
French films will have a strong presence in the other sections of the 2007 Berlinale as well. The Panorama has selected three Gallic features (Pascale Ferran’s Lady Chatterley [trailer], Michel Spinosa’s Anna M. [trailer] and Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in Paris [trailer, film focus], see article), two documentaries (Rodolphe Marconi’s Lagerfeld Confidential [trailer] and Olivier Meyrou’s Celebration) and three co-productions (Santiago Otheguy’s La Leon, André Schäfer’s Here's Looking at You, Boy and Marco Simon Puccioni’s Shelter [trailer]).
The Forum will unveil nine French (co-)productions (see news), in particular Jeanne Waltz’s A Parting Shot [trailer, film focus], Fred Poulet and Vikash Dhorasoo’s Substitute [trailer] and Aurélien Gerbault’s documentary All Blossoms Again.
Lastly, the Generation category will give audiences a chance to discover or rediscover directing duo Serge Elissalde and Gregoire Solotareff’s U, Jean-Pierre Ameris’ Call Me Elisabeth [trailer] and Catalin Mitulescu’s French/Romanian co-production The Way I Spent the End of the World [trailer].
A final mention goes to European co-production The Lark Farm, helmed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, which will screen in the Berlinale Special programme.
(Translated from French)