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FESTIVALS Germany

Films galore at Hamburg

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The 17th Hamburg International Film Festival (September 24-Otober 3) opens today with Fatih Akin’s new film Soul Kitchen [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which was lauded at Venice at the start of the month.

The nine participating theatres will show a total of 142 films from 42 countries. Organisers have decided to extend the event by two days, until October 3. According to festival director Albert Wiederspiel, this decision goes against the trend for downsizing but gives audiences an additional weekend to discover even more films.

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The main section, Agenda 09, includes 67 titles from 29 countries (some by major names, others by young talents) reflecting the current state of the world and cinema, the two being intimately linked. Among them are Icelandic director Óskar Jónasson’s Reykjavik-Rotterdam [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, starring Baltasar Kormákur; Gabriele Salvatores’ As God Commands [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(based on Niccoló Ammaniti’s book); Here And There [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Serbia’s Darko Lungulov (see interview); Cannes title Police, Adjective [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Corneliu Porumboiu
film profile
]
by Romania’s Corneliu Porumboiu; and Jacek Blawut’s Polish film Before Twilight [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, which centres on some former actors grown old.

The line-up also includes Danish director Martin Pieter Zandvliet’s Applause [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Martin Pieter Zandvliet
film profile
]
, whose protagonist is also an actress, played by Paprika Steen, who will attend the screening; Ignas Miškinis’ German/Lithuanian co-production Low Lights [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
; and Alex van Warmerdam’s Dutch/Belgian co-production The Last Days of Emma Blank [+see also:
interview: The Last Days of Emma Blank…
film profile
]
, another Venice prize-winner.

The Eurovisuell section will present seven European blockbusters, from among which the audience will pick its favourite. On the line-up are Niels Arden Oplev’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Niels Arden Oplev
interview: Søren Stærmose
film profile
]
; Norwegian hit Max Manus [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (guests at Hamburg); Nils Malmros’ Danish film Aching Hearts; Gergely Fonyó’s Made in Hungaria; and Aleksi Mäkelä’s gangster film Hellsinki [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, which enjoyed box office success in Finland.

Other guests this year include Danish stars Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas, and German actresses Heike Makatsch (Hilde [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) and Jessica Schwarz.

The festival is also hosting "Northern Lights", devoted to productions from the Hamburg region (including, for example, the Chinese/European co-production She, a Chinese [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, winner of the Golden Leopard at this year’s Locarno festival); a short films section; and a special New Zealand cinema sidebar.

Finally, the independent Michel Festival (September 25-October 3), which focuses on young people’s films, is celebrating its seventh edition with nine features and educational activities.

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(Translated from French)

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