German movies in focus at Berlin global film fest

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German movies in focus at Berlin global film fest

BERLIN - German movies including a drama about the love triangle of “Sturm und Drang” poet Friedrich Schiller will dominate the main lineup at Berlin’s international film festival this year, director Dieter Kosslick said on Tuesday.

But world cinema talent will not be absent at the 64th “Berlinale,” which kicks off with the world premiere of U.S. director Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” a comedy about a canny hotel concierge in the 1920s starring Ralph Fiennes and Adrien Brody.

Anderson and other global stars such as George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Forest Whitaker will grace Berlin’s red carpet, Kosslick told a news conference.

The annual cinema showcase, which runs from Feb. 6 to 16, will screen more than 400 films, but the main programme includes 23 movies, of which 20 will compete for the Golden Bear.

For the first time since 2002, it will feature four German films, including Dominik Graf’s “Beloved Sisters” about the relationship between 18th-century poet Schiller and two beautiful sisters from the penniless aristocracy.

Others are Edward Berger’s “Jack”, about a 10-year-old looking after his younger brother while his single parent works, and Dietrich Brueggemann’s “Stations of the Cross,” about a teenage girl struggling to reconcile her desires with the ultraconservative Catholic community in which she lives.

“We have a lot of films where people are living in very narrow systems, for example, religious systems,” Kosslick told Reuters. “We also have some strong films about kids.”

“Young people in the world are around two billion, and these people are the last ones in a chain of suffering,” he said, referring to Sudabeh Mortezai’s “Macondo,” a coming-of-age story about a Chechen boy in a refugee settlement in Vienna.

While discussing refugees, Kosslick said he was trying to help Bosnian Roma actor Nazif Mujic, who won best actor award at the Berlinale last year, to get asylum in Germany and had invited him to the festival.

News that Mujic, who played himself in the grim film “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” was facing deportation after his first asylum application was turned down made headlines in Germany this month.

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