Berlin Film Festival Offers Political Awareness With Your Popcorn
By Charles Recknagel
February 07, 2013
One of the most widely anticipated films as this year's Berlin International Film Festival kicks off on February 7 is a tantalizing new work by Iranian director Jafar Panahi.
His film "Closed Curtain" will be shown on February 10 with very little advance word of what it is about. The description in the festival program hints merely that it concerns a man, his dog, a young woman, and a filmmaker in a house by the Caspian Sea. All are wanted by the authorities but also are in search of each other.
Even without advance publicity, Panahi's latest film is sure to draw a crowd because he made it in defiance of his government. In 2010, Panahi was banned for 20 years from making any films after he was arrested over his support of the Green Movement's opposition to the Iranian government.
He also received a six-year jail sentence that was suspended after an outcry from the international community. The European Parliament made him a co-winner of its prestigious Sakharov Prize, which honors free thought, in 2012.
Eagerly anticipated at the 11-day festival, too, is "Camille Claudel 1915," a French drama that tells the story of August Rodin’s lover Camille Claudel, who was committed to a mental institution.
Director Bruno Dumont's use of mentally handicapped actors is expected to make the film a hot topic of discussion.