Berlinale kicks off with Wong Kar Wai’s THE GRANDMASTER
Friday, February 8, 2013 12:17:00 PM (IST)
Rajesh Kumar Singh, Bollywood Trade Editorial
The 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) kicked off with the screening of Wong Kar Wai’s tribute to martial arts THE GRANDMASTER. The film stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai as the legendary martial arts master Ip Man, better known as the guru of Bruce Lee. Zhang Ziyi plays the female protagonist in this visual extravaganza of epical dimensions that juxtaposes the Chinese history and its martial arts traditions, and combines the philosophy of life with poetically choreographed action sequences, all in tune with the helmer’s previous work.
Among the long list of celebrities who walked the red carpet during the opening ceremony outside the Berlinale Palast, the main venue of the festival, located at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, were Jane Fonda, Isabella Rossellini, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brigitte Lacombe, Matthias Glasner, Nina Hoss, Christian Petzold, Nesrin and Yasemin Samdereli, and Wim Wenders.
THE GRANDMASTER stars, and the helmer and this year’s president of the competition jury Wong Kar Wai with the rest of the jury including Hollywood star and filmmaker Tim Robbins, Danish director Susanne Bier, Germany's Andreas Dresen, cinematographer Ellen Kuras, Iranian filmmaker Shirin Neshat and Greek helmer-producer Athina Rachel Tsangari also graced the red carpet with their presence.
There was a bit of drama during the red carpet event when a topless Ukrainian activist jumped the barricades and went onto the red carpet protesting against female genital mutilation. She was promptly caught and taken off the venue by the alert security personnel.
Yet again Jafar Panahi became the focus of the festival thanks to the inclusion of his film PARDE (CLOSED CURTAINS) in this year’s competition and the mystery surrounding it. The festival director Dieter Kosslick, a very active supporter of the Iranian filmmaker, said, 'I have asked the Iranian government, the president and the culture minister, to allow Jafar Panahi to attend the world premiere of his film at the Berlinale.' Germany's culture minister, Bernd Neumann, also spoke in support of Panahi, citing examples from the German history and how repression and suppression of artistes harmed German arts and culture. The strong support of the German government to Berlinale was clearly demonstrated in the presence of a number of prominent German politicians and top government officials during the opening ceremony.
Anke Engelke hosted the evening this year as well. The music for the ceremony was provided by Ulrich Tukur & Die Rhythmus Boys.
The 63rd Berlin International Film Festival will run for ten days and will close on February 17, 2013. The Award Ceremony will be held on February 16, 2013.
(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)
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Tags : 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale, THE GRANDMASTER, Robbins, Danish, Susanne Bier, Glasner, Nina Hoss, Christian Petzold, Nesrin, Wong Kar Wai