Screen previews the world premieres of Berlin’s 2014 Competition and Berlinale Special.

Profiles by Finn Halligan, Wendy Mitchell, Louise Tutt and Andreas Wiseman.


‘71 (UK)

Dir Yann Demange

Touted UK TV director Demange makes his feature debut on ‘71, an action thriller that has generated a lot of buzz. The story, by playwright Gregory Burke, centres on a young and disoriented British soldier who is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the dangerous streets of Belfast in 1971. Jack O’Connell, from popular UK TV series Skins, stars alongside Sean Harris, Richard Dormer, Paul Anderson, David Wilmot, Sam Reid and Charlie Murphy. Producers are Angus Lamont of Crab Apple Films and Robin Gutch of Warp Films. StudioCanal pre-bought UK rights.

Contact Protagonist Pictures,

Aloft (Sp-Can-Fr)

Dir Claudia Llosa 

Jennifer Connelly, Cillian Murphy and Mélanie Laurent star in Golden Bear winner Llosa’s drama about a mother and son whose relationship is strained by an accident in the past. Peruvian writer-director Llosa picked up the top prize at the festival in 2009 for Oscar-nominated The Milk Of Sorrow and her credits also include Sundance title Madeinusa.

Contact Dreamcatchers,

Black Coal, Thin Ice (Chi)

Dir Diao Yinan 

Black Coal, Thin Ice is billed as a dark thriller and was presented at project stage at Shanghai International Film Festival in 2010. It tells the story of a retired policeman turned security guard whose investigation into a serial killer finds that the victims are all romantically linked to one woman. Diao, who acted in All Tomorrow’s Parties, first made his mark as a writer on projects including Shower and Spicy Love Soup, and his last feature, Night Train, premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2007. Fan Liao, Lun Mei Gwei and Xuebing Wang star.

Contact Fortissimo Films,

Blind Massage (Chi-Fr)

Dir Lou Ye

Blind Massage is based on an award-winning popular novel by Bi Feiyu. Its Chinese title, Tui Na (‘the blind’), refers to a type of massage given by blind therapists in China, and the book is set in Nanjing, where 15 blind people run a practice. Lou, whose last film Mystery ran into censorship problems at home, has made highly influential films such as Suzhou River and Summer Palace, and Blind Massage has had all relevant script approvals at home. The film stars some of Lou’s regular collaborators, including Guo Xiaodong, Qin Hao and Zhang Lei.

Contact Wild Bunch,

Die Geliebten Schwestern (Ger-Aust)

Dir Dominik Graf 

The renowned German director Graf returns to feature films after many years of acclaimed work for television with an historical love story. Die Geliebten Schwestern (‘the beloved sisters’) is written by Graf and based on the real-life relationship between the influential 18th-century poet and philosopher Friedrich Schiller (Florian Stetter) and Caroline Lengefeld (Hannah Herzsprung), as well as her sister Charlotte (Henriette Confurius). Bavaria Film’s Uschi Reich produces and Senator Film is releasing in Germany. Die Geliebten Schwestern (right) is Graf’s second film to be selected for Berlin following A Map Of The Heart (Der Felsen) in 2002. 

Contact Global Screen,

The Grand Budapest Hotel (US-Ger)

Opening film

Dir Wes Anderson 

Anderson’s hotly anticipated festival opener features new collaborators including protagonist Ralph Fiennes, Léa Seydoux, Saoirse Ronan, Harvey Keitel and Jude Law alongside old favourites such as Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman. The comedy follows Gustave H (Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a European hotel between the wars, and the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The film marks the maverick director’s third outing in competition at Berlin after previous selections The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou in 2005 and The Royal Tenenbaums in 2002.

Contact Fox Searchlight,

History Of Fear (Arg-Ur-Ger-Fr)

Dir Benjamin Naishtat

Produced by Rei Cinema, this is artist-director Naishtat’s first feature after his two shorts Estamos Bien and El Juego (Cannes Cinéfondation). History Of Fear is set in a gated community on the outskirts of Buenos Aires where a young man (Jonathan Da Rosa) trims the extensive lawns and looks after the football pitch. Residents are secluded from the outside world, but he crosses back and forth and over the long, hot summer he notices a group of people looking in. Claudia Cantero, Mirella Pascual, Cesar Bordon and Tatiana Gimenez also star in this Films in Progress (San Sebastian) and Torino FilmLab project.

Contact Visit Films,

Inbetween Worlds (Ger)

Dir Feo Aladag

The second feature from the Austrian-born actress turned writer-director was shot in secret in the mountainous regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Inbetween Worlds (Zwischen Welten) portrays the friendship between a German solider (Ronald Zehrfeld) and a young interpreter (Afghan newcomer Mohamad Mohsen) who are trying to protect an Afghan village from the Taliban. Aladag’s award-winning first feature, When We Leave (Die Fremde) debuted in the Panorama section of the 2010 Berlinale and won the Europa Cinemas Label prize. It was Germany’s foreign-language Oscar entry that year and won the best narrative feature prize at Tribeca Film Festival. Inbetween Worlds is produced by Aladag’s Berlin-based Independent Artists Filmproduktion.

Contact The Match Factory,

In Order Of Disappearance (Nor)

Dir Hans Petter Moland

A decade since his first film, The Beautiful Country, competed in Berlin, Moland returns to try for the Golden Bear for a third time. In Order Of Disappearance reunites him with A Somewhat Gentle Man’s Stellan Skarsgard, who plays Nils, driver of a snow-blower in Norway whose life takes an unexpected turn when a family tragedy places him in the middle of a drugs war between Norwegian and Serbian mafias. Bruno Ganz co-stars. TrustNordisk has notched up some brisk business already with this Paradox-produced title, selling Germany, UK and South Korea, among other territories. Local release is set for February 21 through Nordisk.

Contact TrustNordisk,

Jack (Ger)

Dir Edward Berger 

With his single mother Sanna unable to cope, 10-year-old Jack takes responsibility for running the household, including the care of his young brother, Manuel. But an accident results in them being taken into separate care homes and Jack runs away, determined to reunite his family in this coming-of-age drama. Berger, who made his feature debut in 1998 with Gomez, works from his own screenplay (with Nele Mueller-Stöfen), and with a young cast led by Ivo Pietzcker as Jack and Luise Heyer as Sanna.

Contact Beta Cinema,

Life Of Riley (Fr)

Dir Alain Resnais 

The 21st film directed by the nonagenarian Resnais is a French-language comedy drama based on Alan Ayckbourn’s play of the same name. It stars Sabine Azéma, Sandrine Kiberlain, Caroline Silhol, André Dussollier, Hippolyte Girardot and Michel Vuillermoz as three couples whose peaceful lives in the English countryside are ruffled by an enigmatic man called George Riley. Life Of Riley (Aimer, Boire Et Chante) marks the third time Resnais has been in competition in Berlin following Smoking/No Smoking in 1994 and Same Old Song in 1998, which both won the Silver Bear. The film is produced by Resnais’ regular collaborator, Jean-Louis Livi of F Comme Film. 

Contact Le Pacte,

Macondo (Aust)

Dir Sudabeh Mortezai

The first fiction feature from German-born, Iran and Vienna-raised Mortezai, Macondo is a coming-of-age story that focuses on “identity, belonging and self-determination”, with a cast of amateur young actors. Macondo is the name of a refugee settlement outside Vienna, home to successive waves of migrants from Vietnamese boat people to those arriving today from Chechnya. Starring Ramasan Minkailov, Kheda Gazieva and Aslan Elbiev, the film focuses on Ramazan, a Chechen boy who has lost his father in the war and lives in Macondo with his mother and two sisters. This is a semi-documentary from Mortezai, who has previously made two documentary features, Children Of The Prophet and In The Bazaar Of The Sexes.

Contact Films Boutique,

Nymphomaniac Vol 1 (Den)

Out of competition

Dir Lars von Trier 

Von Trier, usually a Cannes regular, will present the world premiere of his longer, uncut version of Nymphomaniac Vol I in Berlin. The cast includes Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LaBeouf and Stacy Martin. The shorter two-part film has opened to a muted box-office response at home in Denmark. There is no word yet when the uncut version of Vol II will be launched.

Contact TrustNordisk,

Praia Do Futuro (Bra-Ger)

Dir Karim Ainouz 

Ainouz tells a story split between Berlin and Brazil, where Donato (Wagner Moura of The Elite Squad) is a lifeguard who rescues a German tourist (Clemens Schick) from drowning. Slowly, they fall in love and Donato decides to leave his life in Brazil behind for the German capital, where he is both liberated and confused by life in the big city - feelings his 18-year-old brother Ayrton (Jesuita Barbosa) also experiences when he visits later to find out what happened. Ainouz (a Cannes veteran with Madame Sata and The Silver Cliff) says: “My past few films have been about female protagonists, and this dives into that world of masculinity. [Praia Do Futuro] is about people who travel and take risks.”

Contact The Match Factory,

Stations Of The Cross (Ger)

Dir Dietrich Brüggemann

Lea van Acken plays Maria, a 14-year-old girl from a family of fundamentalist Catholics. She wishes to devote her life to Jesus and plans to complete her own personal 14 stations of the cross. Brüggemann, who wrote Stations Of The Cross (Kreuzweg) with his sister Anna, has made the radical decision to tell his story in 14 fixed-angle long shots across the 107-minute running time. The director (Run If You Can and Move) has also cast Florian Stetter and Franziska Weisz in leading roles; van Acken is making her feature film debut.

Contact Beta Cinema,

Stratos (Gr-Ger-Cyp)

Dir Yannis Economides

The fourth feature from Greek-Cypriot film-maker Economides is about Stratos, an ex-con who works by day in a bakery and by night as an assassin. He becomes obsessed with a plan to break out of prison the man who previously saved his life. Vangelis Mourikis, Vicky Papadopoulou and Petros Zervos star. Stratos is the first Greek film to screen in competition at the Berlinale since Theo Angelopoulos’s The Weeping Meadow in 2004. Economides’ films include Soul Kicking, which was showcased in Cannes Critics’ Week in 2006, and Knifer, which won the best film prize from the Greek Film Academy in 2010.

Contact The Match Factory,

The Third Side Of The River (Arg-Ger-Neth)

Dir Celina Murga 

This fourth film by Argentina’s Murga was shot in her home province of Entre Rios, between Argentina and Uruguay. Murga (Ana And The Others, and the documentary Normal School, which played in Forum in 2012) tells the story of a 17-year-old boy caught between obeying his father and following his own path. Newcomer Alian Devetac, Argentinian playwright Daniel Veronese and Gaby Ferrero star. Supported by Berlin’s World Cinema Fund among others, the film is executive produced by Martin Scorsese as a result of Murga being selected for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative in 2008.

Contact The Match Factory,

Two Men In Town (Fr-Alg-US-Bel)

Dir Rachid Bouchareb

Shot in New Mexico, Bouchareb’s Two Men In Town (previously titled Enemy Way) is the second in a reported trilogy that started with Just Like A Woman, examining the complicated relationship between the West and the Arab world. Forest Whitaker stars as a convict released into small-town America after an 18-year stretch, buoyed by his conversion to Islam. But he is tempted back into his old ways and dogged by the sheriff (Harvey Keitel). Bouchareb (Outside The Law) reunites with his London River collaborator Brenda Blethyn, and Luis Guzman rounds out the cast. The drama is based on José Giovanni’s 1973 French feature Deux Hommes Dans La Ville.

Contact Pathé International,

Berlinale Special

Cathedrals Of Culture (Ger-Den-Aust-Nor)

Dirs Wim Wenders, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Robert Redford, Margreth Olin, Karim Ainouz

This 3D project about “the soul of buildings” has six film-makers explore six very different iconic buildings, from a Norwegian prison to a Russian library.

Contact Cinepihil,

Cesar Chavez (US)

Dir Diego Luna

Actor Luna’s first English-language film as a director is a biopic of the influential labour leader, played by Michael Pena. Participant Media has already acquired US distribution rights.

Contact Mundial,

The Dark Valley (Aust-Ger)

Dir Andreas Prochaska

This Alpine western is based on the novel by Thomas Willmann and stars Sam Riley, Paula Beer and Tobias Moretti.

Contact Films Distribution,

Diplomacy (Fr-Ger) 

Dir Volker Schlöndorff

The veteran director returns with the true story of a German officer (Niels Arestrup) who saved Paris from destruction.

Contact Gaumont,

In the Courtyard (Fr)

Dir Pierre Salvadori

Salvadori’s eighth feature stars Catherine Deneuve and Gustave Kervern in the story of a musician who becomes a caretaker of a building, where he meets a resident who goes into a panic.

Contact Wild Bunch,

A Long Way Down (UK-Ger)

Dir Pascal Chaumeil

This Nick Hornby adaptation has a strong ensemble cast including Pierce Brosnan, Aaron Paul, Toni Collette and Imogen Poots in a darkly comic tale about suicide and redemption.

Contact HanWay,

Night Will Fall (UK)

Dir Andre Singer 

A new documentary to accompany a long-hidden Holocaust documentary, partially directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It will screen as a work in progress.

Contact Cinephil,

Someone You Love (Den)

Dir Pernille Fischer Christensen

Christensen, a Silver Bear winner for A Soap, directs Mikael Persbrandt as a singer-songwriter who returns to his native Denmark to record a new album, where he is reunited with his daughter and meets his 11-year-old grandson for the first time.

Contact TrustNordisk,

The Two Faces Of January (UK-US-Fr)

Dir Hossein Amini 

Drive screenwriter Amini makes his directorial debut with this Patricia Highsmith adaptation centred on a con artist. Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac lead the cast.

Contact StudioCanal,

Untitled New York Review Of Books documentary (US)

Dirs Martin Scorsese, David Tedeschi

The publication is explored in depth in this documentary. Presented as a work in progress.

Contact Film Foundation,


Brides (Georgia-Fr)

Dir Tinatin Kajrishvili
Contact Gemini,

Cracks In Concrete (Aust) 

Dir Umut Dag 
Contact Films Boutique,

Fever (Lux-Aust) 

Dir Elfi Mikesch 
Contact EastWest,

Gueros (Mex)

Dir Alonso Ruiz Palacios
Contact Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografia,

Highway (Ind) 

Dir Imtiaz Ali 
Contact UTV,

Homeland (Jap) 

Dir Nao Kubota 
Contact Bitters End,

If You Don’t, I Will (Fr) 

Dir Sophie Fillieres
Contact Les Films du Losange,

In Grazia Di Dio (It)

Dir Edoardo Winspeare
Contact Saietta Film,

Journey To The West (Fr-Tai)

Dir Tsai Ming-liang
Contact Urban,

The Lamb (Ger-Tur)

Dir Kutlug Ataman 
Contact Detailfilm,

Land Of Storms (Hun) 

Dir Adam Csaszi 
Contact M-Appeal,

The Midnight After (HK-Chi)

Dir Fruit Chan 
Contact Fortissimo,

The Night (Chi) 

Dir Hao Zhou 
Contact Nextway Studios, 

Night Flight (S Kor)

Dir Leesong Hee-il 
Contact Finecut,

2030 (Viet)

Dir Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo
Contact Premium Films,

The Rice Bomber (Tai)

Dir Cho Li 
Contact Ablaze Image,

Stereo (Ger)

Dir Maximilian Erlenwein
Contact Beta Cinema,

Superegos (Ger-Swiss-Aust)

Dir Benjamin Heisenberg
Contact Films Distribution,

That Demon Within (HK-Chi) 

Dir Dante Lam 
Contact EMP,

Things People Do (US)

Dir Saar Klein
Contact Celluloid Dreams,

Unfriend (Phil)

Dir Joselito Altarejos
Contact Fortissimo,

The Way He Looks (Bra)

Dir Daniel Ribeiro
Contact Films Boutique,