Germany's State Minister for Culture Bernd Neumann was in a bullish mood at the gala opening ceremony for this year's Berlinale, which opened with La Vie En Rose on Thursday evening.

Speaking in front of a select first-night audience including the team of opening film La Vie En Rose, the International Jury headed by screenwriter-director Paul Schrader, honorary guest Arthur Penn, EU commissioner Viviane Reding, Germany's Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, and Berlin's Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit, Neumann declared that 'as far as the German cinema is concerned now, there is not any reason at all for pessimism. I read about meetings in the industry where euphoria holds sway, euphoria about the high [market] share of German cinema, euphoria also justified in the meantime about the increasing success in the international arena, and euphoria in anticipation of what we are wanting to do financially to really give German cinema a boost.'

'And therefore I think at the moment we can say that German cinema is on the right track and this point in time is a marvellous occasion to be able to stage the Berlinale,' Neumann concluded, buoyed up by the news this week that German films had garnered a 25.8% market share of the local box office in 2006 and the German Federal Film Board (FFA) had optimistically forecast that this level could be retained into 2007.

After the International Jury were introduced on stage, Paul Schrader was asked by the ceremony's presenter Charlotte Roche if he expected the experiences of a previous session as jury member in Berlin in 1987 would be repeated. The altercations between the jury members under the president Klaus Maria Brandauer at the time had led Schrader subsequently to write a theatre play about his time in Berlin. Looking at his colleagues for the 2007 jury, he replied: 'I don't think we will have any exciting things like that!'