ScreenDaily’s weekly round-up of the local and independent openings in key markets this week.
Michael Hoffman’s critically acclaimed Tolstoy drama The Last Station is given a nationwide launch through Warner Bros. A gala premiere for the German-Russian co-production was held in Berlin on Wednesday (January 27) with director Hoffman, producers Jens Meurer and Chris Curling and actors Dame Helen Mirren, James MacAvoy, Anne-Marie Duff, and John Sessions in attendance.
Veteran documentary filmmaker Volker Koepp’s Berlin - Stettin was the opening film at last year’s DOK Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film. The director returns to important places in his life and is reunited with protagonists from his previous films. Salzgeber release the film on six cinemas, with more screens to follow in the coming weeks.
Die Frau Mit Den 5 Elefanten, Vadim Jendreyko’s award-winning portrait of Svetlana Geier, the charismatic translator of Russian literature into German, is being released by Real Fiction in 11 cinemas. The film is one of five documentaries nominated for this year’s Swiss Film Prize Quartz 2010.
Icon Film Distribution gives Lee Daniel’s Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire a nationwide release from Friday (January 29). The awards contender, which has received good press in the market, stars newcomer Gabourey Sidibe alongside Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz and Mo’Nique.
South Korean production Breathless is released through Terracotta Distribution, also from January 29. Yang Ik-Joon’s crime drama follows a bitter debt collector who finds solace after he meets a high school girl.
Kathryn Bigelow’s multi-award winning Iraq drama The Hurt Locker will be released nationwide by local outfit DeaPlaneta. The film follows the exploits of a three-man bomb disposal unit working the streets of Baghdad. Played by relative unknowns in Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty, the film has already taken an impressive $13m in the US and just over $1m in both France and the UK.
Alta Films will be showing British director Stephen Frear’s romantic drama Cheri in Spain, following a moderately successful run across the rest of Europe, which has drawn $5m so far. The film, which was picked up at Berlin last year, tells the story of a courtesan’s son who retreats into a fantasy world after being forced to end his relationship with the older woman who educated him in the ways of love.
Javier Rebollo picked up the Silver Shell for best director at San Sebastian last year for Woman Without Piano (La Mujer Sin Piano ), propelling the status of the film, which is being sold by major Spanish broadcaster TVE and will be distributed by Yedra in Spain. A taught, technically astute film, Woman Without Piano tells the story of a bored housewife, played by Carmen Machi (Broken Embraces), determined to escape her mundane existence.
Jacques Perrin’s highly-anticipated documentary Oceans was released Wednesday in France on 542 screens. The Pathe film fell just behind Walt Disney SMPI’s The Princess And The Frog for the best first-day outing with 104,612 admissions. An underwater odyssey, the film takes audiences on a journey from the polar ice floes to the tropics in a voyage of discovery.
Francois Ozon’s The Refuge starring Isabelle Carre, Louis-Ronan Choisy and Pierre Louis-Calixte is a dramedy about a young couple, wealthy in material terms and also in love until the man dies from a drug overdose. His lover, learning she is pregnant, takes refuge in a house far from Paris where her partner’s brother eventually finds her. Le Pacte released the film on 117 screens for 7154 admissions on its first day.
Bong Joon-Ho’s Mother, which ran in Un Certain Regard at Cannes last year, was released by Diaphana on Wednesday on just 39 screens. The film sold 2256 tickets on its first day. The South Korean film tells the story of a widow raising her only son who, at 28, is still dependent on her and far from being an adult. When he is accused of murder, his mother does everything she can to prove her son’s innocence.